Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto

State House Reporter

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

Attorney general, ACLU say attempt to bar General Assistance for immigrants breaks the law

By Mario Moretto on June 11, 2014, at 7:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will begin enforcing a new rule barring state money from being used to fund General Assistance for undocumented immigrants. Attorney General Janet Mills and others called the implementation of the rule illegal, saying that DHHS had not followed the …

Here’s the reason LePage didn’t vote in Tuesday’s primary election

on June 11, 2014, at 4:04 p.m.
It's true the governor didn't vote in yesterday's Republican primary. But there really wasn't much for him to vote for.

Advocates say 33,000 Maine seniors are victimized by elder abuse every year

By Mario Moretto on June 11, 2014, at 1:51 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — No Maine senior is immune from elder abuse. That was the message from Judith Shaw, co-chairwoman of the Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention. She’s also the chief of Maine’s Office of Securities, so when an elderly family member received an email from what appeared to be …

Emily Cain wins Democrats’ 2nd District primary

By Mario Moretto on June 10, 2014, at 9:25 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — State Sen. Emily Cain of Orono will be the Democrats’ candidate for the 2nd Congressional District. Cain easily defeated state Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the rural northern district. With 79 percent of precincts reporting as of 11 p.m., unofficial results showed …
Gov. Paul LePage

Ethics commission fines LePage for missing campaign finance deadlines

By Mario Moretto on June 09, 2014, at 4:27 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Ethics Commission has levied fines against Gov. Paul LePage for missing two campaign finance deadlines in the past week. The penalties, totaling $210, are preliminary, and LePage has the opportunity to request a waiver. Between May 28 and June 9, Maine law required candidates for …
Governor Paul LePage

Democrats balk at LePage’s renewed push for special legislative session

By Mario Moretto on June 09, 2014, at 2:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Friday used a letter to legislative leaders to renew his call for a special session of the Legislature to deal with loose ends he said Democrats left hanging when they adjourned in May. But Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, says majority Democrats …

Bellows to walk 350-mile campaign trail from Houlton to Kittery

By Mario Moretto on June 06, 2014, at 10:11 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is hitting the road. In her bid to unseat popular incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins, Bellows will walk a campaign trail from Houlton to Kittery. The trip will begin July 20 and is expected to last until Aug. 12. Bellows, the …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage agrees to meet with top lawmakers about Alexander Group contract

By Mario Moretto on June 05, 2014, at 12:08 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage will meet legislative leaders to discuss what action the state may take against the Alexander Group in the wake of allegations the Rhode Island consultant plagiarized its recent report on reforming Maine’s welfare system. Peter Steele, the governor’s communications director, said Thursday that LePage …
The main gate to Camp Keyes in Augusta.

What is the future of the Maine National Guard?

By Mario Moretto on June 04, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Recently revealed proposals to drastically change the Maine National Guard may be controversial, but they aren’t without precedent. Back in 1976, pilots in Bangor were chafing at the idea of trading in their fighter planes for flying fuel tankers. The 101st Fighter-Interceptor Group of the Maine Air …
Rhode Island welfare consultant Gary Alexander (left) and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew prepare to answer questions from the Health and Human Services Committee at the Cross Office Building in Augusta in this January 2014 file photo.

Paul Ryan’s budget committee rescinds invitation to Gary Alexander in wake of plagiarism scandal

By Mario Moretto on June 03, 2014, at 4:50 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Accusations of plagiarism, errors and unseemly political motivations swirling around the Alexander Group command headlines in Maine and are now reaching Washington, D.C., where Republican congressional heavyweights are distancing themselves from the controversial consulting group. Republicans on the House Budget Committee, led by the GOP budget guru, …


on June 03, 2014, at 1:55 p.m.
Concerns about plagiarism, errors, and shoddy work swirling around The Alexander Group may command headlines in Maine but, apparently, they have not yet reached the beltway.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage tells Democratic leaders to butt out of Alexander Group contract controversy

By Mario Moretto on June 02, 2014, at 4:15 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Marine — In a strident letter delivered Monday, Republican Gov. Paul LePage told Democratic legislative leaders not to “stick their noses” into executive branch business. The letter was a response to one sent to the governor last week by Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark Eves, …
Approximately 5 grams of heroin, packaged for sale, was seized during a sting in Brunswick in May 2013. Heroin-related deaths are on the rise in Maine.

With 176 deaths in 2013, drug fatalities in Maine continue to rise

By Mario Moretto on June 02, 2014, at 2:19 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Drug overdoses and related abuse killed 176 people in Maine in 2013, marking just the third time in the past 15 years the drug-related death toll has topped 170. According to figures released by the Maine Attorney General’s office on Monday, there were 13 more drug-induced deaths …
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud

LePage, Cutler try to focus blame for VA scandal on Michaud

By Mario Moretto on May 30, 2014, at 5:23 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — It wasn’t long after Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation Friday that U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s political opponents took the opportunity to tie the ongoing scandal at the veterans agency to their Democratic opponent. “For years, Michaud has told the people of Maine he has inside knowledge …

With Cain leading money race, 2nd Congressional District spending tops $1.3 million

on May 30, 2014, at 10:36 a.m.
The four candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the 2nd Congressional District have spent $1.3 million so far -- and we don't even know who the nominees will be.

Obama vs. Collins: The battle over white potatoes, welfare

on May 29, 2014, at 3:16 p.m.
Watch out Susan Collins: Michelle Obama is coming for the Maine potato.
Sen. Emily Cain of Orono and Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash

Democratic congressional primary pits a progressive dealmaker against a blue-collar firebrand

By Mario Moretto on May 29, 2014, at 2:11 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — When Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud announced he’d run for governor, a lot of Democrats toyed with making a run to represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Now the dust has settled, and there are two candidates: Emily Cain of Orono and Troy Jackson of Allagash, vying for …
Marc Mutty, campaign chair of Stand for Marriage Maine, speaks to supporters as they await results in the tight race on Question 1 on Nov. 3, 2009, in Portland, Maine.

Ethics Commission hits anti-gay marriage group with record fine, orders disclosure of donors from ’09 campaign

By Mario Moretto on May 28, 2014, at 9:46 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After a five-year investigation, the Maine Ethics Commission on Wednesday ruled that a national anti-gay marriage group violated campaign finance law during the 2009 marriage referendum and imposed on the group the largest fine in its history. After a nearly three-hour-long and sometimes fiery hearing, the commission …
Brig. Gen. James Campbell, adjutant general of the Maine Army National Guard, speaks with reporters Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

‘We’re going to do what we have to’: Maine National Guard chief breaks silence on 133rd Engineer Battalion

By Mario Moretto on May 27, 2014, at 1:52 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Army National Guard’s top official said Tuesday that a controversial proposal to convert the storied 133rd Engineer Battalion into infantry units is likely the best possible way to adapt to shifting military priorities. But that doesn’t mean he loves the idea. “If the federal government …

LePage says National Guard plans changing ‘as fast as most people change underwear’

on May 23, 2014, at 5:40 p.m.
In an impromptu meeting with reporters Friday, Gov. Paul LePage said contingency plans about how to deal with a potential reduction in Maine Army National Guard forces are “changing as fast as most people change their underwear,” but reiterated his commitment to fight any reduction to Maine’s guard forces. As has …
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