Political Brew: Thousands of bills; and the 2020 race is on and Susan Collins relys on out-of-State funding.

As the legislative session ramps up, some surprising proposals bubble up. But should they all be taken seriously? And Sen. Susan Collins’ fundraising shows the campaign season never ends.

Phil Harriman and John Richardson are skeptical about a bill proposed last week that would force a consumer takeover of Central Maine Power and Emera Maine, two companies with a combined worth estimated at $4 billion.

Former Speaker of the House John Richardson acknowledges that “CMP has some serious customer relations problems, and that in my opinion is what’s driving this bill. Does this bill have a reasonable chance of getting through? Of course not.”

Phil Harriman, a former state senator, feels “This is not this is not the direction the Maine Legislature should be going, which says to private business, ‘we don’t like the way you’re  doing business, so we are going to take over your business.’ I don’t think that’s going to work.”

They also discuss a proposal that was floated and quickly withdrawn that would have required Mainers to buy snow tires for their vehicles. Our analysts believe this sort of bill points out a chronic problem for the Maine Legislature. A couple of thousand bills are introduced at the start of each session.

Says Harriman, “Every legislator has the right during ‘open season’ to put in any bill of any type that they want. And this is why you see bills like this being introduced. They’re not going anywhere, and it makes fodder for those who want to criticize the way government operates.”

And Richardson says “When these kinds of bills come forward it makes a mockery of the legislature. What happens unfortunately, is that everybody is tainted with ‘what are you trying to do? Force us to buy snow tires?'”

Campaign finance reports this past week revealed that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)  brought in $1.8 million in the last quarter of 2018, following her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

John Richardson says that controversial vote was good politics for Collins, at least outside of Maine. “I think that’s where she’s gaining and will gain most of the money she raises for the next election. She could raise more than $10 million for the 2020 race.”

Harriman says this is a sign that “This is what politics has become today. Campaigns never end. We don’t put our party affiliation aside and operate as Americans or Mainers anymore, it’s all about the election.”

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report