Editorial: Second session should be for emergencies

Posted Wednesday, March 28, 2012 in Opinion

In Augusta, the second session of the 125th Legislature is reviewing all kinds of things, including issues such as whether Maine should undergo a primary rather than a caucus for presidential preference ... an issue that is clearly not an emergency since it won't happen again for four years, and not dealing with critical issues that are definitely emergencies.

Such as the establishment of a winter fund so our poor and elderly don't freeze in their homes before next January.  Such as dealing, once and for all, with the debacle that is the Department of Health and Human Services.

Way back yonder, last October, Speaker Robert Nutting said that he didn't think there would be a lot of emergencies in the second session.  He clearly didn't foresee the DHHS mess, which should be consuming virtually every waking moment of this Legislature's time and effort. He reminded us all back then, that:

The state Constitution sets limits on the bills that can be considered in the second session, which typically lasts fewer than four months. Bills are to be limited to:

We are not sure where changing Maine's caucus system to a primary system fits with these priorities.  However, as we all know, it's an election year.  We do understand, all too well, the pressing desire for the Legislature's Republican leadership to pass as many of their own personal priorities as possible before November, and to pass as many of the governor's priorities before he loses his majority in the House and possibly Senate. 

But those priorities shouldn't be the priorities of Maine's people.  There's a little less than two weeks left in the regular second session.  This Legislature should be putting politics aside and doing the people's business now.

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