Crown Politics

What’s keeping Maine lawmakers from finishing their work

Good morning. We’re here to tell you on Monday that the Legislature didn’t return by Friday — the end of the week that they were once expected back — to finish outstanding work. It also doesn’t sound like the negotiations are going well.

The key players at this point may be House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, and Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, who had opposing views on Friday of not just how talks around any “deal” may progress — but even the facts of the negotiations so far.

Jackson called ‘bullshit’ on House Republicans’ tactics. He may be content to adjourn without a deal. Fredette called him ‘the problem.’ The battlegrounds here are well-defined. Taxpayer funds for November elections are locked away because of a legislative drafting error around the Clean Election program that House Republicans have so far not been willing to fix. House Democrats have, in turn, held up approval of a compromise tax conformity plan.

Jackson said on Friday that using a technical error to stymie the Clean Election program affirmed twice by Maine voters was “a bullshit way” to weaken the state’s referendum process. He said negotiations have been “cordial” so far but nothing has moved forward.

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