Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto

State House Reporter

 
THE POINT
Commissioner Mary Mayhew speaks at the opening of the new regional home for state Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor offices in South Portland on Jan. 5.

With no apparent shortfall, LePage uses health and human services budget as agent of change

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 23, 2015, at 1:16 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Despite accounting for about half of the governor’s proposed $6.3 billion two-year spending plan — and including provisions that immediately sparked controversy two years ago — the new budget proposal for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has earned few remarks in Augusta. That’s partly …
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage sheds light on plan to strip Legislature of power to elect attorney general, treasurer

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 23, 2015, at 11:29 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage will propose a constitutional amendment to take the power to appoint the attorney general and state treasurer away from the Legislature and give that authority to either the governor or voters. LePage said Friday he would submit his proposal to the Legislature sometime after …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Can libertarians, progressives join forces at State House?

on Jan. 23, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Human trafficking will return to the fore today in Augusta, as Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, and Gov. Paul LePage hold a media event at that State House Hall of Flags to proclaim the week of Jan. 25 as Human Trafficking Awareness Week  As a member in the House last year, Volk was thrust …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage talks domestic violence with ‘Down East Dickering’ stars

on Jan. 21, 2015, at 5:57 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday met with two stars of “Down East Dickering” to talk about a future collaboration on events to raise money for charitable groups that work with victims of domestic violence.
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: LePage not expecting much from Obama’s State of the Union

on Jan. 20, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where lawmakers have returned after the three-day weekend.  This week, members of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee begin their deeper look at LePage’s $6.3 billion two-year budget. While we’ve heard the broad strokes of the governor’s plan, senior LePage administration officials this week will brief the committee about the specific …
Gov. Paul LePage chats with scheduled speakers for the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast at the Muskie Center in Waterville. Clockwise from left are Len LeGrand, president of the Waterville Rotary Club; the Rev. Effie McClain of the Oakland-Sidney United Methodist Church; Maine House Rep. John Picchiotti, R-Fairfield; LePage; and Gerard Queally, CEO and President of Spectrum Generations.

MLK ‘brought sense’ to civil rights movement, LePage says at Waterville event

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 19, 2015, at 11:24 a.m.
It was a homecoming for Gov. Paul LePage, who on Monday made the half-hour journey north from Augusta to commemorate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy with residents who know him simply as “Paul.” LePage was mayor of Waterville from 2003 until he took office …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Democrats mark death of longtime lawmaker, Angus goes abroad

on Jan. 19, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Waterville, where Gov. Paul LePage will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at a breakfast with the Waterville Rotary Club and Spectrum Generations, a community and service organization for senior and disabled citizens.  State offices are closed today for the holiday, and many officials will be attending MLK …
Philip Retberg (right) and his son Benjamin, 13, milk their cows at Quill's End Farm in Penobscot on Friday evening.  The cows produce about 20 gallons of milk each daily, which the Retbergs sell through a milk buying club.

Maine food activists say they’re optimistic despite legal, legislative defeats

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 16, 2015, at 7:15 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Despite being rebuked by lawmakers, the governor and the state’s Supreme Court, advocates for more local control over food policies are gearing up to bring their fight to Augusta once again. “It has not taken the wind out of our sails,” said Heather Retberg, owner of Quill’s …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage, Poliquin will attend anti-abortion rally for anniversary of Roe v. Wade

on Jan. 16, 2015, at 12:13 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin will both attend an annual anti-abortion rally Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Phthalate rule weakened, plus a plan to split Maine in two

on Jan. 16, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta where lawmakers … are elsewhere, actually.  Many of them are back at home, as session doesn’t open again until Tuesday. But some — one busload, actually — are embarking on a tour, criss-crossing the state to get a view of businesses, health care facilities, schools, energy projects …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Phthalate rule weakened, plus a plan to split Maine in two

on Jan. 16, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta where lawmakers … are elsewhere, actually.  Many of them are back at home, as session doesn’t open again until Tuesday. But some — one busload, actually — are embarking on a tour, criss-crossing the state to get a view of businesses, health care facilities, schools, energy projects …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Hospitals lobbyist says LePage budget provision is a ‘sick tax’ in disguise

on Jan. 14, 2015, at 5:27 p.m.
A lobbyist for Maine’s hospitals is not too pleased with the portion of Gov. Paul LePage’s two-year budget proposal that would allow municipalities to tax nonprofit property — including private colleges, parochial schools and hospitals. The colleges have said the proposal would place an “undue economic burden” on students. Now, the hospitals …
John Fitzsimmons

Facing pressure from LePage, Maine community colleges president resigns

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 14, 2015, at 2:18 p.m.
AUGUSTA | John Fitzsimmons, longtime president of Maine’s community college system, has resigned. The resignation comes after several days of pressure from Gov. Paul LePage, who criticized the community colleges president for being unavailable and too slow to enact the governor’s agenda on higher education. Despite the public support …
POLL QUESTION
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

With AG’s approval, LePage administration to start drug testing some welfare applicants

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 14, 2015, at 12:24 p.m.
AUGUSTA | After changes were made to protect the state from potential lawsuits, Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is moving forward with a plan to drug test some welfare applicants as a condition of eligibility. The new rule, approved recently by Attorney General Janet Mills, requires applicants convicted of a …
House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick

Maine Democrats pin economic agenda on increased wages, college affordability

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 13, 2015, at 6:56 p.m.
AUGUSTA | “Good jobs, strong wages.” As the curtain opens on the 127th Legislature, that’s the tagline for what Democrats say will be their agenda for the next two years. To get there, Democratic lawmakers will propose a series of bills aimed at workforce development, job training and college …
Gov. Paul LePage explains his biennial budget proposal to reporters on Friday, January 9, 2015, at the State House in Augusta.

LePage’s tax reform plan is a game-changer — that’s why no one is talking about it

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 13, 2015, at 6:18 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Despite its far-reaching implications, lawmakers’ reactions to Gov. Paul LePage’s ambitious tax reform package continue to remain mute. As part of his two-year, $6.3 billion budget, LePage is proposing a reduction in the state’s individual and corporate income taxes and the elimination of the estate tax. At …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Maine GOP breaks into the cheeky bumper sticker business

on Jan. 13, 2015, at 10:26 a.m.
In a fundraising email sent today, the Maine GOP told potential donors that in exchange for a $25 contribution, they could get a “limited edition” bumper sticker that proudly displays an affinity for the governor. Its design is strikingly familiar …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Expect construction traffic! Plus, the politics of tax reform

on Jan. 13, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from the state’s capital city, where yesterday’s seemingly endless snowfall has abated just in time for the 74th annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show to kick off at the Augusta Civic Center. Gov. Paul LePage is scheduled to attend the opening day of the show, hosted by the state’s agriculture department. …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Expect construction traffic! Plus, the politics of tax reform

on Jan. 13, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from the state’s capital city, where yesterday’s seemingly endless snowfall has abated just in time for the 74th annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show to kick off at the Augusta Civic Center. Gov. Paul LePage is scheduled to attend the opening day of the show, hosted by the state’s agriculture department. …
John Fitzsimmons

LePage: Trustees will ‘feel the wrath’ if community college president not ousted

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 12, 2015, at 7:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage on Monday reiterated his call for the resignation of Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons, saying the system’s trustees would “feel the wrath” if they didn’t take steps to ensure Fitzsimmons’ nearly 25-year tenure came to an end. Speaking with reporters Monday after …
 
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