Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Is the third time a charm for LePage’s right-to-work proposal?

on March 24, 2014, at 5:18 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to create “Open for Business Zones” in Maine as a way to attract private investments and jobs encountered early opposition Monday when his bill, LD 1835, was presented to the Legislature. Though there was support for the concept of creating incentives for businesses that locate at …
Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Chief R. Clayton Cleaves

Maine House attempts to revive tribal gaming bills that were rejected in the Senate

By Christopher Cousins on March 20, 2014, at 12:54 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives on Thursday attempted to revive Native American gaming bills that were soundly rejected Wednesday night in the Senate. In a series of votes Thursday morning, the House voted unanimously to “insist” on passage of two bills that would allow the construction of a …
Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Chief R. Clayton Cleaves discusses his disappointment over the rejection of bills that would have expanded tribal gaming opportunities by the Maine Senate on Wednesday.

Tribes call foul over Senate vote spree against statewide gaming measures

By Christopher Cousins on March 19, 2014, at 9:52 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Senate slammed the door on six bills Thursday night that involved the expansion of casinos and gaming, including three that would have have allowed more gaming opportunities for Maine’s Native American tribes. The other rejected bills would have expanded the use of slot machines for fraternal …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage says state agency should become election campaign lie detector

By Christopher Cousins on March 19, 2014, at 5:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has proposed a bill that would require the Maine Ethics Commission to expand its responsibilities to include fact-checking statements made during political campaigns. LD 1834, An Act to Require the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to Make Public Declarations following a Determination …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage’s call for June statewide vote on cutting $100 million in state spending meets resistance in Legislature

By Christopher Cousins on March 19, 2014, at 3:49 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal for a statewide referendum in June to ask Maine voters whether they want to reduce government spending by $100 million met stiff resistance Wednesday from lawmakers and others who said it isn’t a new idea at all. LePage first raised the idea during …

Bill to create more work opportunities for Maine children rejected in House vote

By Christopher Cousins on March 19, 2014, at 1:19 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A LePage administration bill that would have allowed children younger than 16 years old to work in bowling alleys or movie theaters failed Wednesday in the House of Representatives. The bill was rejected Wednesday with an 85-58 mostly party-line vote. All of the House Republicans and four …
Gov. LePage speaks about the rainy day fund during a press conference in this March 2014 file photo.

Maine budget panel reaches compromise on LePage’s rainy day proposal, $17M amendment

By Christopher Cousins on March 19, 2014, at 9:24 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Appropriations Committee has approved Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to replenish the state’s rainy day fund to $60 million and has agreed unanimously to move forward the contents of a controversial $17 million amendment that was previously attached to the bill separately. Many of the committee’s votes …
Craig Hickman

Lawmakers question motives behind state’s plan to raise timber-harvesting limits on public lands

By Christopher Cousins on March 18, 2014, at 7:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Members of the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee on Tuesday questioned the motives behind the Bureau of Parks and Land’s intention to increase the limit for timber harvesting on public lands over the next two years. Will Harris, director of the bureau, delivered his annual report …
A view of the railing along the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.

Bill to install suicide prevention fence on Penobscot Narrows Bridge fails in committee

By Christopher Cousins on March 18, 2014, at 6:37 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Legislature’s Transportation Committee rejected a bill Tuesday afternoon that would have led to the installation of a suicide prevention fence on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. Rep. Beth Turner, R-Burlington, a member of the committee, said the unanimous “ought not to pass” recommendation was a reflection of …
Sen. Brian Langley

Senate kills virtual school moratorium bill by upholding LePage veto

By Christopher Cousins on March 18, 2014, at 1:34 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A proposal to put a moratorium on the creation of virtual charter schools in Maine while the state creates its own died in the Senate Tuesday when a veto by Gov. Paul LePage was sustained. The Senate voted 23-12 in favor of sustaining the veto, which falls …
A pulp truck loaded with softwood trees travels on the Golden Road in Township 2 Range 12 in the Maine woods in 1996.

State plan to increase timber harvesting on public lands hits resistance

By Christopher Cousins on March 17, 2014, at 7:24 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A plan within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to markedly increase timber harvesting limits on publicly owned lands has caused concern among environmentalists who say the increase is unsustainable. Department spokesman John Bott confirmed Monday that the department has internally agreed to increase the timber …
Gov. Paul LePage

Democrats approve LePage’s rainy day proposal but caveats anger Republicans

By Christopher Cousins on March 14, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s call for quick action on his bill to restore $21 million to the state’s rainy day fund was granted Friday afternoon by the Legislature’s budget committee, but only after Democrats added an amendment that calls for more than $17 million in additional spending. The …
Eliot Cutler

Anti-PAC Cutler to benefit from PAC set up solely for his campaign

By Christopher Cousins on March 14, 2014, at 12:49 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler, who in December announced that he will campaign “unbought” and without help from political action committees, said Friday that he has no control over a PAC set up recently for his campaign’s benefit. The Campaign for Maine PAC, which supported Cutler …
Gov. Paul LePage makes a pitch to shrink the power of Maine's labor unions while offering details about his "Open for Business zones" proposal at a press conference in Brunswick on Monday.

LePage details support of Keystone tar sands pipeline project in letter to John Kerry

By Christopher Cousins on March 13, 2014, at 7:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s endorsement of the controversial Keystone pipeline project, which he detailed in a March 3 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, added new fuel to a long-term debate about bringing tar sands oil through Maine. At issue is a nearly year-old application from the …
Gov. Paul LePage says Maine has only five days worth of money in its Rainy Day fund during a press conference on Tuesday, March 4.

LePage, Democrats blame each other for hold-up of voter-approved bonds

By Christopher Cousins on March 13, 2014, at 6:39 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage traded barbs Thursday about who’s to blame for the hold-up of voter-approved bonds. LePage has refused to issue the bonds until the Legislature replenishes the state’s budget stabilization fund, which lawmakers from both parties agreed to use $21 million from last …
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew speaks in October to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee on Riverview Psychiatric Center funding.

DHHS names interim director for Riverview Psychiatric Center

By Christopher Cousins on March 12, 2014, at 4:40 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew has appointed Robert “Jay” Harper, a veteran of state government, as the acting superintendent at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. The appointment comes on the heels of Mayhew terminating former Riverview Superintendent Mary Louise McEwen earlier this month …
Gov. Paul LePage

Senate upholds LePage vetoes of hearing aid, fireworks bills

By Christopher Cousins on March 12, 2014, at 3:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Senate followed Gov. Paul LePage’s lead Wednesday when it voted to sustain two vetoes he issued earlier this week. One of the bills would have restricted the use of fireworks and the other would have required private insurance companies to cover hearing aids for people up …
POLL QUESTION
The Woodland Pulp mill is located in Baileyville along the St. Croix River.

Mill to add 2 tissue machines, 80 jobs in Washington County

By Tim Cox and Christopher Cousins on March 12, 2014, at 10:40 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Woodland Pulp will expand its pulp mill in Baileyville into paper manufacturing, an investment that will add 80 new jobs in one of Maine’s poorest counties, Gov. Paul LePage announced Wednesday. The company will install two tissue machines at the plant, a capital investment of about $120 …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)
Gov. Paul LePage makes a pitch to shrink the power of Maine's labor unions while offering details about his "Open for Business zones" proposal at a press conference in Brunswick on Monday.

LePage vetoes new restrictions on fireworks, bill to provide insurance coverage for hearing aids

on March 11, 2014, at 5:52 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage has used a veto message to call the contents of a bill to restrict the use of fireworks, which passed in the House and Senate last month, “heavy-handed regulations that are far from reasonable.” LePage also vetoed a bill that as of January 2015 would require private …
ANALYSIS
Gov. Paul LePage makes a pitch to shrink the power of Maine's labor unions while offering details about his Open for Business zones proposal at a press conference in Brunswick on Monday.

Was LePage’s jobs proposal sincere or a union-busting ‘election stunt’?

By Christopher Cousins on March 11, 2014, at 5:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to create Open for Business zones to attract economic development and jobs to Maine likely would breeze through the Legislature if it weren’t for the fact that it includes a “right-to-work” provision that there is little appetite for in the State House. Right-to-work …
 
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