Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 
Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook

LePage vetoes bills to report on welfare misuse probes and refine freedom-of-access law

By Christopher Cousins on April 22, 2014, at 7:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to produce annual reports of investigations involving the misuse of public benefits and blamed Democrats for failing to find funding for it. LD 1829 was among three bills vetoed …
Maine School of Science and Mathematics Executive Director Luke Shorty

National magazine: Maine’s high schools rank among best in the US

By Christopher Cousins on April 22, 2014, at 6:19 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s education system earned accolades Tuesday from a national publication that says the state has some of the best high schools in the country and that, overall, Maine ties California for high quality high schools. The Maine School of Science and Mathematics ranked best in the state …
Gov. Paul LePage

Nine new LePage vetoes include lawmakers’ changes to his mining and educator evaluation rules

By Christopher Cousins on April 18, 2014, at 8:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage vetoed teacher evaluation rules that have been under development for more than two years as well as a bill that calls for a redo of controversial large-scale metallic mineral mining rules amid a crop of nine new vetoes issued Friday afternoon. Education proponents said …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage outraged that Legislature didn’t fund drug enforcement expansion

By Christopher Cousins on April 18, 2014, at 6:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to bolster the state’s efforts to fight drug crimes died early Friday morning because of a lack of funding. Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, co-chair of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, said she and just about every other lawmaker supported the bill but that its …

‘We’ve got more cash than expenditures’ — Maine GOP says ethics panel’s website falsely creates impression of debt

By Christopher Cousins on April 18, 2014, at 3:46 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Republican Party officials are fending off allegations that the party is deep in debt, saying that an inaccurate state campaign finance website has created a false impression that the party spent more money than it had during the most recent reporting period. “We are solvent,” said …
Gov. Paul LePage

$50 million bond proposal package headed to LePage with strong bipartisan support

By Christopher Cousins on April 18, 2014, at 8:58 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A package of six bond bills totaling $50 million sailed through the Legislature on Thursday night en route to consideration by Gov. Paul LePage and voters on the November statewide ballot. The build-up to the end of the legislative session in recent days has focused on Republicans …
Gov. Paul LePage discusses his welfare reform proposals in this March 2014 file photo.

LePage blasts Democrats for welfare-to-work fines

By Christopher Cousins on April 17, 2014, at 6:27 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The federal Administration for Children & Families has notified the state that it could be liable for more than $7.1 million in fines for failure to meet work participation rates in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in 2011. Gov. Paul LePage framed the situation as …
POLL QUESTION
Eliot Cutler

Eliot Cutler rolls out $185 million proposal to lower property taxes — and plan to fund it

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2014, at 9:38 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler continued his roll-out of policy ideas Tuesday with a new proposal to lower property taxes while also increasing state aid to local communities, funding for education and the budget for marketing the state of Maine. Cutler also has outlined options to …
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

Federal funding for Maine cold case squad could come from new Justice Department grants

By Christopher Cousins on April 14, 2014, at 3:44 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Attorney General Janet Mills is working with Rep. Mike Michaud to find federal funding for the creation of a cold case squad in Maine aimed at solving more than 100 open homicide cases. The announcement from Michaud comes three days after Gov. Paul LePage sent a letter …
Sen. Brian Langley

Another attempt to put a moratorium on virtual charter schools in Maine moving through Legislature

By Christopher Cousins on April 14, 2014, at 2:48 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Another attempt to slow down virtual public charter schools in Maine took a step toward enactment on Monday. The House of Representatives voted 91-56 in favor of LD 995, An Act to Establish a Moratorium on the Approval and Operation of Virtual Public Charter Schools, which heads …
House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport

LePage’s ‘Open for Business Zones’ proposal officially dead after partisan House vote

By Christopher Cousins on April 14, 2014, at 1:43 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Democrats successfully completed their turn-back of Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to create “Open for Business Zones” at two former military bases in Maine with a mostly party-line vote Monday in the House of Representatives. The 91-55 vote Monday morning came after a 22-13 vote Friday in the …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage appeals to federal government to find funding for new cold case homicide squad

By Christopher Cousins on April 12, 2014, at 5:44 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage on Friday requested that members of Maine’s congressional delegation find funding for a law enforcement cold case squad focused on solving some 120 open homicide cases. In a letter sent to all four members of the state’s congressional delegation on Friday, LePage wrote that …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage vetoes solar energy bill, two others

By Christopher Cousins on April 11, 2014, at 8:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage vetoed three more bills Friday evening, including a solar energy concept he has been railing against for weeks. LePage said he vetoed LD 1252, An Act to Improve Maine’s Economy and Energy Security with Solar and Wind Energy, because it establishes a new tax …

LePage’s ‘open for business zones’ bill rejected in Senate behind arguments that it’s too generous

By Christopher Cousins on April 11, 2014, at 6:22 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate Democrats led a charge against a proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to give large corporations major incentives to bring jobs to two former military bases in Maine, including a “right to work” prohibition on forcing workers to pay union dues. LePage reacted to the vote by …

LePage’s campaign truth squad bill dead after only 1 legislator votes in favor of it

By Christopher Cousins on April 11, 2014, at 5:27 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives killed a proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to have the Maine Ethics Commission serve as a campaign speech lie detector on Friday with a vote of 146-1. After a unanimous vote against the bill in the Senate on Thursday, the bill is dead. …

Senate upholds LePage’s veto of ‘compromise’ Medicaid expansion bill

By Christopher Cousins on April 11, 2014, at 12:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate has sustained Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would have expanded Medicaid in Maine under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. At about noon Friday, the 22-13 vote fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage indicates opposition to $30 million budget patch, threatens to keep lawmakers in Augusta

By Christopher Cousins on April 10, 2014, at 6:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has indicated that he doesn’t support the bipartisan budget compromise unanimously supported Wednesday by the Legislature’s budget committee. He also said he’ll keep lawmakers in Augusta for months to fix it if he has to. “If they try to do what they’ve done for …
Maine State Police Detective Ryan Brockway receives a congratulatory handshake from Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday at the State House after Brockway was recognized with a Children's Advocate Award for his work with the Maine Network of Children's Advocacy Centers.

LePage highlights state’s improving efforts to fight child sex abuse

By Christopher Cousins on April 10, 2014, at 4:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage and the top officer in the Maine State Police gathered with reporters and child sex abuse prevention officials Thursday to highlight the positive effects of increasing efforts to speed along investigations and provide services to young victims. Advocates estimate that nationally, one in four …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Angus King downplays reports that he might caucus with the GOP after the election, but doesn’t rule it out

on April 10, 2014, at 10:11 a.m.
Independent Maine Sen. Angus King told a reporter for The Hill newspaper in Washington on Wednesday that he is weighing whether to begin caucusing with Senate Republicans if the GOP takes majority control of the U.S. Senate in the November mid-term elections. The Washington Post also reported the news on Thursday. King’s …
Senator Roger Katz, R-Augusta

At State House, burst of pre-dawn votes bridges $30M deficit — but will LePage agree?

By Christopher Cousins on April 09, 2014, at 4:57 a.m.
The bipartisan plan early Wednesday morning would cut waiting lists for people with developmental disabilities and possibly save nursing homes.
 
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