Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto

State House Reporter

 
Gov.  Paul LePage

LePage bill would void attorney general’s authority over new rules

By Mario Moretto on April 24, 2015, at 5:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage has drafted a bill to strip the attorney general of authority over the rulemaking process used by state agencies to implement laws approved by the Legislature. LePage has criticized judgments by Attorney General Janet Mills that some regulations he wanted were illegal. Rather than …
Anne Haskell, D-Portland.

Bill to ban shackling of pregnant women advances in Maine Legislature

By Mario Moretto on April 24, 2015, at 2:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A measure to ban the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women won the approval of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee on Friday. The bill, LD 1013, would allow for the shackling of pregnant women in Maine’s jails and prisons only in extraordinary circumstances, and would require documentation whenever …

Hillary Clinton kicks off Maine campaign effort

on April 24, 2015, at 11:18 a.m.
Hillary Clinton has hired a veteran Democratic campaign hand to kick off her presidential campaign effort here in Maine. Chuck Quintero of Richmond will serve as Clinton’s “Maine Grassroots Organizer,” for what’s being described as the ramp-up portion of the former U.S. secretary of state’s 2016 presidential bid. Quintero most …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber in Brunswick, where he touted his $6.57 billion biennial state budget proposal in this April 2, 2015, file photo.

LePage pens Earth Day letter to Obama opposing new national park

By Mario Moretto on April 23, 2015, at 5:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA | While proponents continue their efforts to set aside 150,000 acres in northern Maine for a national park and recreation area, Gov. Paul LePage voiced his opposition to the plan in a letter addressed to President Barack Obama. A company called Elliotsville Plantation Inc. wants to donate the …
Sen. Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport.

Maine Republican senators push for constitutional convention to balance US budget

By Mario Moretto on April 23, 2015, at 1:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine Senate began debate Thursday on an effort to join a national movement pushing for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A joint resolution presented by Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, would have Maine appeal to Congress for a Constitutional Convention, at which delegates …
Riviera Hernandez, 5, peeks out of a voting booth while standing with her sister India, 7, as their father, Robert Hernandez, casts his ballot at the Bourque-Lanigan Post 5 American Legion in Waterville. Heavy voter turnout was expected across the state when this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo was taken.

5 reasons 2016 will be a big year for Maine voters

By Mario Moretto on April 23, 2015, at 5:32 a.m.
Two years from now, Maine could be transformed into a state where adults can smoke legal, recreational marijuana and elect their leaders without fear of “wasted votes.” The lowest paid employees would make substantially more than they earn today and will keep more of that money because of the elimination …
Sen. Justin Alfond gives a presentation on the Democrats' budget proposal during a town hall meeting  with Speaker of the House Mark Eves at the Hammond Street Congregational Church in Bangor on Wednesday night.

Democrats step into public arena to fight LePage on tax reform

By Mario Moretto on April 22, 2015, at 9:43 p.m.
BANGOR | Conversations about tax reform — the centerpiece of Gov. Paul LePage’s two-year, $6.57 billion state budget proposal — have dominated political chatter inside Augusta and throughout the state for months. It was early February when LePage took to the road to spread the gospel of tax reform. …
Republican legislative leaders (from left) Assistant House Minority Leader Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester; House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport; Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport; Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon;  and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Andre Cushing, R-Hampden; are shown at a recent news conference in Augusta.

GOP leaders support LePage effort to kill income tax by 2020

By Mario Moretto on April 21, 2015, at 5:31 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The stage is set for a partisan showdown over a plan by Gov. Paul LePage to amend the Maine Constitution to eliminate the income tax by 2020. On Tuesday, LePage revealed that he had filed preliminary paperwork for a bill and had asked top Democrats and Republicans …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Maine Heritage Policy Center luncheon on March 4 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

LePage files bill to eliminate income tax by 2020, gives lawmakers until 5 p.m. to join him

By Mario Moretto on April 21, 2015, at 10:54 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage is drawing a line in the sand on killing Maine’s income tax. In a letter sent to legislative leaders from both parties on Monday, LePage revealed that he’s filed preliminary paperwork on a bill to eliminate the tax by 2020. He’s given leadership until …

Daily Brief: Lawmakers, activists look to clean up Maine’s arsenic-laced water supply

on April 21, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where a broad political coalition is calling for the state to invest in bringing high-speed Internet to Mainers in far-flung regions where connections are slow as a flatland leaf peeper. A bill by House Democratic Whip Sara Gideon of Freeport would expand the state’s role in …
Supporters of raising the minimum wage attend a meeting hosted by Bangor Councilor Joe Baldacci on April 9 in Bangor

LePage seeks to quash local efforts to raise minimum wage

By Mario Moretto on April 20, 2015, at 12:32 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage is promoting a bill to thwart municipal officials in two of Maine’s largest communities from raising the minimum wage for employers within their city limits. LePage’s bill — LD 1361, An Act to Promote Minimum Wage Consistency — faces preliminary action Tuesday in the …

LePage to Connecticut for Northeast governors’ energy talks

on April 20, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from all of Maine, where state government is closed in observance of Patriot’s Day. If you’re not from around here, the holiday on the third Thursday in April may be new to you. Patriot’s Day marks the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, where the “shot …

LePage to Connecticut for Northeast governors’ energy talks

on April 20, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from all of Maine, where state government is closed in observance of Patriot’s Day. If you’re not from around here, the holiday on the third Monday in April may be new to you. Patriot’s Day marks the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, where the “shot …
Maine service centers and tourist destinations such as Old Orchard Beach, shown here in this 2014 BDN file photo, would benefit from a local option sales tax, according to proponents who testified for the initiative Thursday, April 16, 2015, during a Taxation Committee hearing at the State House in Augusta.

Revenue sharing uncertainty clouds debate on local option sales tax

By Mario Moretto on April 16, 2015, at 5:36 p.m.
AUGUSTA | With Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposal creating lots of questions about how Maine’s tax system will look next year, lawmakers on Thursday were presented one more: Should Maine’s municipalities collect their own sales tax, in addition to the one levied by the state? The bill, LD 594, …

Referendum launched for $12 Maine minimum wage by 2020

By Mario Moretto on April 16, 2015, at 11:04 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Mainers could decide at the polls in 2016 whether to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020. The referendum campaign, spearheaded by the Maine AFL-CIO and the progressive Maine People’s Alliance, kicked off Thursday, when the group turned in the signatures necessary to …

Local sales tax, solar energy, casino expansion all on deck today in Augusta

on April 16, 2015, at 7:32 a.m.
Good Thursday morning, readers. The governor’s new tax calculator is live online, while the Taxation Committee takes up a plan today that would allow municipalities to enact their own local sales tax. LD 594 by Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Portland, would allow municipalities to adopt a local sales tax of not …
Susan Gilpin, a retired pastor in the United Church of Christ,  celebrated witha  couple dozen other pastors Wednesday when Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, announced he'd withdraw his 'religious freedom' bill. Gilpin and the others had arrived in Augusta to protest the bill, which they said would have opened the door for discrimination.

Maine senator pulls ‘religious freedom’ bill, clergy rejoice

By Mario Moretto on April 15, 2015, at 3:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine Sen. David Burns will withdraw his ‘religious freedom’ bill because of scrutiny the bill has received and comparisons to the controversial Indiana law that drew national outcry over concerns it allowed for discrimination against gays and lesbians. Burns has said the bill, LD 1340, was about …
Turbines on Heifer Hill that are part of the Bull Hill Wind Project put up by First Wind in Township 16.

Unorganized Territory residents still demand Wind Energy Act fix

By Mario Moretto on April 14, 2015, at 6:32 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The stage is set for lawmakers once again to weigh in on how to address concerns of residents in the Unorganized Territory that a landmark 2008 law stole from them the ability to participate in decisions on wind energy development in their proverbial backyards. Just like they …

Maine ‘religious freedom’ bill backed by entire Senate GOP leadership team

on April 14, 2015, at 11:47 a.m.
Undeterred by national controversy surrounding similar bills passed in Indiana and Arkansas, the proposal has the support the entire Senate GOP leadership team.

Daily Brief: Wind energy permitting controversy blows back through Augusta

on April 14, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where controversy will blow through the halls of the State House Tuesday as several bills regarding the state’s contentious wind energy permitting laws will open for public testimony. Maine’s landmark wind energy act has riled activists and some residents of the Unorganized Territories since its passage …
 
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