Maine Senate Holds Off on Votes Until Snubbed Senator Seated

The Senate is refusing to hold roll call until LePage swears in the winner

The Maine Senate is at a stand-still this week, waiting for Governor Paul LePage to swear in a newly-elected state senator.

In late March, Democrat Susan Deschambault won the race for Senate District 32 with 57 percent of the vote. She was scheduled to be sworn in last Friday, but Gov. LePage abruptly cancelled it. His office said he was angry over a vote Democrats took earlier, to reject his nominee to the Unemployment Insurance Commission.

The Governor’s office said he could wait up to five business days, which is the time frame allowed for contesting election results.

LePage said over the weekend he would swear her in at a later date.

"It’s on my schedule," he said. "My schedule is a little busier than hers."

As the Republican-controlled Senate waits for Deschambault to take her seat, they have decided to delay roll call votes and debates on controversial bills.

"These are very important issues we are delaying," said Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, saying there are bills about the budget, schools, and energy policy on hold.

"We thought the fair thing to do was wait until she was sworn in to start taking action on the remaining bills," said Senate President Michael Thibodeau.

The Governor’s Office said Deschambault will be sworn in Tuesday afternoon, which is the end of the five-day period.

The ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday at 4:45 p.m.

"This was a real major flop for the Governor," said Alfond. "It’s a disappointment that he’s done this to the senator-elect. But we’re going to move on."

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