Maine’s Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a case to decide whether Gov. Paul LePage has the authority to block a voter-mandated law to expand Medicaid coverage for 70,000 low-income people. But even if the court orders him to follow the law, the governor told WVOM radio that they’ll have to lock him up because he still won’t enforce it.

“One thing I know is that no one can force me to put the state in red ink,” said the governor on July 11. “And I will not do that. So … I’ll go to jail before I put the state in red ink and if the court tells me I have to do it then we’re going to be going to jail.”

LePage’s “prisoner of conscience” speech garnered exuberant praise from his opponents on social media. In other lawless governor news, LePage continues to withhold nearly $1.4 million in Clean Elections funding owed to 120 legislative candidates, the majority of whom are Democrats. At the same time, LePage blasted Democrats for refusing to bring his bill to conform the state’s tax code to the federal tax cuts passed by Congress until Republicans agree to support a bill that would fix a drafting error in the current two-year budget which unintentionally removed the commission’s ability to fully fund the program after July 1.

“[Democrats] don’t care about Maine people. They don’t care about Medicaid. They don’t care about the overheating of the economy and what the minimum wage is doing to the state. They do not care about anything,” said LePage. “All they want is taxpayer money so they’ll go and run their campaigns.”







The Legislature is scheduled to return to Augusta to take up more of the governor’s vetoes on July 23. With a total of 642 vetoes during his tenure, LePage has vetoed more bills during his eight years in office than the combined total of every single Maine governor since 1917, when Carl Elias Milliken took office, according to an analysis by the Bangor Daily News. But LePage said the Legislature won’t be done until he says so.

“They’re going to be coming back after July 23 too because I’ve got a whole lot of bills this summer that I’m going to be introducing,” he said. “I will tell you, the Legislature will be here until election day because I will call them back every day until they deal with my elderly bill and they deal with the minimum wage. And … starting the 23rd of July, I will be calling them every day.”

That may prove to be a difficult endeavor if he’s in jail.

Meanwhile, LePage was on a junket in the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro this week to celebrate the state’s Maine-Montenegro State Partnership Program. The partnership, which was signed in 2006, was established along with other National Guards across the US as part of an effort to initiate a strong bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Montenegro following its independence from Serbia, with the ultimate goal of helping it secure NATO membership. In an interview with the US Embassy, LePage said he would strengthen the cooperation by importing Montenegrin wine to Maine and having the Montenegrin language taught at the University of Maine. It’s unclear how the governor, who does not set trade policy, will import Montenegrin wine unless he’s carrying a few bottles back in his luggage.

“The thing that I’ve heard that’s the most interesting is that while there’s been difficulty in the Balkans for many, many years, that everybody likes Montenegro,” said LePage. “So that sounds good because … if Montenegro is friends to everybody, then Maine wants to become part of Montenegro.”

In a tweet on Wednesday, LePage called Montenegro a “source of stability & freedom in the Balkan region.” But apparently he didn’t get the presidential memo. Fresh from his infamous press conference with Russian President Vladamir Putin, President Donald Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday that sending troops to defend an “aggressive” Montenegro could result in World War III.

“You know, Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people.… They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and, congratulations, you’re in World War III,” said Trump. “But that’s the way it was set up.”

Montenegro claims that a group of pro-Serbian and Russian nationalists were responsible for a failed 2016 coup and an assassination plot to kill then-Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic over his attempt to join NATO, which Russia vehemently disputes.