Maine Gov. Paul LePage has declared a state of "civil emergency" in the Pine Tree State due to the federal government shutdown— a move being blasted by a major union as an "unnecessary power grab."
The governor now has the authority to circumvent state laws or rules if he believes they “prevent, hinder and delay effective management of the emergency,” the Bangor Daily News reports
LePage blamed the federal budget gridlock on Capitol Hill for his dramatic move.
“The failure of leadership in Washington, D.C., has resulted in a federal shutdown, preventing the flow of federal money to Maine. Unfortunately, this means that a large number of our federally funded state employees may have to be laid off," the governor said in a statement Thursday.
"The State of Maine simply cannot fill the financial gap created by the prolonged loss of federal dollars. It would be unlawful for the State to ask our federally funded employees to continue to work without having the authority to pay them.”
But the Maine State Employees Association, one of the state's biggest unions, was critical of the governor's declaration.
“The governor’s action is unnecessary. It’s extreme. It’s an overreach of power. It demonstrates the governor’s inability or unwillingness to work with Maine’s legislative leadership, Maine’s congressional delegation and even the rank-and-file state workers who call him their boss," union president Ginette Rivard said.
Rivard charged that LePage simply ignores the laws "he finds inconvenient.”
LePage was set to meet with state lawmakers to discuss his directive on Thursday.
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