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Politics

LePage Says Bill Before Judiciary Committee is ‘Retaliatory’

Gov. Paul LePage made a rare appearance at a work session of the Judiciary Committee Tuesday.

LePage showed up to oppose a bill that he says would strip his power to approve staff pay raises for the attorney general’s office and the offices of other constitutional officers.

The attorney general and the secretary of state object to having the governor approve what are usually routine transfers of money between different accounts. LePage has balked at some of the transfers.

Sen. Dawn Hill, a York Democrat and member of the committee, sponsored a bill to allow the constitutional officers to transfer funds within their agency accounts. LePage accused her of retaliating against him for his recent lawsuit against Attorney General Janet Mills.

“A retaliatory bill against the lawsuit that is currently pending between the attorney general of the state of Maine and the governor of the state of Maine,” LePage said.

Hill denied that accusation, saying she put the bill in long before the lawsuit was filed.

“I just wanted to remind you that I put it in before cloture and your suit just happened, so there is no connection,” she said.

LePage said if the bill is passed by the Legislature, he will take the issue to court. The committee is expected to vote on the bill this week and it then will go to the full Legislature for its consideration.