An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Issuance of Bonds and To Effectuate the Issuance of Bonds To Support Maine’s Natural Resource-based Economy (2015)

The Governor continues to withhold Land for Maine’s Future funding, approved by voters in 2010 and 2012. LMF supports the conservation of farms, forests, waters and recreational access. The Governor held the bonds hostage in 2013 until a hospital debt was paid. The debt was paid and the Governor promised, in writing, to release the bonds. The Governor broke his promise and held the bonds hostage again this year, subverting the will of Maine voters. This time, LePage demanded an increase of timber harvesting on public lands above current sustainable levels, to fund unrelated heating programs. Sen. Katz sponsored a bill to require Governor LePage to release the LMF bonds. The Legislature voted to support the bill but the Governor vetoed it. On the last day of the session, the Senate voted to override the veto, but the House failed to override it by five votes. Six representatives switched their votes after receiving intense pressure from the Governor’s office. Despite this tremendous disappointment, immediately following the vote, another bill was amended (LD 1454) to direct the Governor to release the LMF bonds. This bill was passed by both bodies and will likely be vetoed by the Governor in January. The Legislature will have a chance to override this potential new veto in 2016.