Monday, July 25, 2011

ME Gov cuts-and-pastes corporate wish lists

Wow. This is pretty wild. Maine Gov. Paul LePage -- the guy who removed a labor history mural from the state's Labor Department -- just rubber stamps corporate requests for giveaways.

The Portland Phoenix reports,
Confidential administration dossiers show Governor Paul LePage crafted significant portions of his regulatory reform agenda by literally copying and pasting passages from the memos his staff received from corporate lobbyists and their clients, turning swaths of it into little more than a set of giveaways to favored companies. The dossiers also reveal the governor's wish list for labor, employment, tax, and banking reform, and his plans for executive action and rules changes in these and other sectors — major changes to longstanding Maine practices that he can achieve without the approval of the legislature.
... Simply put, LePage makes policy by letting corporate interests do it for him, and he often endorses their formulations over even his own. This coziness raises serious questions about both the governor's level of engagement in policy and the limited circle of interests he seeks to represent.
Here are some highlights.
  • two Portland-based law firms wrote at least 28 of the 50 environmental rollbacks LePage submitted to lawmakers in January, some of which are now law.
  • LePage's staff photocopied and submitted a restaurant owner's proposal rolling back Maine's civil rights and wage and tip sharing laws;
  • lobbyists' schemes to repeal the ban on the use of strikebreakers and to eliminate unemployment benefits for strikers made it word-for-word into LePage's reform proposal.
  • The Maine Innkeepers' Association plan to weaken child labor laws was cut-and-pasted into LePage's reform proposal.
Read the whole thing here.