AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage tackled the difficult subject of domestic violence in a recent weekly radio address, asking men to step up to make “this behavior socially unacceptable.”

In a departure from his talks about the state budget or legislation, LePage used his air time to discuss two domestic homicides last month, one in Winslow and another in Dexter.

In Winslow, a man killed his wife and led police on a chase before turning the gun on himself. In Dexter, a husband shot his estranged wife and two children before killing himself.

“These are despicable cases of domestic violence,” LePage said. “We can no longer stay silent. We must speak out and, as governor, I pledge to do just that.”

LePage briefly mentioned his own experience with domestic violence, when he was 11 and a beating by his father sent him to the hospital and prompted him to leave home.

He cited national statistics that show 84 percent of the victims of domestic violence are women.

And he pledged to work with Public Safety Commissioner John Morris to bring forward legislation to strengthen state laws. He announced that this fall, the Department of Labor and the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence will roll out a new campaign addressing abuse in the workplace.

He ended his address by giving out the Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline: (866) 834-HELP.

“If you are in, or you know of someone in, a harmful or potentially harmful situation, please, pick up the phone and call,” he said. “The coalition has resources to help.”

Union negotiations

After contract talks broke down just before the July 4 holiday, state officials asked the Maine State Employees Association for a new set of meeting dates.

Chris Quint, executive director of the MSEA, said the union proposed meeting any time, even though its lead negotiator has left to continue his college education until July 21.

The state and the union have settled on Tuesday as the day to begin talking again, said Joyce Oreskovich, acting director of the state Bureau of Human Resources.

The two-year contract covering 10,000 state workers expired June 30, although a clause allows it to stay in effect through September.

LePage signs Franco resolve

LePage signed five resolves last week, including L.D. 656, “Resolve, to Establish a Task Force on Franco-Americans,” sponsored by Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport.

The 13-member panel will “find ways to promote and preserve the Franco-American heritage that is shared by a great number of Maine citizens.”

The resolve calls for a preliminary report to be issued in November, with a final report due in December 2012. Private sources will be approached by lawmakers to support the work of the commission.

LePage has vetoed eight resolves, for various reasons, citing the cost of studies, duplication of effort and distraction of agencies’ personnel from other duties.

New PAC formed

The groups that want to repeal the law passed last month to ban same-day voter registration formed a political action committee last week to raise and spend money on the effort.

The Protect Maine Votes PAC registered with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices on Thursday, said David Farmer, spokesman for the repeal effort. The question being circulated in the effort to gather the 57,277 signatures needed for a repeal referendum reads:

“Do you want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election?”

Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party and a supporter of the new law, said he will wait to see if the PAC gathers enough signatures before deciding whether to form a group to oppose the repeal.

State House Bureau writer Susan Cover contributed to this column.

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