A Democratic state lawmaker in Maine has proposed legislation that would prohibit the state’s governor from using his or her expense account for alcohol, lottery tickets, tattoos, and bail. This measure would closely mirror restrictions that Republican Gov. Paul LePage has recently put on welfare card recipients.
Ann Kim, spokeswoman for the Maine House Democrats, told WMTW News recently that there is no evidence that LePage is using his account for such things now. Instead, she said, the bill, proposed by state Rep. Scott Hamann, is intended “to increase transparency around the use of taxpayer dollars.”
Hamann’s motive, however, might well be to draw attention to LePage’s efforts to reform the state’s welfare program, according to an Oct. 22 story from Think Progress.
Hamann’s proposed restrictions on the governor’s expense account mirror the restrictions the governor wants placed on welfare card recipients. LePage has tried repeatedly to prohibit the benefits cards from being used at liquor stores, tobacco stores and lottery machines.
This new bill is the second such proposal that draws attention to welfare reform in the state.
Earlier in October, Republican state Sen. Larry Lockman proposed a bill that would require state legislators to be drug tested.
That law was proposed after the state began requiring drug felons seeking welfare assistance to submit to drug testing, The Ellsworth American reported.
“If we’re going to ask welfare recipients to be drug tested, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be too,” Lockman told the paper at the time.
As for Hamann’s recent proposal, it may just the attention to the issue that he's seeking, since Kim suggested he won’t be spending much time pushing his bill through the House.
“Given the hurdle second session bills must clear, Rep. Hamann is focusing his efforts on his Meals on Wheels proposal and his bill to prevent opioid overdose among children and elders,” she told WMTW News.