Articles by Scott Thistle

Eliot Cutler

In governor’s race, candidates’ economic plans differ on minimum wage

By Scott Thistle on May 14, 2014, at 8:34 a.m.
LEWISTON, Maine — Everybody knows the saying, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That infamous phrase, coined by political strategist James Carville as he helped Bill Clinton become president in 1992, is as pertinent as ever. The candidates running for governor certainly know it’s true, but how they would go about fixing …
Rhode Island welfare consultant Gary Alexander (left) and Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew prepare Tuesday, Jan. 14, to answer questions from the Health and Human Services Committee at the Cross Office Building in Augusta.

Despite paying welfare consultant more than $500,000, Maine has received only one section of 5-part study

By Scott Thistle on May 13, 2014, at 2:20 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The final portion of a controversial five-part study of the state’s welfare system that’s costing Maine taxpayers $925,200 is due Thursday but, according to state officials, only the first part of the study — due Dec. 1 — has been turned in. Maine has paid the Rhode …

DHHS official leaves department, former conservative think tank official promoted to job

By Scott Thistle on May 05, 2014, at 5:53 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The chief operating officer for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is leaving his post to return to the private sector, according a spokesman for the agency According to DHHS spokesman John Martins, William Boeschenstein Jr. of Cape Elizabeth, who served with DHHS since March …
Rep. Peggy Rotundo

In last-minute twist, lawmakers vote to kill late bills by LePage

By Scott Thistle on May 02, 2014, at 6:36 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee voted unanimously late Thursday to kill a pair of bills that Republican Gov. Paul LePage proposed in the final days of the 126th Legislature’s second session. The decision came after the committee received word from LePage, just as it was preparing …
House Majority Leader Seth Berry

Lawmakers disagree about procedure, sustain LePage veto of family planning bill

By Scott Thistle on May 01, 2014, at 7:49 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After four Republicans changed their votes to support Gov. Paul LePage, the Maine House on Thursday sustained the governor’s veto of a bill that would have expanded access to birth control and cervical cancer screenings for up to 13,700 low-income women. The reason? Republicans said they were …
Gov. Paul LePage

With last-minute bill, LePage renews war on drugs with plan to boost enforcement, fund more treatment

By Scott Thistle on April 30, 2014, at 3:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — In a last-minute move, Gov. Paul LePage is offering up two bills he wants the Legislature to consider when it reconvenes Thursday to take up a long list of veto override votes. One of the bills offered by LePage would fund a proposed expansion of the state’s …
Rep. Mike Michaud

Michaud, Cutler raise more than $1 million for governor’s race, LePage anticipates doing more with less

By Scott Thistle on April 29, 2014, at 7:44 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Campaign war chests of two of the top three candidates for governor in Maine have broken the $1 million mark. The campaign for Democrat Mike Michaud, Maine’s 2nd District representative, said its candidate had collected $1.4 million as of the April 29 deadline, while independent candidate Eliot …
Sen. Angus King

As King takes aim at campaign ‘dark money,’ Virginia group prods Maine to lift donor contribution limits

By Scott Thistle on April 29, 2014, at 5:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — An effort by U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, to examine the impact of “dark money” on state and federal elections drew praise Tuesday from clean elections advocates in Maine. But just a day before King was set to chair a hearing of the U.S. Senate’s Rules Committee …
State Sen. Emily Cain, D-Orono, speaks during a forum with state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, at USM's Lewiston-Auburn College on Thursday. The two are in a primary race to be their party's candidate to replace Maine's 2nd District U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the fall election. Cain and Jackson will square off in a June primary.

Democratic 2nd District candidates Emily Cain and Troy Jackson agree on issues, offer contrasting styles at Lewiston forum

By Scott Thistle on April 25, 2014, at 8:18 a.m.
LEWISTON, Maine — Democrats vying to be their party’s candidate in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District discussed a range of issues Thursday during a forum at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College. State Sens. Emily Cain, D-Orono, and Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, …
Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Maine awards new contracts to 3 Medicaid rides brokers; firm at center of controversy loses out

By Scott Thistle on April 24, 2014, at 12:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — One of the companies at the center of a problematic transition for the state’s nonemergency Medicaid ride program will not have its contract renewed, according to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Coordinated Transportation Solutions, an Ansonia, Conn.-based company that also employs about 45 call …
Paul LePage

Activists decry LePage veto of bill that would have stripped ‘trade secrets’ protection from industrial waste control plans

By Scott Thistle on April 23, 2014, at 4:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would have opened records on industrial hazardous waste and mercury emission control plans was vetoed by Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Earth Day. Under current law the plans are protected as “trade secrets.” The bill, LD 1821, also would have upheld the current requirement …
Olympia Snowe

Olympia Snowe’s PAC gives money to Collins and Raye, likely to donate to congressional candidates from outside Maine

By Scott Thistle on April 22, 2014, at 7:26 p.m.
LEWISTON, Maine — When she retired in 2012, U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican, rolled about $500,000 of her last campaign war chest into Olympia’s List, a multi-candidate political action committee that’s meant to help moderates and those who seek common ground in politics. But so far the PAC has …
A sign along the Maine Turnpike states that the Lewiston Sports Complex is accessible from Exit 80.  The sign is one of about 90 that will be coming down under a new law passed by the Legislature this month.

LePage signs bill to reduce number of signs on Maine highways

By Scott Thistle on April 17, 2014, at 3:43 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill that relocates or removes dozens of signs advertising schools, beaches, ski slopes and other attractions from Maine’s two interstate highways. LePage signed LD 1831 on Wednesday. The measure aims to protect an estimated $170 million in federal highway …
Rep. Sara Gideon

Maine Legislature sends to ‘amenable’ LePage a bill to broaden access to overdose antidote

By Scott Thistle on April 16, 2014, at 3:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — After unanimous votes Wednesday in both chambers, the Maine Legislature sent Gov. Paul LePage a bill that broadens access to a medication meant to counter deadly overdoses of opiate-based drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin. Slight changes to the bill that originated in the Senate on Wednesday …
Sen. Doug Thomas

Senate upholds LePage veto of solar energy bill

By Scott Thistle on April 16, 2014, at 2:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Senate on Wednesday pulled the blinds on a bill that would have allowed homeowners to receive a rebate for installing solar panels by sustaining Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the measure. LePage vetoed the bill, which also created a rebate program for low-income families that install, …
Governor Paul LePage

Legislature passes $32 million budget fix; LePage threatens veto

By Scott Thistle on April 15, 2014, at 1:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — On Tuesday, the Maine Legislature easily passed a $32 million state budget fix for 2015. The House passed the bill on a vote of 136-8, and the Senate followed suit soon after by passing the bill 35-0. Lawmakers wanted to put the bill on Gov. Paul LePage’s …
State Rep. Roger Reed, R-Carmel, left, shares a laugh with State Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett, center, and state Rep. Tom Winsor, R-Norway. Millett, of Waterford, is retiring from his post and was lauded in speeches on the House Floor Monday for his 55 years of service to the state as both government official and state lawmaker. Joining him were members of his family and his wife Barbara, who also received accolades for her years of support.

Finance Commissioner Sawin Millett honored as he prepares to retire

By Scott Thistle on April 15, 2014, at 5:27 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Both Democrats and Republicans stood on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday to speak fondly about H. Sawin Millett Jr. Millett, 76, of Waterford, is the retiring Commissioner of the Department of Administration and Financial Services under Republican Gov. Paul LePage, but he was also …
State Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington, speaks in the Maine House of Representatives Monday urging his colleagues to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that boosts a solar and heat-pump rebate program by adding a surcharge on all those who purchase electricity in Maine. The House voted 105 -41, in favor of overriding LePage's veto. The state Senate must also vote on the issue.

Maine House overrides LePage veto of solar power rebate bill

By Scott Thistle on April 14, 2014, at 3:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives voted Monday to override a Gov. Paul LePage veto of a bill would fund a solar and heat pump rebate program by adding a 0.011 cents per kilowatt-hour tax on residential and commercial electric bills. The new fee will cost the average homeowner …
State Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, speaks Wednesday during a press conference where Democrats were urging Republican Gov. Paul LePage to sign into law a bill that would help the state collect taxes from multinational corporations that shelter funds in accounts in foreign countries. Goode said the measure could bring in up to $10 million during the state's 2-year budget cycle.

Maine Democrats urge LePage to sign offshore tax haven bill

By Scott Thistle on April 10, 2014, at 7:25 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers in the Legislature’s Democratic majority were urging Republican Gov. Paul LePage to not veto a tax reform bill that they say closes loopholes in state law that allow multinational corporations to evade Maine income taxes. House majority leader Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, along with a cohort of …
A sign along the Maine Turnpike tells motorists that Exit 75 leads to Lost Valley and Sugarloaf ski areas.

House approves bill to reduce signs on Maine highways

By Scott Thistle on April 10, 2014, at 1:45 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — With overwhelming support, the Maine House Thursday voted to support a bill that revamps the state’s laws for signs along its interstate highways. On an initial vote of 120-23, LD 1831 passed despite concerns from some lawmakers who said the bill would lead to the removal of …
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