The current conversation around political campfires here in Maine focuses on whether Gov. Paul LePage's star has already set, less than four months after taking office. I've argued here that he's certainly taken a hit, while Portland Press Herald columnist and editorial writer Greg Kesich has gone so far as to declare "the LePage era is over."
Murals aside, one of the principal causes of Mr. LePage's loss of influence has been his ill-considered assault on Maine's environmental and product safety laws, which has featured a range of proposed regulatory rollbacks that appear to benefit only the out-of-state chemical, toy, and pharmaceutical companies whose lobbyists wrote much of the governor's reform agenda. In this month's Down East, I explore the origins of and political reaction to the governor's rollback plan, much of which has been stricken from the relevant bills by the Republican-controlled legislature.
Maine politicos will also find a partial answer on where the Maine Grocers Association really stood on the effort to put BPA back in babies' bottles and sippy cups, a LePage proposal that was defeated 145-3 in the House last week, and 35-0 in the Senate yesterday. In case you're curious, the holdouts were Larry Dunphy (R-Emden), Beth O'Connor (R-Berwick), and Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough).
For the record, LePage has not changed its position on BPA. "The LePage Administration would not have crafted the rule as it was produced by the last administration and that the Governor still opposes the product prohibition," his spokesman, Dan Demeritt told me Mar. 28.
[Update, 9/16/2011: Yglesias picked up on my story today.]
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