The battle over the missing “and” continues, but several proposals suggest that it won’t end the way we reported it would on April Fools’ Day.
The debate began late last month, when Maine’s Public Utilities Commission voted 2-1 to slash energy-efficiency funding based on a strict reading of the 2013 Omnibus Energy Bill. There is bipartisan agreement that the missing “and” was a typographical error and that such a reading contradicts the Legislature’s intent, but no such agreement that a clean fix is the best solution.
Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) has proposed a bill that would simply correct the typo and restore Efficiency Maine funding, and at least two Republican legislators have expressed their support for the clean fix.
But Governor Paul LePage has backed competing legislation proposed by House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) that would reinsert the missing word, while also creating a department of energy in the executive branch and giving the governor’s office more power over Efficiency Maine.
Both bills are working their way through the Legislature, so stay tuned. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for stray “ands” in the cellulose.