AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has largely fulfilled his promise to veto bills with Democratic sponsors, but the Legislature isn’t playing along.

Lawmakers voted to override the governor nine out of 10 times on Tuesday and Wednesday. That means nine bills ranging from cracking down on toll violators on the Maine Turnpike to the LePage administration’s own request to change a business grant program will become law over the objections of the governor. Nine of the vetoes were issued because the governor has vowed to reject any Democratic-sponsored bill until Democrats approved his proposal to amend the Maine Constitution to eliminate the income tax by 2020.

The governor’s proposal is currently stalled between the House and Senate. It has thus far failed to gain the two-thirds support that will eventually be needed to be sent to voters for final approval in a referendum.

The governor wrote in his veto message that Democrats’ unwillingness to pass the income tax amendment is disenfranchising Maine voters. However, LePage has also acknowledged in several public appearances that eliminating the income tax is a difficult task, one that was not included in his controversial tax overhaul this year.

Nevertheless, he wrote that Democrats “have stifled the voice of Maine citizens” by not sending the elimination amendment to the voters.

“Therefore, any bills sponsored by Democrats must have at least a two-thirds vote and a roll call to get by me,” he wrote in nine of the veto messages.

The Senate completed the override of eight of the Democratic-sponsored bills in rapid succession Wednesday following decisive votes in the House on Tuesday. Several of the votes were unanimous.

Two-thirds votes by the House and Senate are required to override a veto by the governor.

One of the governor’s vetoes was sustained in the House on Tuesday. The proposal, L.D. 788, was designed to strengthen a law requiring motorists to give 3 feet of clearance when passing bicyclists or someone using roller blades. The bill fell seven votes short of the override in the House.

The vetoes that were overridden included the following bills:

• L.D. 136, a bill that protects the confidentiality of medical records of people who apply for municipal appeals board variances because of a disability, passed unanimously in the House and Senate.

• L.D. 206, a bill that extends confidentiality to personal information about third parties mentioned in 911 calls, in addition to the caller and the person receiving medical services, passed in the House 135-12 and the Senate 35-0.

• L.D. 263, An Act To Provide a Minor with a Defense to Prosecution in a Situation That Involves Risk of Alcohol Overdose, was overturned 124-23 in the House and 26-9 in the Senate.

• L.D. 488, An Act To Expand the Scope of Practice for Denturists, was overturned 146-0 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate.

• L.D. 700, An Act Regarding the Industry Partnership Assistance Collaborative’s Grant Program, submitted by the Maine Department of Labor, was overturned 146-1 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate.

• L.D. 776, An Act to Update the Validation of Miscellaneous Defects and Defective Acknowledgements in the Conveyance of Real Estate, was overturned in the House 147-0 and 35-0 in the Senate.

• L.D. 780, Resolve, Authorizing the Director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands to Convey the Parcel of Land in Kittery Known as John Paul Jones Memorial Park to the Town of Kittery, was overturned 137-2 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate.

• L.D. 892, An Act To Amend Certain Laws Affecting the Judicial Branch, was overturned 135-12 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate.

• L.D. 987, An Act To Suspend the Right of an Out-of-state Toll Violator To Operate a Motor Vehicle on Maine Roads, was overturned 146-0 in the House and 35-0 in the Senate.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @stevemistler

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