Articles by Eric Russell

 
Robert Nutting

House speaker tells Democrats to put aside ‘political games’ on veto

By Eric Russell on April 20, 2012, at 5:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine House Speaker Robert Nutting on Friday responded to a Freedom of Access Act request from Democrats, saying his office conducted an “anonymous poll” to ask whether GOP House members wanted to return this week to address Gov. Paul LePage’s line-item vetoes. Of members polled, 53 said …

Budget committee resumes work next week — will bipartisanship continue?

By Eric Russell on April 20, 2012, at 5:28 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage put general assistance in the spotlight when he used his line-item veto power last Saturday to eliminate some of the program’s funding in the 2013 budget. When the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee goes back to work next week, general assistance no doubt will be on …
POLL QUESTION
Hans Bruns

Did the state violate the Constitution by kicking Aroostook County man off MaineCare?

By Eric Russell on April 19, 2012, at 1:22 p.m.
PORTLAND | At the end of the year, Fort Fairfield resident Hans Bruns will be eligible to regain the MaineCare benefits he lost last October. He could be dead by then. Bruns, 65, was diagnosed earlier this year with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. He needs …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks in Waterville in September 2010.

Fight over LePage’s line-item vetoes not over

By Eric Russell on April 18, 2012, at 7:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Without a precedent, there is no playbook for how to move forward after a line-item veto. That has led to confusion, disagreement and political calculations by lawmakers in the days since the governor used his veto pen to reject two lines in the supplemental budget. Maine voters …
Gov. Paul LePage

Republicans say they won’t reconvene to vote on LePage’s line-item vetoes

By Eric Russell on April 17, 2012, at 7:40 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Republican leaders in the Maine House and Senate said late Tuesday that despite pressure from Democrats and others they will not reconvene this week to vote on two line-item vetoes issued by Gov. Paul LePage. For the first time in Maine’s history, LePage decided on Saturday to …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks in Bangor in April 2012.

Legislature faces decision this week on LePage’s line-item vetoes

By Eric Russell on April 17, 2012, at 5:19 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Top Democrats in the Maine House and Senate sent a letter early Tuesday to their Republican counterparts urging them to call the Legislature back this week to vote on line-item vetoes issued by Gov. Paul LePage. In their letter, Senate Minority Leader Barry Hobbins of Saco and …
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage speaks in Rockland in March 2012.

LePage uses line-item veto on general assistance budget item, Legislature may be forced to reconvene

By Eric Russell on April 14, 2012, at 1:04 p.m.
AUGUSTA | It appears Gov. Paul LePage is not giving up on a battle with the Legislature over his supplemental budget package. LePage on Saturday issued what are known as line-item vetoes on two parts of the budget that passed overwhelmingly through the House and Senate on Friday. It’s …

Legislature defers action on controversial ‘takings’ bill before recess

By Eric Russell on April 14, 2012, at 12:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature failed to act late Friday on a contentious bill that seeks to rewrite Maine’s land-use rules to allow property owners to sue the state if any new regulations lead to a 50 percent loss in property value. The House had narrowly approved LD 1810 early …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage’s top energy bill dies after House and Senate fail to reach agreement

By Eric Russell on April 14, 2012, at 11:33 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature dealt a blow to Gov. Paul LePage’s top energy priority late Friday and into Saturday morning when the House and Senate failed to reach agreement and effectively killed the bill. LD 1863, one of four energy bills submitted this session by LePage, sought to lift …

Senate joins House to approve workers compensation overhaul

By Eric Russell on April 13, 2012, at 10:06 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine Senate voted late Friday to approve a measure that overhauls the state’s workers’ compensation system, which supporters say will cut down fraud but opponents feel will unfairly hurt injured workers. The 19-16 strict party-line vote followed another spirited debate as the 125th Legislature’s second regular …
Gov. Paul LePage

State budget wins final passage, goes to LePage’s desk

By Eric Russell on April 13, 2012, at 7:24 p.m.
AUGUSTA | In quick action Friday, the Maine House and Senate voted to finally enact a supplemental budget package for the current biennium which Gov. Paul LePage has said he will not sign. The House vote of 105-30 was above the two-thirds majority needed so that the budget goes …

Special appropriations table holds fate of bills that have financial impact

By Eric Russell on April 13, 2012, at 3:38 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The 125th Legislature was expected to spend most of Friday clearing the last few bills from its schedule, but even after that happens, a slate of more than 50 pieces of legislation still awaits final approval by lawmakers. Those bills are sitting in the legislative purgatory known …
POLL QUESTION

Bill aimed at teen drivers wins Maine Legislature’s approval

By Eric Russell on April 13, 2012, at 3:22 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature has approved a bill aimed at creating stronger deterrents for teenage drivers who break the law, despite concerns from lawmakers that the measure was rushed and that it creates penalties that are too strict. The Senate voted 25-10 after significant debate late Thursday evening. The …
CAPITOL INCITE (blog)

Snowe’s former campaign manager now leading AG Schneider’s Senate bid

on April 13, 2012, at 12:05 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — More than a month ago, after U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe abruptly announced that she would not seek reelection, many wondered whether she would endorse one of the many Republicans who hope to succeed her. She gave watchers an early signal by sharing her email voter list to Maine …

House goes against Senate vote on LePage energy bill

By Eric Russell on April 13, 2012, at 11:50 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine House voted Friday to accept the majority committee report of one of the governor’s energy bills, reversing what happened on Thursday in the Senate and throwing the measure’s status into uncertainty. LD 1863, one of four energy bills submitted this session by Gov. Paul LePage, …
Gov. Paul LePage

Legislature gives initial approval to supplemental budget; LePage says he won’t sign

By Eric Russell on April 12, 2012, at 8:44 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine House and Senate voted overwhelmingly late Thursday to approve a supplemental budget package for the current biennial budget. The budget contains a total of $31 million in new spending for 2012 and 2013, which is offset by $41.8 million in general fund savings. Much of …

Maine Senate passes renewable power bill

By Eric Russell on April 12, 2012, at 6:18 p.m.
AUGUSTA | In a straight party-line vote, the Maine Senate on Thursday approved a bill that lifts the 100-megawatt cap for qualifying renewable power generation such as hydropower. Supporters have said the bill would allow Maine to buy low-cost energy that meets the renewable energy standard, thereby reducing energy …

Maine House passes workers’ compensation overhaul

By Eric Russell on April 12, 2012, at 5:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A bill to overhaul Maine’s workers’ compensation system that has been in the works for months became the latest measure to divide Republicans and Democrats in Augusta. The majority report of LD 1913 passed 75-71 along sharp party lines after considerable debate on Thursday in the Maine …
CAPITOL INCITE (blog)
Gov. Paul LePage speaks in Rockland in March 2012.

LePage says he won’t sign supplemental budget that was approved by Appropriations Committee

on April 12, 2012, at 3:27 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Shortly before the supplemental budget bill was scheduled to come up in the Maine House on Thursday, Gov. Paul LePage sent out a statement. Here it is: “I cannot put my signature on a bill that largely ignores welfare reform. I have major concerns about the overspending …
CAPITOL INCITE (blog)

Late request to add 100 slots for Passamaquoddy Tribe under consideration by legislature

on April 12, 2012, at 12:46 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Buoyed by the Legislature’s approval this week of a bill that allows slot machines at veterans organizations and fraternal clubs, Rep. Madonna Soctomah of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Washington County submitted a late request Thursday for consideration by the House. Soctomah’s order asks the Legislature’s Veterans and …
 
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