Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 
ANALYSIS
Gov. Paul LePage

Why LePage might not get a budget to veto before shutdown

By Christopher Cousins on June 28, 2017, at 10:37 a.m.
It’s the day of reckoning in Augusta.
A server delivers a tray of food during the lunch rush at Governor's Restaurant in Bangor. Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill into law to restore the tip credit in Maine.

LePage signs bill into law to restore Maine tip credit

By Christopher Cousins on June 27, 2017, at 5:06 p.m.
Passage of the bill means that tipped workers, such as those in the service industry, will resume collecting tips and won’t see their minimum wage increase parallel with the rest of the state.
POLL QUESTION
Maine Gov. Paul LePage points out some energy statistics at a Town Hall meeting at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, April 25.

LePage: ‘I believe we’re going to shut down Friday night’

By Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd, BDN Staff on June 27, 2017, at 8:27 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday it’s worth putting state government into a shutdown to ensure the two-year state budget lawmakers are struggling to pass won’t harm Maine’s economy for the next decade.
ANALYSIS
The State House shines through the the fog in Augusta.

How Maine reached the brink of a government shutdown

By Christopher Cousins on June 23, 2017, at 4:39 p.m.
If Maine does not enact a two-year state budget within the next week, state government will have no money to operate, triggering a shutdown that could leave thousands of workers without pay and abruptly curtail all state services.
A woman smokes a Pall Mall cigarette. A bill that would hike the purchasing age in Maine for tobacco to 21 has been sent to the House of Representatives.

Maine bill would hike age to buy tobacco to 21, but still allow smoking at 18

By Christopher Cousins on June 22, 2017, at 1:51 p.m.
The bill only affects the legal purchasing age.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

$50M bond referendum for research projects approved by Maine voters

By Christopher Cousins on June 21, 2017, at 1:26 p.m.
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has certified that nearly 61 percent of voters in last week’s statewide bond referendum approved the borrowing plan.
POLL QUESTION

Maine Legislature votes to ban cellphone use while driving

By Christopher Cousins on June 20, 2017, at 2:47 p.m.
The bill establishes penalties of $75 for a first offense and fines of up to $500 along with license suspensions for subsequent violations.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage preps for shutdown while predicting it won’t happen

By Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd on June 20, 2017, at 10:16 a.m.
“I’m going to ask the commissioners what are the most vital services to provide in each agency.”
ANALYSIS
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2017 State of the State address at the State House in Augusta.

LePage’s leverage grows with each day Maine gets closer to government shutdown

By Christopher Cousins on June 20, 2017, at 1 a.m.
“Every hour that ticks away, the window to avoid a shutdown closes. I don’t think the citizens of the state of Maine are fully understanding of the ramifications of a shutdown.”
ANALYSIS
The State House in Augusta in a 2015 file photo.

As adjournment looms, Maine lawmakers to vote on slew of vetoes but no budget

By Christopher Cousins on June 19, 2017, at 11:15 a.m.
With the exception of the state biennial budget this Legislature has completed most of its workload.
STATE & CAPITOL

As adjournment looms, Maine lawmakers have plenty of vetoes but no budget

on June 19, 2017, at 8:58 a.m.
Syringes are seen at the SCMR (drug supervised injection site), the first supervised injection room for drug users, in Paris, France, on October 11, 2016.

Maine lawmakers reject call to create drug safe houses

By Christopher Cousins on June 16, 2017, at 4:28 p.m.
A proposal to create two so-called safe houses in Maine where people could take illegal drugs with supervision from medical professionals hit a wall of resistance Friday in the House of Representatives.

Bid to boost high-speed internet in Maine wins wide support but slips into funding limbo

By Christopher Cousins on June 15, 2017, at 5:26 p.m.
The bill, LD 1399, was moved by the Senate to the special appropriations table, where most bills that cost money go and often die when lawmakers don’t fund them. It will now compete with other bills for a limited pool of state dollars.
Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport, listens to his colleagues speak in Augusta, Nov. 7, 2014.

Maine House GOP leader: Special budget panel ‘doomed to fail’

By Christopher Cousins on June 14, 2017, at 9:58 a.m.
The committee that is supposed to find a path out of the budget impasse in Augusta is “too little, too late,” according to House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, who said the panel is “doomed to fail.”
STATE & CAPITOL

House GOP leader: Special Maine budget panel ‘doomed to fail’

on June 14, 2017, at 8:55 a.m.
Senate President Michael Thibodeau (from left), Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and Gov. Paul LePage.

Six lawmakers will decide if Maine gets a budget or a government shutdown

By Christopher Cousins on June 13, 2017, at 6:26 p.m.
In order to give lawmakers time to vote on a new spending plan and the likely veto from LePage, they must pass a budget bill with two-thirds support in both chambers by Friday or very soon thereafter.
Three 50 milliliter bottles of Fireball Whisky lie on a table with a standard pack of cards.

LePage uncorks plan to end the sale of nips in Maine

By Christopher Cousins on June 13, 2017, at 1:22 p.m.
Delisting nips would cost the state and nip producers money.
Senate President Michael Thibodeau (from left), Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and Gov. Paul LePage at the State House in Augusta, Dec. 19, 2016.

LePage calls Legislature ‘the laziest bunch I have ever seen’

By Christopher Cousins on June 13, 2017, at 9:28 a.m.
“I’m really ashamed to be a part of this government,” LePage said.
POLL QUESTION
Maine Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Newport

Maine Senate dumps proposal to hold union-busting votes every two years

By Christopher Cousins on June 12, 2017, at 1:32 p.m.
A bid to let labor union members vote every other year to dissolve their unions failed 20-13 Monday in the Republican-controlled Maine Senate.
STATE & CAPITOL

When does state government shutdown talk become more than a budget negotiating ploy?

on June 09, 2017, at 8:44 a.m.