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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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With Democrats and legal experts saying Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) screwed up an attempt to veto 19 bills and that the legislation is now law, the governor is promising to take the question to court to prove them wrong.

"We’ll go to the courts and we’ll ask them,” LePage said to reporters Wednesday, according to the Portland Press Herald. “It’s in the Constitution ... It’s very clear – very, very clear. Even I can understand it and I’m French."

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The office of Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) and the clerk in the Maine House are in disagreement over the fate of 19 bills that the governor apparently did not veto in time to prevent them from becoming law. One of the bills grants welfare benefits to some immigrants, which LePage vehemently campaigned against in 2014.

As the Bangor Daily News reported Tuesday evening, LePage appeared to be attempting to use the parliamentary procedure known as the pocket veto. By not signing the bills and "pocketing" them, LePage could under some circumstances have effectively vetoed them. In theory, that would have allowed the proposals to die without legislators having a chance to override his veto. But the pocket veto only works if the legislature has adjourned after the end of the second regular session. And there is the rub.

The clerk of the Maine House told TPM Wednesday morning that the legislature, which is nearing the end of the first regular session, has not adjourned. By not vetoing the bills within the required 10-day period, LePage allowed the bills he opposed -- some ferociously -- to become law.

But LePage's office is now claiming the legislature did adjourn. "The Legislature passed a joint order on June 30, 2015 to adjourn—not to 'recess,'” LePage's office said in a Wednesday email to TPM.

That has left the clerk of the Maine House thoroughly confused.

"Frankly, if he returns them to me, I don't know what I’ll do," Maine's Clerk of the House Robert Hunt told TPM, after being read the new statement from the governor's office. Hunt added that it appeared he and the governor's office have different interpretations of what, under the Maine Constitution, qualifies as an adjournment.

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As fallout continues from Wisconsin Republicans' failed attempt to gut the state's government transparency laws, a GOP leader finally admitted Tuesday Gov. Scott Walker's (R) office was involved in the proposal, which was dropped after passing a legislative committee.

"Sure. Yeah," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said when reporters asked him whether the governor's office was part of conversations about the proposal, as reported by The Capitol Times.

"Along the way we had talked to them about open records issues and the amount of requests the governor gets," Fitzgerald said, according to WISC-TV. "The assembly obviously was involved as well."

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A provision in a Wisconsin budget package that would have gutted the state’s open records laws were scrapped after the Gov. Scott Walker (R) and the GOP legislative leadership came under intense scrutiny. However, a number of other consequential policy initiatives tucked into the larger budget bill remain intact. Some provisions appear to double down on Walker’s longstanding war on labor. Others roll back efforts to hold law enforcement accountable through transparency measures.

The governor’s office did not return TPM’s request for comment as to whether Walker, who will make his run for the White House official next week, intended to support or veto the measures. However, in the fallout over the open records law changes, legislators of both parties signaled his office was aware -- if not approving -- of all the provisions in the budget package, known as Motion 999, that passed the Joint Finance Committee on Thursday.

Here is what else is the package:

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A group of New Jersey Democratic lawmakers have vowed to introduce a bill that would force Gov. Christie Christie (R) to step down in order to run for president. The proposal, expected to be introduced in the days to come, is being sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) as well as Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D), NJ.com reports. They say Christie has been missing in action during his third gubernatorial term — often traveling to early primary states like New Hampshire — due to his presidential campaign, which he made official last week.

"He's not doing the state any good by spending the bulk of his time out of state," Lesniak told NJ.com. "And even when he's in-state, he's focusing on what he has to do to get elected president — which often runs contrary to what he ought to do for the state."

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Wisconsin Republicans may have swiftly backtracked on a proposal that would have gutted the state’s open records law, but the big question remains as to who inserted the language into the budget bill in the first place and whether Gov. Scott Walker (R) -- who was already facing a lawsuit challenging him to release certain legislative documents -- was involved in pushing the changes.

The changes to the public records law were initially approved by the Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee by a party-line vote Thursday evening, before the long Independence Day weekend. But a fierce backlash prompted Republican leaders, led by Walker, to announce during the holiday weekend they were dropping the provisions. The proposal, part of a budget package known as Motion #999, would have removed a number of legislative documents from under the scope of government transparency laws, and would have permitted lawmakers to opt out of submitting to other types of public records requests. The proposal appeared to target communications tracking how legislation is developed, which often reveals the influence of special interests.

So far, Republicans have stayed mum on who initially pushed for the changes, though it has emerged in the last 72 hours that most of leadership chain was at the very least aware of them before they were put in front of the Joint Finance Committee on Thursday. As for Walker's role, the specifics of his involvement, if any, remain unknown. But the consensus in Madison is nothing would have gotten that far in the legislative process without at least Walker's tacit approval.

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Wisconsin Republicans led by Gov. Scott Walker (R) swiftly reversed course over the holiday weekend and dropped a proposal that would have gutted Wisconsin's open records law.

Tucked into a larger budget motion, the proposal, as reported by The Capital Times on Friday, would have removed a number of legislative materials and communications from the law's auspices and would have allowed lawmakers to refuse to disclose certain documents.

As the backlash began to mount, Walker announced over the weekend that he and state lawmakers had agreed to remove the provisions changing state open record laws.

"We are steadfastly committed to open and accountable government," Walker said in a statement Saturday that was cosigned by state GOP legislative leaders. "The intended policy goal of these changes was to provide a reasonable solution to protect constituents' privacy and to encourage a deliberative process between elected officials and their staff in developing policy. It was never intended to inhibit transparent government in any way."

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Former Massachusetts Gov. and GOP 2012 nominee Mitt Romney will host New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is running for president, and Christie's wife Mary Pat, for a sleepover Friday.

The Washington Post reported that the Christies will stay at Romney's Wolfeboro, N.H. compound on Lake Winnipesaukee Friday night after they share a casual dinner. Christie aides confirmed the plans to the New York Times.

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A Kentucky clerk who stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples – gay or straight – after the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage now faces a class-action lawsuit filed by the ACLU-Kentucky Thursday.

The challengers in the suit – two gay couples and two straight couples – say Rowan County Clerk Kimberly Davis violated their due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and ask that Davis be compelled to begin issuing the licenses again, in addition to seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

They also brought the complaint on behalf of the individuals who are otherwise qualified to be married in Rowan county, but can no longer do so because of Davis' refusal to grant licenses.

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