Gov. Janet Mills (D-ME) has successfully vetoed LD 2004, the tribal sovereignty bill that would allow the Wabanaki Nations a greater degree of flexibility both in terms of interacting with the federal government and in pursuing economic development.
Although the bill was passed by a roll call vote of 100-47 in the House and 26-8 in the Senate, suggesting that it may have had enough support to overcome a governor’s veto, a roll call vote in the House today failed to replicate a similar two-thirds support to overturn Gov. Mills’ veto.
Thirteen representatives – twelve Republicans and one Democrat – who initially backed the legislation ultimately elected to not support fighting the governor’s decision to veto the bill.
Among the twelve Republicans were Rep. Roger Clarence Albert (R-Madawaska), Rep. Amy Bradstreet Arata (R-New Gloucester), Rep. Donald J. Ardell (R-Monticello), Rep. Mark John Blier (R-Buxton), Rep. Meldon H. Carmichael (R-Greenbush), Rep. Dean A. Cray (R-Palmyra), Rep. Gary A. Drinkwater (R-Milford), Rep. Lucas John Lanigan (R-Sanford), Rep. Sawin Millett (R-Waterford), Rep. Edward J. Polewarczyk (R-Wiscasset), Rep. Abden Simmons (R-Waldoboro), and Rep. Tiffany Strout (R-Harrington).
The singluar Democrat who supported the bill but voted against overturning Mills’ veto was Rep. Edward Crockett (D-Portland).
In her veto letter, Mills argued that LD 2004 would not achieve the goals it claims to, and instead “would result in years, if not decades, of new, painful litigation that would exacerbate our government-to-government relationship and only further divide the state and our people.”
Furthermore, Mills stated that this bill was developed in absence of a “comprehensive public process.”
Mills did, however, make clear that she doesn’t believe the agreement that LD 2004 seeks to amend ought to remain unchanged, rather she asserts that “we should consider amendments to address unanticipated circumstances or identified problems.”
“I strongly believe that the stated goals of LD 2004-to ensure the Wabanaki Nations are fairly benefiting from Federal law – can and should be achieved through clear and direct legislation that creates no confusion or risk of litigation,” Mills wrote.
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