Gov. Paul LePage yesterday backed a proposal by Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, to open legislative working papers to the public.
During the most recent session of the Legislature, Dill had proposed an amendment to LD 1805 that would have eliminated the public records exception from the Legislative Branch.
Legislators are currently afforded the right to temporarily shield public records for proposed legislation, reports and working papers. The amendment created a level playing field between the Executive and Legislative Branches, which the governor supported. A majority of Republicans and Democrats rejected Sen. Dill's amendment, which was never taken up for debate.
"This is political hypocrisy," said LePage, a Republican. "There are three branches of government which were created equal. However, the Executive Branch has been tagged as the black sheep. This exception is applicable to both the Legislative and Judicial Branch, but not the Executive. It is hypocritical of Legislators to offer themselves the right to exempt working papers and refuse to look at the amendment offered by Sen. Dill.
"The lack of courage which is looming over the Legislature right now is overwhelming," added the Governor. "If we are to be an equal government let us become completely transparent and lift the exception for all branches of government," LePage said.
"I appreciate the governor's comments and look forward to working again with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to bring as much sunlight as possible to the inner workings of Maine government," Dill said. "The people own the government. They should get to see as much of how it works as possible."