LD237 An Act To Establish a State Bank Coming to a Vote in Maine Legislature – Rebuttal to Lloyd LaFountain

Mainers Please: contact your Rep or Senator and ask for a yes vote on LD237 and amendment.for a STATE OWNED BANK..

Rebuttal of MainePublicBanking.com to testimony of Lloyd P. LaFountain on LD237 Amended

8th Maine Legislature, First Regular Session
The Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and Financial Services
Testimony of Lloyd P. LaFountain Ill,
Superintendent, Bureau of Financial Institutions

Senator Whittemore, Representative Lawrence, and members of the Committee:

My name is Lloyd LaFountain and I am the Superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions. On behalf of the Bureau and the Administration, I am here to testify in opposition to LD237, An Act to Establish A State Bank, as amended. The proposed amendment would establish a state-owned bank to be named the Maine Green Bank.

LD237 is the latest iteration of a public state bank bill that has been before the Legislature at least four times in recent history. Similar bills have come up numerous times in other states around the country. To my knowledge all other states have declined to endorse the concept and there are no modern examples of success for a state owned bank. The lack of modern examples that would provide models for Maine to follow is an indicator of the risk, scope and cost of such an undertaking.

>> Bank of North Dakota, which is still operating profitably, provides a model public bank in the United States. Multiple other public bank models exist around the world, including public banks in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, China, India, and Brazil. Growth rates in these public banks economies has been higher than in areas without public banks and their economies were not as severely impacted by the global 2008 crash..

At past hearings on this type of legislation, the State Treasurer, the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), among others, expressed concerns about whether a state-run bank would help the State and its citizens. These organizations already have infrastructures, programs and missions similar to the Green Bank proposal. We heard that if a problem is identified, it may well be solved within these organizations and at less expense.

>> The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development were unable to stop the economic Tsunami which followed the 2008 financial collapse, but North Dakota kept growing throughout the crisis. In recent years the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and Department of Economic and Community Development were unable to prevent decimation of Maine’s manufacturing, and paper industry. Economist James Breece, Ph. D., concluded in his overview of Maine’s economy: Maine’s “Economic output ranks 46th in the country and output per worker ranks 48th (out of 50 states); Per Capita Personal Income grew 3% in 2014 and ranks 33d in the nation; and Maine has experienced a LOST DECADE in terms of employment.” FAME is not a bank and does not provide working capital loans for farmers. North Dakota has a Financial Authority similar to FAME, a housing authority similar to MaineHousing and Bank of North Dakota. Bank of North Dakota is a bank. These organizations have not succeeded in rescuing Maine’s economy. Because they are not banks they are unable to provide the liquidity needed to extract Maine from its liquidity trap, identified by Lord J M Keynes. No organizations have resources equal to the proposed Green Bank. The State of Maine has one-fourth the public financing per capita of the State of North Dakota, which has about half of Maine’s population.

Proponents of the prior bills often cited that a key reason for a public state bank is to expand access to credit. I would note that Maine state-chartered financial institutions fared well during the last recession. They maintained adequate capital and remained keenly interested in lending to credit worthy borrowers. In addition, the Bureau’s survey of foreclosure activity by Maine state-chartered financial institutions revealed that they avoided making predatory loans that led to disruption in the real estate market.

>>Maine has a much higher foreclosure rate and loan delinquency rate than North Dakota, which has the only state-owned bank, because the 2008 recession was not even felt in North Dakota. Maine’s employment level has not yet returned to its 2007 level, one decade after the beginning of the financial collapse. North Dakota has lower foreclosure rates, smaller bankruptcy rates, lesser past due loan rates, lower unemployment rates, smaller tax burden, lower negative equity, higher educational spending growth per capita, better credit ratings, and more stable property values.

The Committee should also be aware of the risks associated with forming a state-owned bank.

>>The risks in not forming a state-owned bank are to wallow in the economic stagnation experienced during the lost decade or loss of state funds in one of the many worldwide private institutions Maine invests in. The state money invested in global financial institutions is now at higher risk, while a local public bank would provide a safe fiduciary as well as strengthening the local economy.

The Committee has heard, or will hear, about the Bank of North Dakota model and that bank’s positive contribution to the state’s general fund. Whether a state~owned bank established in Maine’s economic and banking environment would enjoy the same success as the Bank of North Dakota is uncertain.

>>Everything in the future is uncertain. It is uncertain whether we will have another financial collapse like 2008, but it is more likely that a Bank of North Dakota model would improve Maine’s economy than continuing on the path that has clearly proven that it is not working.

Undertaking the creation of a state-owned bank involves risk with no guarantee of similar performance.

>>Maine’s current financial risks are far higher than the risk of creating a state-owned bank. The Treasurers Cash Pool invested on Wall Street could disappear with another meltdown. Cash would be safer in our own bank. Nothing is guaranteed, but with a qualified team, and management there is a high probability that the state-owned bank will be successful and help raise living standards of the people of Maine.

A new institution could not be expected to contribute to the state’s general fund for many years after initial capitalization.

>> Who knows? If the Green Bank invested in renewable energy and other growing sectors it could be successful soon with a qualified team and good management.

It is likely the bank would have to retain earnings for several years in order to ensure solvency and create a cushion against operational and loan losses.

>> This statement is pure speculation. The Treasurer’s Cash Pool now contains substantial funds, obtaining under 1%, almost no yield, invested in uninsured securities, some foreign, that could capitalize a state-owned bank, instead. Maine Green Bank could underwrite 50 to 80% of participation loans by existing state or local origination and risk assessment partners following the BND model. It would share risk with partners, strengthening all parties. If deposited in a State-owned bank, Maine Treasurer’s Cash Pool would stimulate Maine economic activity, instead of France, England, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, and Minnesota, as it is now doing.

Which brings me to the issue of capital. Start-up capital is essential to a banking organization. Capital is the foundation for bank operations. It is the money put at risk by investors or the organizers of mutual banks and credit unions and serves as a cushion against losses. When a bank functions well, it can add to capital. Capital is depleted during times of economic stress and unexpected losses from bad loans, cybercrime, data breaches, or poor management.

If capital is significantly eroded, then the organization becomes insolvent. An insolvent bank no longer has the ability to meet its obligations. Under the amended proposal, if the Maine Green Bank became insolvent it would be unable to pay obligations to Maine citizens and to Maine government instrumentalities. This is because the proposal requires deposits into the Maine Green Bank from the Treasurer and all instrumentalities of the State amounting to 30% of their cash, which may be withdrawn by those organizations at any time (by loan).

>> We envision that the Treasurer and instrumentalities would keep a minimum balance of 30% of their cash in checking accounts in the Maine Green Bank, as banks do. This could be negotiated between the Green Bank and instrumentalities; if the fraction is too high, perhaps accommodation could be reached. We envision that Green Bank would provide checking accounts and depositors would write checks on those accounts to pay their debts. We do not envision that the minimum balance of deposits may be withdrawn by organizations at any time whether by loan or in any other way. We don’t see how capital could be significantly eroded. Many of the loans will be with blue chip organizations. They will be fine. If loans go bad for the Green Bank then they would also go bad for its partners who have much more experience operating in Maine.

Unmet obligations would include the cash deposits of Maine consumers, the Treasurer, and government instrumentalities, such as the University of Maine, FAME, Maine Maritime, Maine Municipal Bond Bank, and Maine Housing to name a few.

>> Maine consumers won’t be depositing funds in the Green Bank. The Green Bank will be only for institutions. This is the Conceptual Design Phase. There will not be this often-repeated “insolvency” with its “unmet obligations.” The biggest crisis that retail banks now face is the chance of a run on the bank. Runs can’t happen on the Green Bank because minimum deposits are required by law. The second biggest crisis that retail banks face is a 2008-like derivatives crash. This can’t happen either because the Green Bank cannot trade in derivatives. Thus chances of the Green Bank failing are almost nil. Careful and thoughtful design of Green Bank’s systems and competent management will prevent problems..

Loss of operating cash for these organizations could create financial crises across state government.

>> The chance of the bank failing are almost nil. Any Maine agency that lost cash could create a crisis. A few years ago in the Maine Turnpike Authority a case happened with lost funds. If Minnesota-based U S Bank, without Maine branches, that issued Treasurer’s checks some time ago lost operating cash, could it not also create financial crises across state government? Was Minnesota-based U S Bank examined by the Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions? I don’t think so. Since Maine Green Bank would be within Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions jurisdiction, hopefully, Maine Bureau of Financial Institutions could spot the problem before it became big enough to cause a crisis. Of course careful, mindful, thoughtful design of the Green bank’s systems and competent management would be essential for success. I think that the people of Maine are as smart as the people of North Dakota. If North Dakota can operate a public bank for 98 years without financial crises across state government, so can Maine.

The forced deposits could also restrict activities of government instrumentalities if their operating cash gets tied up in long term development loans.

>> “Forced deposits” mischaracterizes the 30% minimum balance requirement. When 30% of cash for daily operations is deposited in an account in the Green Bank, it shouldn’t restrict activities of government instrumentalities. The Green Bank won’t be lending its deposits. No banks do. It will be creating new money when it lends it, as other banks do. Page 7 of “Modern Money Mechanics” Federal Bank of Chicago says “Of course, they (banks) do not really pay out loans from the money they receive as deposits. If they did this, no additional money would be created. What they do when they make loans is to accept promissory notes in exchange for credits to the borrowers’ transaction accounts”. This is also in my book.

Further, funds deposited in the Maine Green Bank would not be insured by a federal agency such as the FDIC or NCUA.

>> FDIC or NCUA can only insure up to $250,000 of the deposits. Treasurer Cash Pool funds are much more than $250,000 , they are measured in millions, and none of Maine’s cash is completely insured now. But, being in a Maine fiduciary institution, instead of in various unsecured worldwide entities will make Maine’s cash safer.

Without such insurance, the only safety net for depositors is the full faith and credit of the State of Maine and, ultimately, the tax payer.

>> FDIC or NCUA agencies can only insure up to $250,000. Because Treasurer Cash Pool funds are much more than $250,000 they aren’t insured now. Today, if FAME funding is increased, taxpayers pay for it. Green Bank won’t require more taxes, when it lends, because it can create money when it lends it. It has to keep a required reserve of usually at least 10 percent that cannot be loaned. We propose keeping 30% in reserve for a safety cushion.

I would note also that, even if the bank were solvent, some of these organizations maintain investment portfolios with returns that may well exceed deposit returns offered by a Maine Green Bank.

>> Irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what returns these organizations make elsewhere. But I strongly doubt these organizations will obtain a higher return than Maine Green Bank. Bank of North Dakota has been earning record returns over 15% returns for 13 years.

Given these concerns, creation of a state bank carries risk and it is inadvisable to create a Maine Green Bank without a significant cash injection in order to absorb losses through bad times and bad decisions.

>> These concerns are invalid. We need the active participation of community leaders who are mindful and investigative and help set up organizations and systems to insure that Iceland-type looting doesn’t happen. Maine Green Bank will not carry additional risk if it is properly designed and staffed by competent management, and will substantially reduce the risk of loss of existing investments. The only chance of increased risk would be if it were very poorly designed, or very poorly managed. Very few public banks have failed, except in Iceland after they were privatized, when they were looted by their management, which is shown at the beginning of the full length movie, Inside Job. Funds available in agencies’ cash are far more than minimum needed to create a public bank. Iceland’s stable economy before bank privatization was due to its 3 public banks. The $1B in the Treasurers Cash Pool should be enough to create a stare-owned bank. It can issue bonds if it needs more capital.

Prior bills have indicated $20 million dollars was required at start-up to fund a loan and investment program. Even that amount may not be sufficient for its purposes.

>> There is over $1B in the Treasurers cash pool. That is more than enough to start a public bank. Plus there is cash in instrumentalities accounts and the right to issue bonds..

I would note that industry averages for capital are around 10% of assets. Thus, a $1 billion bank would require $100 million in capital. A bank would have little impact on the Maine economy without high capital contributions. By way of example, Maine’s largest state-chartered banks range from $1 billion to $3.5 billion in assets.

>> State-owned banks are entirely different from private banks. The $1 B in the Treasurers cash pool is enough to start a public bank. The capital requirement mentioned sounds like the Reserve Requirement set by the Federal Reserve. Our simulation assumed that 30% of funds would be reserved for this and other purposes.

The bill, as amended could also impact the stability of Maine’s community banks. If every state instrumentality must deposit funds into the Maine Green Bank, and if the Maine Green Bank also attracts individual customer deposits in competition with the private sector, there may be significant deposit outflows from Maine financial institutions, compromising their ability to do business, make loans, and contribute to economic growth.

>> Maine consumers will not be depositing funds in the Green Bank. The Green Bank will be for state institutions only. The Green Bank’s impact on stability of Maine’s community banks would be to strengthen them and make them more profitable. North Dakota Banks are 3 times more profitable than Maine Banks. North Dakota has a lower loan delinquency rate and lower foreclosure rate than Maine, because it has a state-owned bank and Maine doesn’t. Yet. MAINE GREEN BANK WILL NOT COMPETE WITH PRIVATE BANKS.

Also, in past hearings on this type of legislation, opponents indicated there may be constitutional prohibitions on pledging the full faith and credit of the State-—a question that would ultimately have to be resolved by the Legislature or Judiciary.

>> The Constitutionality of the Bank of North Dakota was challenged and upheld by the U S Supreme Court. Over the years other state banks have also been upheld by various courts. This data is available on line using a key word search. Ellen Brown writes: “ In Green vs. Frazier, 253 U.S. 233 (1920), the U S Supreme Court upheld the bank’s constitutionality against a Fourteenth Amendment challenge and deferred to the state court on the state constitutional issues, which had been decided in the state’s favor.” The Bank of North Dakota is Constitutional so the Maine Green Bank will be Constitutional.

The bill as amended creates additional examination concerns. It allows the Maine Green Bank’s board of directors to establish the rules under which it would be examined.

>> Either this is false, I misread the amendment, or it was was changed since I last saw it. The Green Bank’s board of directors will follow the law, whatever it is. They will establish rules for the bank, but the rules for how the bank will be examined will be set by the examiners.

Chartered financial institutions have independent federal and state regulators that examine the institutions based on what the law says, not what the institutions’ board deems important. Here, the language of LD237 as amended would provide Maine Green Bank’s board and advisory committee ultimate authority to choose which safety and soundness principles by which it should be measured.

>> The legislature has the power by law to rescind any rules adopted by the Bank’s Board of Directors. Since “Safety and soundness” is not mentioned in the amendment, it appears that this charge is false. The Maine Green Bank’s Board of Directors will follow the law, whatever it says.

Lacking federal guaranty of deposits, state agencies would have sole responsibility to examine and audit the organization to ensure safety and soundness. These oversight responsibilities would require additional personnel costs for the Bureau.

>> We are now in the Conceptual Design phase. If any additional personnel costs arise, once Maine Green Bank is established, either it, or the Legislature, will find an equitable way to compensate the Bureau. This is a Logical or Functional Design phase issue. It is premature to talk about this now. Since this is not a roadblock, it should just be noted.

These costs would be in addition to the establishment of a physical location for the bank, and the executive and administrative salaries of the Maine Green Bank. Salaries that would have to be high enough to attract talent with experience running a bank.

>> We are now in the Conceptual Design phase. The Maine Green Bank would find a way to pay salaries that are enough to attract experienced talent. This is the work of management. It is premature to talk about this now. This is a Logical or Functional Design issue.

The Bureau is also concerned about what it must examine the proposed bank for.

>> It should be examined like any other bank is examined, including safety and soundness.

In Bureau examinations of state-chartered financial institutions, staff examines for safety and soundness of banking operations, lending policies, board procedures, compliance with anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act statutes, capital adequacy, cybersecurity, and other important matters. In contrast, the examination of the Maine Green Bank would take on additional objectives For example, along with the rules created by the board; the Bureau would also have to assess whether the Maine Green Bank is operating in accordance with its stated “purposes” laid out in Section 1252. Some of these purposes include:

Increasing the per capita income of residents and families in the State;
Financing medical and dental health enterprises, facilities, equipment, laboratories, training, and all-inclusive elderly-care financing;
Lowering inequality in the concentration of wealth; and
Lowering loan delinquency rates by increasing family income, among others.
Additionally, the Bureau would have to evaluate whether the Maine Green Bank avoided certain prohibited activities. These prohibited activities include:
Investing in large real estate sprawl development projects which would eliminate
farmland or forest habitats;

>> The vision for the Maine Green Bank is that the Bureau of Financial Institutions would NOT have to assess whether the Maine Green Bank is operating in accordance with its stated “purposes” such as “Lowering inequality in the concentration of wealth.”

Investing in projects where borrowers have histories of human rights abuses;
Funding projects that damage the environment, increase greenhouse gas, acidity, or
temperature of the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers; and Underwriting stores with parking lots not designed for pedestrians, to name a few. These examples are not provided to discredit the goals of the Maine Green Bank. However, there is no method for the Bureau to determine if the stated purposes of the Maine Green Bank are being met, or whether it is engaging in a prohibited activity. The Bureau questions whether there exists cost-effective and feasible ways to examine for these unique factors at all.

>> The vision for the Maine Green Bank is that the Bureau of Financial Institutions would NOT have to assess whether the Maine Green Bank is operating in accordance with its stated “purposes” such as “Lowering inequality in the concentration of wealth.” These are the goals of the Bank and the reasons why the Bank would be created. The Bureau of Financial Institutions should evaluate safety and soundness of the bank. But if the Bureau did assess how the Bank is meeting its purposes, there is substantial data that could be researched to evaluate that. Perhaps the Bureau of Financial Institutions could hire economists, social workers, and environmentalists, or it could contract the work out to other state agencies, or private firms, or other entities.

With Best Regards,

Randall Parr

LD 237 – An Act To Establish a State Bank

Summary of LD 237

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Published in: on March 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm  Comments (9)  

Maine Senator Linda Valentino of Saco Won’t Seek Re-election

VALENTINO, LINDA SEN.

PPH reports “Democratic state Sen. Linda Valentino, a longtime legislator from Saco, is expected to announce that she will not run for re-election, according to several Democratic sources. Valentino plans to announce her decision to retire from politics following the caucus on Sunday.

State Reps. Barry Hobbins and Justin Chenette, both Democrats from Saco, say they plan to run for her seat in the Maine Senate.

“Barring a last-minute reconsideration by Sen. Valentino, my hat’s in the ring,” Hobbins said in a press release.

Chenette, who is serving his second term in the House, said he has long considered Valentino a close mentor and friend. and “wants to continue the legacy she’s laid down.”

Read more HERE.

Well, now Rep. Barry Hobbins will put on his “senate” hat and bounce back to the Senate! And Justin Chenette “wants to continue” her legacy. Please no!

Any wonder why the sad state of affairs? How can positive change come about with the same players?

On February 23, 2016 it was reported that Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, announced Monday that he’s not running for re-election in 2016.

Hopefully with the departure of these two senators, someone with knowledge of the constitution and some common sense, will replace these two senators who failed miserably in their duties, oaths and obligations to the people.

Related:

Phil Merletti Commentary on “A System In Crisis” – Judicial Confirmation Hearing of William J. Schneider, click here.

A Maine State Senator, David Dutremble, Reports On The Judiciary Committee What The Public Has Witnessed For Years! Click here.

Published in: on March 8, 2016 at 3:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Talkshoe Live – Discussion of Representative Barry Hobbins’ LD 776 Legislation Relative to Deeds/Mortgages with Guest Mike Gill, Mortgage Specialist

Wednesday, February 17, 2016
8:00 PM EDT

Listen HERE.

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Click here to join in online.

Does this law validate frauds regarding deeds/mortgages? Does this law cover up past “takings” of property by banks and municipal officials? Is this happening in other states? Is this a piece of the “bigger picture?”

LD 776 – An Act to Update the Validation of Miscellaneous Defects and Defective Acknowledgments in the Conveyance of Real Estate

Summary of LD 776

Roll-calls

Published in: on February 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Talkshoe Radio – Was Maine Governor Paul LePage Set Up?

Discussion on the adjournment fiasco between Governor Paul LePage and the Legislature with Constitutional Researcher Phil Merletti.

This is NOT about liking or disliking Governor LePage, this is about the “rule of law.”

Please join in. Your questions or comments are welcome.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
9:00 PM EDT

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Click here to join in online.

EPISODE 66, LISTEN HERE.

Related:

Maine Governor Paul LePage Requests Opinion of Maine Supreme Court Over Veto Dispute and the Legislature’s Adjournment, click here.

Talkshoe Radio – Maine Exposed: Adjournment Fiasco Between Maine Governor Paul LePage and The Legislature, listen HERE.

Published in: on July 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm  Comments (7)  

Maine Governor Paul LePage Requests Opinion of Maine Supreme Court Over Veto Dispute and the Legislature’s Adjournment

BDN reports “Gov. Paul LePage’s contention that the Legislature is adjourned and that he has the right to hold 70 enacted bills until lawmakers reconvene was rebuffed on two fronts late Friday afternoon, including  an opinion from Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills.

The opinion, which was requested by Sens. Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick, and Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, has been circulated to a range of lawmakers and the governor’s office. It is unlikely to sway LePage, who has said he will ask the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to rule on the matter if it is not otherwise resolved.  Read more HERE.

The Maine Wire reports “A Breakdown of the Veto Dispute.” Read more HERE.

7-24-15 – PPH article “Groups weigh in with state’s high court on LePage’s veto dispute with Legislature”, read here, and updated to this article, read here.

BDN reports “Gov. Paul LePage, legislative leaders, the attorney general and several advocacy groups made their cases to the state’s highest court Friday, submitting detailed legal briefs in a dispute over whether 65 bills are in law or vetoed.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will consider the written briefs ahead of oral arguments scheduled for next week.” Read more HERE.

GOVERNOR’S REQUEST FOR OPINION OF THE JUSTICES

On Friday, July 17, 2015, at 12:40 p.m., the Governor of the State of Maine, Paul R. LePage, submitted the following questions to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Maine Constitution:

  1. What form of adjournment prevents the return of a bill to the Legislature as contemplated by the use of the word, adjournment, in Art. IV, pt. 3, §2 of the Maine Constitution?
  2. Did any of the action or inaction by the Legislature trigger the constitutional three-day procedure for the exercise of the Governor’s veto?
  3. Are the 65 bills I returned to the Legislature on July 16 properly before that body for reconsideration?

Documents:

The court has set a deadline of noon Wednesday for response briefs, and will hear oral arguments from the governor and the Legislature Friday, July 31.

This is an interesting article by the PPH “Denied public funds, Maine Republican House leader, Kenneth Fredette, to tap private funding for lawyer in veto case.” Read more HERE.

Related:

State of Maine Legislature Glossary of Terms: ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE – Adjournment Without Day. This is the final adjournment of the session when all business has been completed.

ORDERS ADJOURN WITHOUT DAY, Thursday, July 16, 2015 – S.O. 24 and S.O. 25, click here.

To note* – The Legislature had no authority to re-convene after June 17th based on Title 3, sec. 2 which states they must adjourn on the 3rd Wednesday of June, unless they extend the days. They didn’t extend the days on June 17th.

Courtesy of Lise from Maine…
“In Article IV, Part Third, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Maine it says that the Legislature must establish a law citing “limitations” regarding time frames of the first and 2nd legislative sessions.

That law is Title 3, MRS, Section 2 where it states that the first legislative session will end on the third Wednesday of June unless there is an emergency and they can extend it for 5 days excluding Sundays, and if there is “another” emergency, then they can extend it for another 5 days and must extend an extra day for the Governor to bring forth his objections, if any. This is a total of 11 days only and no more.

They ONLY get 11 days total as they can’t go on forever. There must be an ending according to law and there is.

The 3rd Wednesday in June of this year is June 17th. The legislature did NOT extend any days on June 17th which means that they were adjourned (finished) according to Title 3, MRS, Section 2. The law says what it says and means what it means. No getting around it.

On June 18th the legislature met again unlawfully and extended their session for 5 days by those present and voting.They were NOT allowed to do this as it violates Title 3, MRS, Section 2which is a constitutional mandate. They had NO delegation of authority to proceed to meet on June 18th, and this constitutes criminal activity by all those voting on that day and subject to impeachment.

Anything they did AFTER June 17th is fraud and treason. They either had the authority or they didn’t. In this situation, they did NOT have any authority to proceed beyond June 17th. Plain and simple it was over on June 17th.

This is very simple to follow, and it is short and sweet and to the point.

Talkshoe Radio – Adjournment Fiasco Between Maine Governor Paul LePage and The Legislature, listen HERE.

Do Maine Legislators Understand The Constitution? Read more HERE.

Talkshoe Radio – Maine Exposed: Adjournment Fiasco Between Maine Governor Paul LePage and The Legislature

Discussion on the dispute of “adjournment” with Phil Merletti and Lise DuPont, Researcher and Author of “Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?”

This is NOT about liking or disliking Governor LePage, this is about the “rule of law.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
9:00 PM EDT

Call in Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 27398#

Click here to join in online.

EPISODE 65, LISTEN HERE.

Governor Paul LePage legal memo, click here.

A.G. Janet Mills’ Opinion, click here.

Legislative Council’s letter to Cynthia Montgomery, LePage’s Chief Legal Counsel, click here.

Letter from the Maine Office of the Revisor’s of Statutes, click here.

SP 556 “ADJOURN UNTIL THE CALL OF THE SPKR AND PRES”, click here.

SP 556 – Bill Text, click here.

Published in: on July 15, 2015 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

As The Fur Flies At The State Capital…Maine Governor Paul LePage And Legislators Clash Over Fate Of Bills Still On Governor’s Desk

PPH reports “In the latest twist of a historically bizarre legislative session, the LePage administration insisted Wednesday that lawmakers’ use of the word “adjourn” last week rather than “recess” gave the governor additional time to hold the 19 bills. Yet the nonpartisan state office responsible for publishing Maine statutes began writing the 19 bills into law on Wednesday despite the governor’s claims.

LePage’s maneuver, which is further fraying already tattered relations with some legislative leaders, appears to hinge on the question of whether the Legislature “adjourned” last week or “recessed.”

Under Maine’s Constitution, the governor has 10 days – excluding Sundays – to either sign or veto a bill passed by the Legislature. If he fails to act by the end of that 10-day period, the bill becomes law without the governor’s signature.

And here’s where the issue gets tricky.

The Constitution states that if the Legislature adjourns and then reconvenes, the governor has three days to send down a veto after lawmakers reconvene. Legislative leaders insist that they did not adjourn on June 30 but “recessed” until July 16 in order to take up a slew of vetoes expected to come from the governor.

But LePage’s office is pointing to an order passed by the Legislature on June 30 that states the Legislature will “Adjourn until the call of the Speaker and President.”

“As allowed by the Maine Constitution, the Governor will submit the vetoes when the Legislature meets again for three days,” LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said in an email to reporters.

In other words, LePage could wait until the Legislature has met for three days – officially, at least – before he sends the vetoed bills to the House and Senate chambers for reconsideration.

Paul Mills, a Maine political historian and the brother of Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills, told The Associated Press that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Maine Supreme Court is asked to weigh in on the issue, as it has in the past on similar procedural debates in the Legislature.

One opinion of the justices in 1981 may play into LePage’s favor. In that opinion, the justices argued that the Constitution requires that “the same Legislature must continuously be in session for three days before the period in which the governor may act on the pending bill expires.”

“It’s really kind of unexplainable,” said Lance Dutson, a longtime Republican strategist consultant who has been a vocal critics of LePage’s actions lately. “I can’t imagine that this is anything but a major screw up on the part of the administration. And their explanation today is absurd.”

Read more HERE.

BDN reports “LePage ups stakes in legal fight over adjournment. The next time the Legislature is in session for three days, he’ll deliver the bills he wants to veto,” LePage Communications Director Peter Steele said. Meanwhile, House Speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat from North Berwick, as well as Republican and Democratic senators, have asked Attorney General Janet Mills to weigh in on the issue. Read more HERE.

BDN Editorial – “Maine could end up in court to cover for LePage’s incompetence.

At this moment, LePage and his staff could choose to act with integrity. They could admit they erred and concede that the Constitution — as it has been applied throughout the state’s history — and rule of law do, in fact, apply.

Instead, they have raised an artificial legal question concerning what it means for the Legislature to adjourn — arguing for a definition no one with deep knowledge of Maine government (who isn’t working for LePage) accepts.” Read more HERE.

BDN reports “Attorney general rejects LePage’s argument for holding bills. Gov. Paul LePage’s contention that the Legislature is adjourned and that he has the right to hold 70 enacted bills until lawmakers reconvene was rebuffed on two fronts late Friday afternoon, including an opinion from Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills.

LePage argues that the Legislature adjourned on June 30, meaning that he does not have to submit bills for lawmakers’ consideration until three days after they have returned. Legislative leaders say they did not adjourn, they are in recess — meaning LePage missed the 10-day window to act on bills, which now would become law without his signature.

LePage also was rebuffed Friday afternoon by Grant Pennoyer, executive director of the Legislative Council, which oversees a range of legislative functions, including the Revisor of Statutes.

LePage, through his chief legal counsel, Cynthia Montgomery, asked Pennoyer on Friday that the revisor’s office stop chaptering 19 bills he is holding into law. The revisor’s office started moving the bills into law this week after LePage’s 10-day window to sign, veto or let bills go into law without his signature elapsed.

“The governor’s opponents wish to rush through the procedural hurdles associated with implementation of the laws and declare them valid,” wrote Montgomery. “Having the revisor’s office completely ignore the governor’s position is not only overtly partisan conduct on the part of the revisor’s office, it is also unnecessary as the governor intends to seek a legal solution to this matter.

The issue is whether the Legislature adjourned for the session on June 30. LePage argues that it did, despite the Legislature’s vote to adjourn “until the call of the chairs.” If the Legislature is technically adjourned, LePage has until three days after legislators reconvene to issue vetoes on some or all of the 70 bills that remain on his desk.

With Mills’ opinion buttressing legislative Democrats’ stance, LePage’s only remaining recourse seems to be the Law Court.” Read more HERE.

Rep. Fredette Urges Revisor’s Office To Stop Until Constitutional Issue Is Resolved By Law Court, click here.
Rep. Ken Fredette letter, click here.

Governor Paul LePage legal memo, click here.

A.G. Janet Mills’ Opinion, click here.

Legislative Council’s letter to Cynthia Montgomery, LePage’s Chief Legal Counsel, click here.

Letter from the Maine Office of the Revisor’s of Statutes, click here.

SP 556 “ADJOURN UNTIL THE CALL OF THE SPKR AND PRES”, click here.

To note: When you click “Bill Text” this comes up:
Cannot find requested paper, no information available at this time for Session 127, paper SP0556, LD 0. Also, there is NO Roll Call.

SP 556 – Bill Text, click here.

Related:  Do Maine Legislators Understand The Constitution? Click here.

Do Maine Legislators Understand The Constitution?

Courtesy of Lise from Maine – Researcher and Author of “Where Did The Original Constitutional State Go?”

Lise DuPont is a former licensed clinician. She graduated from high school from Our Lady of the Mountains Academy in New Hampshire. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maine, a Master’s degree from the University of New England, and completed two years of Post-Graduate training at the Center for the Awareness of Patterns.

“There has been a media frenzy regarding whether the legislature adjourned or not on June 30, 2015.

The legislative Joint Order states “On motion by Senator Mason of Androscoggin, following Joint Order: S.P. 556 – Ordered, the House concurring, that when the House and Senate adjourn they do so until the call of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, respectively, when there is a need to conduct business, or consider possible objections of the Governor.”

This order clearly shows that the legislature could meet again in the future to discuss issues of that session which would be a continuation of the issues. “Sine die” is not mentioned in the order, and this is a very significant piece to comprehend.

1843 Bouvier’s Law Dictionary:

NO word “adjourn” appears in the said dictionary.

Adjournment:

“Adjournment, is the dismissal by some court, legislative assembly (emphasis is mine), or properly authorized officer, of the business before them, either finally, which is called an adjournment sine die, without day; or, to meet again at another time which is appointed and ascertained, which is called a temporary adjournment.”

This definition shows that there are two ways to adjourn, and they are “opposite” of each other. The first definition is a finality (sine die), and the second definition leaves the “door” open to meet again, if need be.

Attorney General Janet Mills responded to an inquiry from Senators Hill and Saviello on July 10, 2015 regarding the “status of bills” presented to the Governor which he has neither signed nor vetoed. In the first paragraph she states “The Legislature has not adjourned sine die, and more than ten days have elapsed since certain bills were presented to the Governor.”

Why is she arguing something that is NOT in the Joint Order? Doesn’t she know that there are two (2) ways to adjourn or was that NOT taught in law
school?

Is she being clever and manipulative or is she ignorant?

Nowhere in the Joint Order does it say “sine die” which means “finality” meaning that the legislature will not be meeting again regarding those laws discussed and passed. In other words, “sine die” means that the session is over.

The Constitution of the State of Maine (statutory one of 2013) clearly spells it out regarding adjournment and more which is located in Article IV, Part Third, Section 2.

Since the legislature has been “adjourned” (the second definition in the 1843 Bouvier’s Law Dictionary) since June 30, 2015, then how can the Governor present these bills to the legislature since “no one is home” so to speak in the legislative chambers? In actuality, the Governor is being prevented from doing so, and his hands are “tied” at this time. He is waiting for them to return in session so he waits to do something with those bills.

This is NOT about liking or disliking Governor LePage, this is about the “rule of law.”

Thank you!

Constitution of Maine (1820)

SP 556 – Bill Text, click here.

Governor Paul LePage legal memo, click here.

A.G. Janet Mills’ Opinion, click here.

Legislative Council’s letter to Cynthia Montgomery, LePage’s Chief Legal Counsel, click here.

Related: As The Fur Flies At The State Capital…Maine Governor Paul LePage And Legislators Clash Over Fate Of Bills Still On Governor’s Desk, click here.

A Maine State Senator, David Dutremble, Reports On The Judiciary Committee What The Public Has Witnessed For Years!

BDN reports “Public Lockout: From Deliberations by the Judiciary Committee of the Maine Legislature.

All legislative committees are mandated by Maine law to conduct hearings, deliberations, and work sessions in public.

But in a May 19 speech on the Senate floor, state Sen. David Dutremble (D-Biddeford) reported that the Judiciary Committee conducted such business in private over the weekend that started May 8. Its deliberations concerned the reappointment of controversial Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz – the judge who issued an illegal gag order in January – and whose reappointment was opposed by many members of the public.

Maine citizens deserve to know what transpired that weekend with their Judiciary Committee. Did the members, in fact, meet behind closed doors and/or have private conversations in violation of state mandates? A legislative inquiry into the actions of the committee is warranted to protect the interests of the public.

Here’s what is clear: Without a single comment or question, the Judiciary Committee on May 12 unanimously recommended that Moskowitz be reappointed. One by one, each committee member simply voted yes. Those of us who witnessed this were dumbfounded. It left us with the uncomfortable feeling that something was amiss. How was their unified position reached outside of public view?

This spring was the first time in 20 years that judicial reappointments were challenged. And many citizens vehemently and passionately expressed their opposition to Judge Moskowitz, as well as to Judge Patricia Worth before him. In both cases, the Judiciary Committee nevertheless unanimously recommended approval. And at least in the case of Moskowitz, committee members allegedly deliberated outside of the public’s view and earshot.

This is extremely concerning. State mandates requiring the utmost transparency are meant to protect us all.

Input from those who are consumers of the court system – not just lawyers who earn their livings in front of judges – must be heard. People also deserve to know that the systems set up to protect them are working as they’re supposed to. When systems become about protecting themselves instead of the citizens they were designed to protect, the delicate fabric and balance of our constitutional rights is put in jeopardy. Legislative maneuvers that eliminate transparency and thereby remove public oversight are the antithesis of a democratic society.

We urge the Maine Legislature to take action and give the public answers. When asked to explain how his committee could unanimously approve a judge with no public discussion whatsoever, the chair of Judiciary Committee, Sen. David Burns (R-Washington), responded that, “it is unfortunate that some individuals and legislators have tried to impugn the integrity of the committee members.”

Those who may dismiss this call for investigation, attributing it to “sour grapes” or “angry litigants,” demonstrate a lack of respect for the most essential principles that define our nation.

To date, the president of the Maine Senate, Michael Thibodeau, has failed to respond to requests for a public inquiry about the actions of the Judiciary Committee.

This raises additional concerns. Without a legislative inquiry and report, Maine citizens will be left to wonder if their legislative and judiciary truly are the separate branches of government that are fundamental to freedom and liberty. We need to know what our legislators are doing – and why they’re doing it.

If you agree with me on this, We urge readers to contact their legislator and request an investigation. Let’s just find out what happened.”

Read more HERE.

**********

While it took decades for a state representative to listen, then experience for himself, the egregious misconduct by member of the Judiciary Committee, the proof is in the pudding.

In rebuttal to the BDN’s report “This spring was the first time in 20 years that judicial re-appointments were challenged” is not correct. Several people testified before the committee in opposition to York County Superior Court Judge Arthur Brennan’s reappointment, less than 20 years ago.

“When asked to explain how his committee could unanimously approve a judge with no public discussion whatsoever, the chair of Judiciary Committee, Sen. David Burns (R-Washington), responded that, “it is unfortunate that some individuals and legislators have tried to impugn the integrity of the committee members.”

Senator David Burns was a member of the Judiciary Committee when former A.G. William Schneider was appointed to judgeship by Governor Paul LePage. Review “A System In Crisis” and you can come to your own conclusions as to the “criteria” used for confirmation of judges.
View HERE.  (Opposition to nomination begins at 46:14)

Phil Merletti Commentary on “A System In Crisis” – Judicial Confirmation Hearing of William J. Schneider, click here.

Related:

BDN reports “Maine Judiciary Committee Delays Reappointment Of Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz.”

“Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz was appointed to the District Court bench in January 2008 by Gov. John Baldacci after work as a prosecutor with the York County district attorney’s office. Gov. Paul LePage renominated Moskowitz to the bench last month along with eight of his colleagues.”

BDN reports ” A vote by the Judiciary Committee on the reappointment of the Maine judge was delayed Thursday until next week. Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, chairman of the committee, said the delay would give District Court Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz and committee members an opportunity to read written testimony submitted before the hearing.

Burns said the committee would vote on Moskowitz’s renomination about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

More than half a dozen members of the legal community in Cumberland and York counties, including two district attorneys and a retired judge, spoke in favor of Moskowitz’s reappointment.

Moskowitz told the committee he wanted to keep his job.

“Like all people, I make mistakes,” he said. “You are all aware of my error issuing a controversial order. I sincerely regretted making that mistake. But I view my mistakes as a clear opportunity to learn and improve.”

Joshua Tardy, a Newport lawyer and former Republican legislator who is chairman of the governor’s judicial advisory committee, which vets judicial nominees, said the committee took concerns expressed about how Moskowitz handles family cases seriously.

“The committee felt an obligation to determine the veracity of the complaints about Judge Moskowitz,” Tardy told the committee. “I assure you that they have been taken seriously, and we have done our due diligence. We did not make a quick decision, but it was an easy decision once we had information.”

Moskowitz also was endorsed by the Maine State Bar Association and the Maine Trial Lawyers Association. The presidents of both organizations said they sought out members to ask about their experiences before Moskowitz and he was praised resoundingly.

Widespread reports from informants whom we know well have experienced in his court a repeated pattern of rudeness and disrespect, failure to follow the law.

The last time the committee rejected a nomination was in the late 1980s, according to Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, who has been a member of the Legislature since the 1970s.”

Read more HERE.

MPBN reports “Michael Welch, president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association, said “We all make mistakes. How do you deal with it?” His organization endorsed Moskowitz’s reappointment because of his outstanding abilities as a judge.”

State Sen. David Dutremble, a Biddeford Democrat, says he had been approached by a number of people with complaints about Moskowitz and got no assistance from the Administrative Office of the Courts or the governor’s office when he tried to investigate those complaints. Dutremble was critical of the politics involved in judicial appointments.

“Attempts to escape politics inevitably result in heeding the advice of a narrow group of decision makers that express the opinions of special interests of segments. In Maine, the segment that votes on the judge is the bar – especially those members who are actively political within the bar,” Dutremble said. “The public and the ‘pro se’ users are excluded from the process.”

Read more HERE.

PPH reports “Attorney Joshua Tardy, who is chairman of Gov. Paul LePage’s Judicial Selection Committee, said his group conducted a thorough review before deciding to recommend Moskowitz.

“It was not a quick decision to be blunt, but it was an easy decision after all the deliberation. Judge Moskowitz is truly deserving of nomination,” Tardy said. “Our committee has received wide spread consensus and feedback that he is fair, that he is smart. He is honest. He is efficient.”

Other attorneys who spoke in favor of Moskowitz included David Levesque, president of the Maine State Bar Association; Robert Ruffner; Michael Welch, president of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association; Judy Potter; Kenneth Altshuler; Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson; York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery, Gerald Conley; Kristine Hanly; Diane Dusini; Robert Crowley, a retired judge; ; Ardith Keef and JohnWebb.

Notably, attorney Matthew Nichols, Webb’s law partner at Nichols and Webb, wrote a contradictory letter to the Judiciary Committee in which he said Moskowitz is “not a good judge.”

“If I had only my bad experiences with Judge Moskowitz, I would likely not be writing to you. But my own experiences have been echoed by countless other attorneys ranging from criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors, litigants and family law attorneys alike,” Nichols wrote in a letter dated May 4. “

The chairman of the committee, Sen. David Burns, R-Washington, on Thursday strictly enforced a three-minute time limit for testimony of Moskowitz’s opponents. But Burns allowed many attorneys in favor of Moskowitz to speak much longer.

Jerome Collins, who organizes an advocacy group called Maine Guardian Ad Litem Alerts, said he surveyed many citizens, as the Maine Bar Association, surveyed lawyers. He said citizens who appeared before Moskowitz who wanted to talk about him were those who felt wronged. He said that’s the opposite of lawyers who mostly only wanted to speak if they had something complimentary to say about the judge.

“What you really need is a legislative audit of the court to get the answer of what’s really going on. You need to conduct an in depth audit,” Collins said.

Other opponents who spoke against Moskowitz were Sen. David Dutremble, D-Biddeford; Falmouth activist Michael Doyle and Scarborough resident Robert Baizley.

None of the committee members asked Moskowitz any questions at the hearing.”

Moskowitz’s only supporter who was not a lawyer was Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, who described herself as friends with Moskowitz.

Read more HERE.

CHANNEL 8 news report on Judge Moskowitz, view HERE.
A mistake? He’s sorry? Sorry doesn’t cut it!

Judge Moskowitz Finally Gets Caught By Someone Other Than FTM Running His Kangaroo Courtroom, click here.

Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz Apologized And Acknowledged That His Order Was Not Lawful, click here.

Judicial Confirmation Hearing – Judge Jeffrey H. Moskowitz Thursday, May 07, 2015, click here.

Maine Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz Comes Under Review At Public Forum, click here.

Public Exposure Moves Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills,click here.

PPH Reporter Scott Dolan Presented With Freedom Of Information Award For Challenging Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz’s Gag Order, click here.

Judge Donald Marden’s Cabbage Is Shredded, click here.

Have You Been Harmed By Maine’s Judicial System? Click here.

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT ON THE BENCH?

Tribal Representatives Withdraw From Maine Legislature

PPH reports “The Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes withdrew their representatives to the Legislature on Monday in response to what leaders said is a dangerous deterioration in the relationship between the sovereign tribes and the state.

Legislative records show that two tribes have sent representatives to the Legislature since the early 1800s. Their role and recognition by state government has been tempestuous and varied, however. The Penobscots first sent representatives in 1823. The Passamaquoddies sent representatives in 1842.” This article has been updated.

PPH reports “A day after withdrawing their representatives from the Maine legislature, three of the state’s four Indian tribes resolved Wednesday to no longer recognize the authority of state officials, legislators and courts to “define our sovereignty or culture or to interfere with our self-governing rights.”

The three tribes also called on the federal government to intervene in their increasingly heated disputes with Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills over the meaning of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, asking for a congressional inquiry. In a joint declaration, they asked for a “review of the actions of Maine that have resulted in a diminishment of our rights as federally recognized, sovereign Indian troes and of the adverse impacts upon our cultures, rights and resources.”

In their declaration, the tribes charged that the state has repeatedly encroached on their sovereign powers, land and resources, seeking “to perpetuate us as wards of the State of Maine.”’ Read more HERE.

MAINE INDIAN CLAIMS SETTLEMENT – Title 30 §6201.

§6203. Definitions – Note Section 4. – Laws of the State. “Laws of the State” means the Constitution and all statutes, rules or regulations and the common law of the State and its political subdivisions, and subsequent amendments thereto or judicial interpretations thereof.

Related: Act Concerning The Separation Of The District Of Maine From Massachusetts Proper (1816), click here.

Russell Means: Welcome To The Reservation, click here.

Published in: on June 1, 2015 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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