Robert Long

Robert Long

Senior Editor, Southern Maine


Even more at ease

By Robert Long on April 15, 2016, at 11:42 a.m.
The Senate came back into session to pay tribute to the late George Nixon Clark and to offer condolences to his daughter, Sen. Kimberly Rosen of Bucksport. Immediately after that, the Senate recessed, as Democrats and Republicans left the chamber to meet in party caucuses. The Senate will be out …

‘At ease’ — expect to hear that a lot today

By Robert Long on April 15, 2016, at 11:37 a.m.
After a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, a couple of quick salutations and quick action on one bill, the Senate recessed temporarily as leaders met. Expect this syncopated pace to continue throughout the day, as the Senate and House “pass papers.” await reviews of amendments and revised bill language and …

The Senate gets started

By Robert Long on April 15, 2016, at 11:19 a.m.
The Maine Senate started work just after 11 a.m. Friday. At about the same time, the budget-writing Appropriations Committee planned to hold a public work session on a proposed bond package. The committee also planned to discuss bills in funding limbo on the Special Appropriations Table and details of a …

‘My preference is to be done tomorrow night’

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 9:28 p.m.
In response to a question from Rep. Sheldon Hanington of Lincoln, House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, said it was his goal to finish the session’s work on Friday. That means a long day is likely Friday, as Eves explained that he hopes the House will debate a bonds package …

Senate is done for the night

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 9:13 p.m.
After a failed attempt to pass an emergency measure that would have raised the minimum wage before November’s ballot question on a proposal to do so in a way that would eliminate the tip credit and incrementally hike the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, the Senate has …

GOP senators’ latest proposal would not be competing measure

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 6:37 p.m.
Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, is now introducing an amendment that would trigger an immediate minimum wage increase effective July 1. The amendment would not eliminate the tip credit, as the citizen initiative would. It also would not include a component that would index future minimum wage increases to inflation. The …

Senate is back in session, taking up minimum wage alternative

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 6:24 p.m.
The Senate convened shortly after 6 p.m. First order of business is a vote on LD 1695, which proposes to raise incrementally the statewide minimum wage to $10 per hour by 2020. This seems to be the latest effort to place on the ballot a more business-friendly alternative to the …

LePage cancels Newcastle town hall forum

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 5:48 p.m.
Reporters who showed up to cover Gov. Paul LePage’s town hall forum in Newcastle on Thursday evening were told that the event has been canceled. Meanwhile, the House and Senate remain recessed as conversations and arm-twisting go on throughout the State House and its environs.

The House is done for the afternoon

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 5:20 p.m.
The House of Representatives recessed shortly before 5 p.m., with Speaker Pro Tem Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan explaining that the chamber had completed the business it could accomplish and would await further action from the Senate, which was due to come back into session early Thursday evening. During the afternoon …

The House is in session

By Robert Long on April 14, 2016, at 2:34 p.m.
The Maine House of Representatives convened shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday. The House was originally scheduled to come in at 1:30 p.m., but the concept of “legislative time” — which does not relate directly to clocks or other forms of scheduling — is fully in play during these waning days …

A long line of line-item vetoes

By Robert Long on April 13, 2016, at 8:40 p.m.
The House is taking up 10 line-item vetoes issued by Gov. Paul LePage. It only takes a majority vote to override a line-item veto, unlike vetoes of legislation, which require two-third majorities in each chamber. Despite the fact that the number of House members is dwindling, they are making short …

Motivation to adjourn?

By Robert Long on April 13, 2016, at 8:09 p.m.
This is utterly unrelated to Maine House and Senate deliberations, but the National Football League just announced that it would announce its regular-season schedule beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday.

No surprises in early phase of Medicaid debate

By Robert Long on April 13, 2016, at 7:24 p.m.
The first 30 minutes of the debate about Medicaid expansion in the Maine House followed an expected path. Republicans based their opposition on unpredictable costs and enrollment projections. Rep. Deb Sanderson, a Republican from Chelsea who has been one of the most vocal opponents of expansion, went through a list …

Medicaid debate moves to the House

By Robert Long on April 13, 2016, at 6:48 p.m.
The House of Representatives reconvened at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. After dealing with some quick veto votes, including sustaining LD 1565, the House has begun debating a proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility in Maine. The Senate passed the measure, sponsored by Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, with an 18-17 vote. The …

Senate is done until Thursday

By Robert Long on April 13, 2016, at 6:44 p.m.
After chewing through line-item vetoes, spending authorizations and legislation with minimal debate, the Maine Senate has adjourned until Thursday. Watch for more detailed discussion of the line-item vetoes in an upcoming post.

The Senate starts work for the day

By Robert Long on April 13, 2016, at 5:13 p.m.
The Maine Senate convened shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday. Early work included overriding line-item vetoes from Republican Gov. Paul LePage and votes to authorize funding for approved bills that had been sitting in limbo on the so-called Special Appropriations Table. Those bills still face an uncertain fate as LePage has …

By Robert Long on April 12, 2016, at 10:54 a.m.
The Maine Senate voted unanimously to remove emergency tag from LD1579, which would advance $500,000 to the Maine Clean Election Fund to ensure that there is enough money in the state’s public campaign financing coffers to cover expenses in the 2016 legislative elections. The Senate then voted 26-9 to send …

By Robert Long on April 12, 2016, at 10:19 a.m.
The House opened its session Tuesday morning with a yodeled version of the National Anthem. Jewel Clark, daughter of Yodeling Slim Clark, did the honors.

Good night and good luck

By Robert Long on March 06, 2016, at 9 p.m.
A full story on the Maine Democratic Party caucuses is now posted on our website. Party leaders say 46,000 people participated, which is a record. Sen. Bernie Sanders is the projected winner. We will continue to update that story with new results. Watch for a delegate breakdown in the near …

By Robert Long on March 06, 2016, at 8:14 p.m.
Early unofficial reports give Sanders about 64 percent of the total vote in Maine’s Democratic caucuses. We continue to await confirmation and details from party officials.