29 Jul Lawmakers Unanimously Override LePage Veto of Efficiency Maine Funding Bill
June 23, 2015 by NRCM
The proposal, known as the ‘missing and’ bill, fixes a clerical error made in the state’s 2013 energy law.
By Steve Mistler. Staff Writer
Portland Press Herald news story
AUGUSTA — The Legislature overrode several more vetoes by Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday, including his rejection of a bill that corrects a one-word clerical error potentially worth close to $38 million for an energy-efficiency program.
The bill reinserts what has become known as “the missing ‘and’” in a law that funds an Efficiency Maine program. It was made necessary in 2013 when the Legislature passed a massive energy bill that authorized a surcharge on electricity ratepayers. The funds were used to finance a program that subsidized energy-efficient light bulbs and helped more than 3,000 businesses convert to energy-saving equipment last year.
But a single word – “and” – was inadvertently left out of the bill’s language. The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted in March to interpret the language literally, meaning program funding would be capped at $22 million rather than the $59 million envisioned by the Legislature.
The bill was caught up in a power play between the Legislature and LePage, who opposes the surcharge on ratepayers. LePage slammed advocates of the bill in his veto message, saying that they used the proposal for political purposes instead of giving him the ability to appoint the director of Efficiency Maine.
Nonetheless, lawmakers in the House voted 144-0 and the Senate voted 35-0 to overturn the governor’s veto. The bill will now become law