Maine Gov. Janet Mills delivered her 2024 State of the State address Tuesday evening, offering few policy proposals that resonated with far left Democrats in control of the State Legislature.
Mills’ communications team signaled last week that the address would ignore the typical structure of the annual address to instead focus on gun control and climate change.
On both fronts, Mills seemed to signal that she would not support some of the more radical proposals from Democratic lawmakers, though she vigorously confirmed her seemingly-sincere belief that Maine can alter global temperatures by adopting the proper policies.
Among the policies that Mills insists will impact the global climate are installing more electric vehicle charging stations, weatherizing homes, installing heat pumps, and “investing in clean energy.”
Invoking the Oct. 25th Lewiston mass shooting and an earlier quadruple homicide in Bowdoin, Mills appeared to endorse what’s known as a “Red Flag Law” — a policy that allows at-risk individuals to be taken into protective custody and stripped of their access to firearms.
Maine already has a so-called “Yellow Flag Law”; however, Mills is proposing to expand the circumstances in which law enforcement can take an individual into custody and to streamline the process.
Mills appeared to acknowledge that Maine’s “Yellow Flag Law” could have — or should have — been used to take Lewiston shooter Robert R. Card, Jr. into custody in the weeks prior to his murder spree.
“This law has come under some scrutiny since the Lewiston shooting, which is appropriate. It’s always right to question whether our laws are adequately serving, um, their intended purpose. And whether more if anything can be done to change or strengthen them,” Mills said.
As has been reported at length by Maine and national media, Card was institutionalized at a psychiatric hospital in New York for two weeks just months before the shooting — a fact that was known to at least four members of Maine’s law enforcement community who also served in Card’s U.S. Army Reserve unit.
“The law is being used and it is working,” said Mills.
On background checks, Mills threaded the needle between what hard left gun-control advocates want, i.e. background checks for every gun purchase, and what Maine’s sportsmen want, i.e. the ability to pass on a family firearm to a friend, family member, or neighbor without going through the background check hullabaloo.
Under Mills proposal, background checks would be expanded to include firearms sales that are advertised in places like Uncle Henry’s, Craigslist, or Facebook marketplace, though it was unclear Tuesday night whether the burden to enforce the proposed rules would fall on the advertising platform or the person paying for the advertisement.
When it comes to firearms transfers between private individuals that are not advertised, Mills proposed changing Maine’s legal code to strengthen penalties for “recklessly” transfering a gun to a dangerous person.
In the aftermath of the Lewiston shooting, Mills formed an independent commission to investigate and assess factors that may have contributed to the murder spree, including law enforcement errors and policy loopholes.
However, last night Mills insisted that the Legislature ought to act before the commission reaches its conclusions, raising questions about the purpose and usefulness of the commission’s investigation.
Mills did not address the more extreme gun control proposals favored by Maine Democrats, such as a bill to hold gun manufacturers and dealers civilly liable for damages attributed to gun violence.
The other half of Mills speech was devoted to climate change, with Mills insisting that Maine policy makers have it within their power to impact global temperatures and thereby reduce instances of extreme weather.
Although Mills did not address specific “green” energy policies that her administration has advanced, she did pledge taxpayer-funded investments into infrastructure projects designed to enhance Maine’s resiliency in the face of harsh weather.
Mills paid no mention to Maine’s soaring electricty costs — the 2nd highest in the country — or the role that expensive “green” power projects, like subsidized solar and wind-power, play in raising the cost of living and doing business in Maine.
As has been reported exclusively by the Maine Wire, out-of-state business interests, including asset funds controlled by foreign governments, are among the primary financial beneficiaries of green energy subsidies paid for by Maine taxpayers.
More than 85 percent of companies profiting from community solar (via Net Energy Billing), for example, are based outside of Maine. And a proposed wind power project in Aroostook County is 92 percent owned by foreign money, including 40 percent by a foreign sovereign wealth fund.
Perhaps the biggest reaction she got from the crowd of Maine lawmakers, government employees, and politicos was when she said she would use Maine’s Rainy Day Fund to prepare for eventual rainy days.
With applause lines few and far between, the disheveled and over-gesticulating governor didn’t appear to enjoy offering the speech to lawmakers, even as the self-described poet attempted to deliver high-flying rhetoric.
Aiming for Obama, she sounded more like Biden, with the result that the speech will end of being one of the least consequential in the history of Maine politics.