AUGUSTA, Maine — Two of the state’s top political leaders are vowing a bipartisan effort to make government ethics, accountability and transparency key issues in the upcoming legislative session.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage and House Democratic leader Emily Cain are responding to a national report that gave Maine government an “F” for its potential for corruption.
Maine ranked 46th in the “State Integrity Investigation” by three nonpartisan groups that was released in mid-March.
Cain, the Democratic House leader who is running for a Senate seat from Orono, has proposed two linked initiatives that she hopes will lead to government ethics reform.
Cain said Tuesday she will ask her fellow lawmakers to form a bipartisan, joint select committee to consider ethics reform and report out a bill in the legislative session that begins in January, 2013.
“While the report didn’t reveal that Maine is corrupt, we have a lot of things to look at to do better,” Cain said, adding that she believes key areas of concern include nepotism, cronyism, legislative financial disclosure, government transparency and citizen access to information.
Cain on Tuesday submitted a “concept draft” bill, “An Act to Strengthen Maine's Ethics Laws and Improve Public Access to Information,” that she hopes will provide a vehicle for bipartisan reform proposals.
Cain said her reform effort could succeed where others have failed in the past in part because the public is more aware now of the potential for corruption.
“I think the fact that Maine had a public blemish in that report changes a mindset for the public and for legislators,” Cain said.