Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Poll finds 57 percent of Mainers support keeping abortion legal

on May 29, 2014, at 1:17 p.m.
New poll data released Thursday by Planned Parenthood indicates that a majority of Mainers are supportive of women’s rights to make choices about issues ranging from personal health care options to abortion and would support political candidates with the same beliefs. The poll, commissioned by the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund …
Former state senator Richard R. Rosen

LePage names former lawmaker Richard Rosen as Maine’s interim finance commissioner

By Christopher Cousins on May 29, 2014, at 11:47 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage announced Thursday that he has appointed former Republican lawmaker Richard Rosen as acting finance commissioner effective on Sunday, one day after the retirement of longtime state government veteran Sawin Millett Jr. Rosen, who represented portions of Hancock and Penobscot counties in the Maine House …
CAMPAIGN 2014
Kevin Raye

Raye and Poliquin get ‘down and dirty’ in Maine 2nd Congressional District GOP primary

By Christopher Cousins on May 28, 2014, at 12:17 p.m.
NEWPORT, Maine — Eric Kinney gassed up his truck at the intersection Newport-area locals call the Crossroads of Maine and shook his head in dismay. His disgust wasn’t about high gas prices or the heavy traffic streaming along pockmarked Route 2 or nearby Interstate 95, or the surrounding central Maine …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Former top LePage aide denies claim by Steve Woods that he is gearing up for Senate race

on May 27, 2014, at 3:58 p.m.
Democrat Steve Woods of Yarmouth, who is running in his party’s primary for the open Maine Senate District 25 seat, said Tuesday that Republican Michael Cianchette, the former chief legal counsel for Gov. Paul LePage, will jump into the race following the June 10 primary election. Cianchette says it’s not …
POLL QUESTION
Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt discusses speed limit changes on Maine's interstate highway system during a press conference Tuesday in Augusta.

Higher speed limits OK’d on select stretches of interstate highway system

By Christopher Cousins on May 27, 2014, at 12:20 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt announced Tuesday that he has approved raising speed limits on portions of the state’s interstate highways, including Interstate 295, Interstate 95, Interstate 395 and Route 1, by five miles per hour. Motorists traveling on those routes Tuesday might have already noticed Department of …
POLL QUESTION
Fatuma Hussein, director of United Somali Women of Maine, tells reporters on Friday, January 10, 2014 in Augusta how a proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services to end general assistance to immigrants would devastate the immigrant community.

Maine attorney general rejects proposal by LePage administration to bar General Assistance for immigrants

By Christopher Cousins on May 23, 2014, at 11:56 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has ruled that a proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to bar immigrants and asylum seekers from receiving General Assistance is illegal and unconstitutional. Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew reacted with dismay and said she will continue to pursue implementation of …
POLL QUESTION
Gary Alexander presents his Medicaid expansion study on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, at the Department of Health and Human Services office building in Augusta.

Author of report from which Alexander Group lifted text: ‘It’s literally two pages of text’

By Christopher Cousins on May 21, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A portion of a report by the Alexander Group, which Gov. Paul LePage’s administration commissioned as part of its welfare reform efforts, was copied from work done by a liberal Washington, D.C., think tank. That revelation caused the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday to …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

UPDATE: Poliquin frames Raye as ‘liberal’ in new television attack ad; Raye responds

on May 20, 2014, at 9:56 a.m.
Bruce Poliquin has lashed out at Kevin Raye, his opponent in the 2nd Congressional District Republican Primary, for what is being billed as the first attack ad of election season. The primary is June 10. Raye responded on Tuesday with an attack ad of his own. Poliquin, the state’s former …
Rhode Island welfare consultant Gary Alexander presents his Medicaid expansion feasibility study to lawmakers on the Health and Human Services Committee, including (from left) Reps. Carol McElwee, R-Caribou, and Ann Dorney, D-Norridgewock, and Sens. James Hamper, R-Oxford, and Colleen Lachowicz, D-Waterville, in January.

Alexander Group revives plan to cap local assistance programs; towns wary of cost shift

By Christopher Cousins on May 17, 2014, at 7:19 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — New recommendations floated Thursday by the Alexander Group for changes to Maine’s statewide General Assistance system are causing a sense of deja vu among municipal officials who say the ideas aren’t new and are geared toward the simple goal of ending the state’s financial support of the …

Maine receives 15% less income tax revenue, but forecasters expected it

By Christopher Cousins on May 15, 2014, at 4:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Many states, particularly along the Eastern Seaboard, are entering budget crisis mode as a result of eroding income tax collections. Maine is seeing a similar trend, but no crisis is expected here. Michael Allen, director of research and econometrics for Maine Revenue Services, said the state’s income …
Preschool teacher Cindy Ambrose teaches students at Little Angels Day Care and Preschool Wednesday afternoon in Bangor.

Maine hires 16 new investigators in effort to improve safety, oversight of child care centers

By Christopher Cousins on May 14, 2014, at 5:50 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The state’s child care licensing office has used federal grant funding to hire 16 new investigators in an effort to comply with federal safety guidelines. Simultaneously, according to Kenneth Albert, director of the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, Maine is moving toward a more efficient system …
Priscilla Kerbrat, who lives in a Volunteers of America homeless shelter for veterans in Saco, has recently completed coursework to become a certified nurse's aide with the help of VOA and other organizations.

‘How do we reach out to our women veterans?’: Female service members not seeking needed services

By Christopher Cousins on May 13, 2014, at 7:15 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — If you’ve served in the military, that makes you a veteran, right? Right, but far too many vets in Maine — particularly women — either don’t know or are ignoring their veteran status and all of the support and benefits that come with it. That was part …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Michaud receives endorsement from labor union that doesn’t always support Democrats

on May 12, 2014, at 3:59 p.m.
Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud gained an endorsement to become Maine’s next governor Monday from the Maine State Troopers Association, which represents approximately 280 troopers, detectives and sergeants from the Maine State Police. While most people agree that labor union endorsements often go to Democrats, this one is more interesting because …
Governor Paul LePage

State blocking use of EBT cards at liquor store, casino and strip club ATMs under 2-year-old law

By Christopher Cousins on May 12, 2014, at 1:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Department of Health and Human Services has begun blocking the use of EBT cards at ATMs in or near certain establishments under the provisions of a two-year-old law that makes the transactions illegal. The LePage administration said Monday that DHHS has already blocked EBT card use …
CAMPAIGN 2014 & ANALYSIS
Gov. Paul LePage

Spoiling for a fight — or just spoiling? Three-way governor’s race puts focus on Maine

By Christopher Cousins on May 11, 2014, at 5:50 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine voters in November will make history by either electing the nation’s first openly gay governor, electing its only independent governor or re-electing a Republican who is seen as one of the most vulnerable and volatile political leaders in the United States. Less than six months before …
Superior Court Justice Jeffrey Hjelm

LePage nominates Hjelm to Maine’s high court, Stokes to Superior Court

By Christopher Cousins on May 07, 2014, at 1:58 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday nominated a judge with 22 years of experience to serve on the state’s highest court and the state’s top criminal prosecutor — and mayor of Augusta — to become a Superior Court judge. LePage announced Wednesday his nominations of Knox County Superior …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

National Republican group says Maine Senate prime for a flip to GOP control

on May 06, 2014, at 6:21 p.m.
There’s no question that Maine open 2nd Congressional District seat, which is being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor, is attracting a lot of national attention, along with which comes money and other resources. As it turns out, there is also high-level attention on the …

Maine charter school commission chooses not to reconsider virtual school’s application

By Christopher Cousins on May 06, 2014, at 2:19 p.m.
Commissioner Shelley Reed said she believes officials from Maine Virtual Academy violated Robert’s Rules with an email that was sent to the entire commission, urging them to take the application up again. “I almost put in the realm of unethical behavior,” said Reed.

Maine virtual charter school organization seeks reconsideration of failed application

By Christopher Cousins on May 05, 2014, at 3:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The fate of a virtual public charter school whose application failed in March lies in the hands of two members of the Maine Charter School Commission who voted against it. According to commission Chairwoman Jana Lapoint, Maine Virtual Academy is seeking a second vote on its application …
ANALYSIS
Gov. Paul LePage

GOP support for LePage splinters on Legislature’s ‘Veto Day’

By Christopher Cousins on May 02, 2014, at 5:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The unity that Maine Republicans touted at last week’s convention splintered a bit Thursday, when GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in overriding 15 of Gov. Paul LePage’s vetoes. With GOP lawmakers’ support, LePage won key victories when his latest two vetoes of Medicaid expansion — along with more …
 
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