Bipartisan support kills measure to keep LePage’s working papers secret
AUGUSTA – A measure that sought to shield the governor’s working papers from the public was rejected by the Maine Senate today. Democrats and Republicans voted unanimously against the bill.
“I feel a responsibility and a stewardship, for transparency in Maine government,” said Senate Democratic Leader Barry Hobbins who was a founding member and former chair of Maine’s Right to Know Committee. “Now more than ever, Maine people value transparency.”
The bill would have shielded advice, decisions, and recommendations pertaining to legislative matters and the state budget between the governor and his office until adjournment of the legislative session or until publicly distributed.
“Maine should be moving toward more transparency, not less,” said Senator Cynthia Dill of Cape Elizabeth who also serves on the Judiciary Committee. “Sanctioning secrecy in the governor’s office would only raise a cloud of suspicion.”
During the committee’s work on LD 1805, Dill offered an amendment to increase transparency by taking away the existing exemption that applies to legislators.
Maine ranked 46th in the nation for transparency according to a report released last month by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.
Democrats also said the measure contradicted the governor’s campaign promises. During his campaign, LePage frequently promised to have the most transparent administration in history. According to the LePage campaign web site read, “Every Maine citizen has a right to know what government is up to.”
Opponents of the bill included veteran State House journalists, the Maine ACLU, the Maine Press Association, Common Cause, the Maine Association of Broadcasters, the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.