AUGUSTA – After shaking hands on an agreement to honor the Boy Scouts of America, Maine Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) and House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) ordered Democrats to oppose it.
Sen. Andre Cushing’s (R-Penobscot) nine-month old resolution honoring the Boy Scouts was a bipartisan proposal expected to pass with ease.
Cushing said in a statement from the Republican Senate office that he was dismayed by the actions of the Democratic leadership in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Said Cushing, “This is a resolution that simply honors one of the most enduring institutions for young men in the U.S. Similarly worded resolutions honoring the Boy Scouts have passed without controversy in many other states. But here in Maine, the Democrats have apparently decided to make a political football out of it.”
According to the Republican press release, Alfond and Eves agreed with Cushing on language for a bill– but then told Democrats in an April 5th email that they planned to “opt out” of the resolution. The message even instructed members how to withdraw support by contacting their legislative assistants.
As of Monday evening, more than 50 Democratic legislators in the House and Senate had opted out, according to senate Republicans.
Cushing said the entire affair did not bode well for bipartisanship at the State House.
“It’s one thing to have a disagreement over the language of a piece of legislation,” Cushing said. “It’s quite another to reach an agreement with the other side of the aisle, and then encourage your members to oppose it.”
Maine’s first Boy Scouts were established in 1915.