Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills of Maine says she will call lawmakers back to the State House next Monday for a special session to consider four bond proposals totaling $163 million in borrowing for the November ballot.

Flickr Creative Commons

Talks are underway in Augusta about a possible special session of the legislature in the coming weeks. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and members of her cabinet are hoping to get multiple bond proposals to the voters in November, and they are negotiating with legislative leaders over how to make that happen.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Maine lawmakers have adjourned the regular session without sending any public improvement bond requests to the voters. Gov. Janet Mills says she might call the Legislature back into a special session this year. 

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is asking Maine lawmakers and voters to approve a $239 million bond package that she says will provide needed investments in Maine’s future and create an environment that will attract families to move to the state.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is backing a $95 million bond proposal for the Land for Maine Future program and improvements at state-owned parks and historic sites, although she says the total amount of the package could shrink.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has authorized the sale of $15 million in senior housing bonds that were approved by voters three years ago but held up by her predecessor, Gov. Paul LePage.

Maine Public

The issue of selling government bonds for projects across Maine turned into a spat between Gov. Paul LePage and State Treasurer Terry Hayes Monday.

Governor LePage blocked the bond sale last week, and now the governor and the state treasurer are trading charges over who is responsible for the delay that has upset several contractors with projects underway.

Originally published June 25 11:21 a.m.

Next week, Maine voters will be asked to weigh in another $105 million in borrowing to pay for needed transportation infrastructure.  This week, a lobbying group called TRIP released its latest assessment of one segment of that transportation infrastructure:  bridges.

The TRIP assessment: 14 percent of Maine bridges remain structurally deficient.  The group says that's the ninth highest percentage in the nation.

But state transportation official Andrew Bickmore says the 14 percent figure may not be as bad as it sounds

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Maine lawmakers Thursday night enacted a $105 million transportation bond that voters will consider in November. 

But a research and development bond, and one to fund student loan debt forgiveness, failed to get enough support. Both are tabled in the House.

“We could have let it go today or we could let it stay there to give it another chance when we come back on August second, to anticipating some vetoes that will be on our desk,” said House Speaker Sara Gideon.

The results of a $50 million statewide bond issue that would fund investment in infrastructure, and research and development in Maine have not yet been officially reported.

But Mike Saxl, the spokesman for the bond proposal, says that he's "cautiously optimisitic" that the proposal passed.

"I think Maine has always been smart about investing in research and development and commercialization," Saxl says. "We've had a lot of good success in the past, and people get that these are the jobs of the future for Maine."

The House has joined the Senate in supporting legislation that would force the sale of $15 million of bonds for senior housing approved by the voters in 2015.

Westbrook Rep. Drew Gattine, a Democrat, argued the bill is needed because Gov. Paul LePage has refused to sign off on the sale of the bonds.

“Maine desperately needs the senior housing that these voter-approved bonds will create. Maine is the oldest state in the nation,” he said.

Gattine said the bonds had the support of 70 percent of the voters and LePage is ignoring their will.

Last-Ditch Effort Aims to Get LePage to Release Voter-Approved Bonds

May 16, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine housing developers and affordable housing advocates hope lawmakers roundly support a Republican's bill to release $15 million in bonds for senior housing that voters approved two years ago.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz's bill awaits a vote in the Democratic-controlled House, which next convenes Tuesday.

Supporters have been waiting weeks for action on the bill, which they call a last-ditch effort to release the bonds while Maine's termed-out Republican governor is in office.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted last month 26-8 on the bill.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor says he's looking into whether the awarding of a state contract was "underhanded.''
Gov. Paul LePage during a Tuesday radio call-in said he was led to believe a Dallas-based firm recently selected as Maine's bonding agent helped write the state's bidding solicitation.
But LePage stressed that was conjecture. He added it'd be a "white collar crime'' if the contract purposely blocked Maine companies.

ORONO, Maine -- Gov. Paul LePage told a small audience in Orono Wednesday night that he will never authorize the release of $15 million for senior housing bonds.

During one of his weekly town meetings, LePage was asked when he planned to approve the borrowing package that was endorsed by nearly 70 percent of Maine voters last fall.