AUGUSTA – Sen. Dawn Hill (D-York), chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs, refused to allow Gov. Paul LePage to testify to budget writers on Sunday regarding the May 28 deadline the Department of Health and Human Services is facing.
Hill’s decision to censor the governor came during an unusual weekend meeting of the Appropriations Committee. Budget writers had gathered to discuss the implications of a letter from DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew to the governor warning of an impending budget deadline.
Following Mayhew’s testimony, LePage took to the microphone, but Hill politely denied him the opportunity to speak on the record.
“I think there are a lot of politics around this committee,” Hill said. “I think what happened here today was good and we ended on a very good note.”
“Are you saying that the governor of the state of Maine is not welcome to address the Appropriations Committee?” LePage asked.
“We hadn’t expected you, and what we had to accomplish was accomplished,” Hill said. “It’s best to end it on a high note, and I think that’s where we were.”
LePage bristled at Dawn’s refusal to let him speak.
“I want to get on the record, and this committee is not allowing it,” said LePage.
“The people of the state of Maine are being played for patsies.”
While Hill insists she refused to allow Maine’s top elected official to speak to the Appropriations Committee because she wanted to end on a “high note,” there can be little doubt that her overtly partisan move will only exacerbate tensions between the LePage and the Democrat-controlled legislature.
Watch a video of the exchange here:
(h/t Steve Mistler)