END OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD (41 states)

Time: D H M S

Does Maine's $38 million typo show how King v. Burwell might play out?

Over at Talking Points Memo, Amy Fried notes that something really, really stupid was just fixed in the state of Maine:

But LePage has also tried to take advantage of a wording error with the 2013 law funding energy efficiency programs. While lawmakers wanted $60 million spent to help homemakers use less energy heating their homes, the snafu would have reduced that to $22 million—less than half.

The text error in Maine involved just one word left out—"and." However, it wasn’t just the wording that mattered but also a decision from a body controlled by his appointees, the Maine Public Utility Commission, that ruled 2-1 that there would be far less money for efficiency projects than legislators wanted.

The error came down to this, according to the Portland Press Herald:

The energy law authorizes the PUC to set electricity rates to raise money for energy efficiency programs, as long as the amount raised does not exceed 4 percent of “total retail electricity transmission and distribution sales” in Maine. What the law should have said was 4 percent of “total retail electricity and transmission and distribution sales,” according to several members of the Legislature’s energy committee.

...When hearings were held on the simple bill to fix the law, not a single citizen or group leader turned up to testify against it. In contrast, not a single member of the public or citizens’ group leader testified for LePage’s sweeping bill. After letters to the editor decrying LePage’s attempt to transform efficiency efforts, the Maine Legislature acted in near-unison. The “and” was added by a unanimous Senate and a 138-1 vote in the Maine House.

The parallels to the King v. Burwell situation are obvious. What's less obvious is whether the outcome (assuming the Supreme Court rules for the plaintiffs) would have a similar parallel. Given this Congress, somehow I doubt it.