Articles by Scott Thistle

 
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 …
Rep. Mark Dion

Maine House passes bill to add drug agents but LePage threatens veto

By Scott Thistle on April 09, 2014, at 6:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The House of Representatives on Wednesday, with broad bipartisan support, passed a scaled-back version of a Gov. Paul LePage bill that would add drug enforcement agents, judges and prosecutors to the state’s payroll in an effort to bring under control the state’s growing opiate drug problems. The …
Rep. Peggy Rotundo

Fix for Maine’s Medicaid waitlist unlikely to sway opposition to program expansion

By Scott Thistle on April 09, 2014, at 4:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — An early morning fix to the state’s 2015 budget shortfall Wednesday, which includes a way to drastically reduce the numbers on a state waitlist for Medicaid coverage, likely had little effect on the debate about whether Maine should expand its low-income health care program, MaineCare. On Wednesday, …
POLL QUESTION
Kevin Concannon addresses reporters in this July 2012 file photo.

Feds seek more information about state plan to include photos on Maine EBT cards

By Scott Thistle on April 08, 2014, at 1:09 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The federal government is asking Gov. Paul LePage’s administration to provide details on its efforts to pilot a new electronic benefits transfer card system that would include a recipient’s photo. The state uses EBT cards to dispense a variety of public assistance, including the largely federally funded …
Sen. Tom Saviello

Bill that would make Maine towns inventory roads hits roadblock in House

By Scott Thistle on April 05, 2014, at 5:30 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House Friday, by a 50-92 vote, rejected a bill that would have pushed towns to take a close look at abandoned roads and rights-of-way. Battling with landowners over rights and responsibilities regarding abandoned roads or public rights-of-way has become a regular problem for towns across …
Rep. Richard Farnsworth, D-Portland

Maine House waters down or rejects LePage welfare, EBT card reforms

By Scott Thistle on April 03, 2014, at 8:31 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — In a series of party-line votes Thursday, the Maine House sent a slate of bills aimed at changing or reforming Maine’s welfare system and how state-issued Electronic Benefit Transfer cards could be used to the Senate. Four bills, offered by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, were either watered …
A sign along the Maine Turnpike tells motorists that Exit 75 leads to Lost Valley and Sugarloaf ski areas.

Deal struck to preserve some Maine highway signs, force purchase of others

By Scott Thistle on April 03, 2014, at 6:21 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Legislature’s Transportation Committee Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would help align the state’s interstate landscape with federal rules by moving and removing dozens of signs. The committee also made several changes to the bill in order to allow several signs to stay on the Maine …
Gov. Paul LePage

Despite his objections, Gov. LePage lets budget fix take effect without his signature

By Scott Thistle on April 03, 2014, at 2:36 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The political battle over how to best fill about a $40 million shortfall in the state’s 2014 fiscal budget came to an unceremonious end early Thursday when Republican Gov. Paul LePage allowed a bill filling the gap to pass into law without his signature. LePage had opposed …
Voters turn out at the Brewer Auditorium in November in Brewer to cast their votes.

Maine Legislature rejects bill to dump Electoral College for presidential elections

By Scott Thistle on April 03, 2014, at 2:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers in the state’s House of Representatives Thursday rejected a bill that would have put Maine among a group of states seeking to move away from the Electoral College and to popular voting system for electing a U.S. president. The bill, LD 511, was defeated with 85 …
A sign along the Maine Turnpike tells motorists that Exit 75 leads to Lost Valley and Sugarloaf ski areas.

Turnpike signs bill stalls in Legislature

By Scott Thistle on April 03, 2014, at 6:57 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill meant to tidy up Maine’s interstate highway system by removing or moving about 81 directional and informational signs hit a speed bump in the Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Lawmakers voted to table the legislation, LD 1831, which is the result of a nearly yearlong …
The State House in Augusta

Bill to remove dozens of interstate signs sparks outcry

By Scott Thistle on April 01, 2014, at 6:12 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine – “Don’t take our signs. Don’t move our signs,” was the message to the Maine Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Tuesday during a public hearing on a bill that proposes to remove 68 signs and move 13 others that point to towns, colleges, parks, ski areas and other recreational …
People cast ballots in Brewer on Tuesday Nov. 4, 2008.

Maine Senate gives early nod to bill to dump Electoral College in favor of directly electing president

By Scott Thistle on April 01, 2014, at 1:54 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — By a 1-vote margin the Maine Senate Tuesday supported a bill that would move the Pine Tree State away from the Electoral College system when it comes to selecting a winning presidential candidate here. In an initial 17-16 vote the Senate approved LD 511, a bill that …

Bill to kill controversial Maine welfare contract unlikely to become law

By Scott Thistle on March 31, 2014, at 7:26 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine -– To muster the votes needed to pass a bill that would nullify a contract between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Alexander Group, Democrats in the Maine House Monday removed an emergency preamble on the measure that would have required two-thirds support. However, the …
Mary Mayhew

DHHS commissioner highlights $13.9 million in out-of-state EBT use

By Scott Thistle on March 31, 2014, at 3:26 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage’s administration Monday renewed their calls for the Maine Legislature to enact a trio of bills meant to limit the use of state-issued Electronic Benefit Transfer cards. Flanked by Republicans in favor of the bills, LePage’s Commissioner of the Department of Health …
Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, offers an amendment on a concealed carry bill in the Senate on Friday.

Maine Senate rejects NRA-backed amendment to allow concealed handguns without permits

By Scott Thistle on March 28, 2014, at 2:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The state Senate on Friday shot down a Republican effort to make it legal to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in Maine. The Senate voted 19-14, largely along party lines, to indefinitely postpone an amendment to a bill that creates a statewide database for concealed …

Maine legislative panel endorses measure to ban public officials from voting at meetings by phone or device

By Scott Thistle on March 28, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Phoning it in may no longer be an option for elected and appointed officials, especially when it comes to voting, if a bill before the Maine Legislature is approved. On Thursday, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee approved a measure designed to ban most public officials from participating in …
Democratic members of the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee, from left, Sen. Colleen Lachowicz, D-Waterville; Rep. Dick Farnsworth, D-Portland; Rep. Ann Dorney, D-Norridgewock; Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook; Rep. Peter Stuckey, D-Portland; Ana Hicks, chief of staff for the Speaker of the House; and Rep. Matt Peterson, D-Rumford, center, hold a "corner caucus" Wednesday to discuss how they will proceed on one of four bills offered by Republican Gov. Paul LePage aimed at curbing the misuse of electronic benefit transfer cards that are distributed to welfare recipients.

Legislative committee rejects LePage EBT reforms

By Scott Thistle on March 26, 2014, at 11:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — On mostly party-line votes, a package of bills offered by Republican Gov. Paul LePage meant to reel in misuse and abuse of state-issued Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and the cash welfare funds loaded on them were rejected by the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday. …
 
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