State House News

Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner

Maine GOP: No new spending unless lower wage hike option makes ballot

By Christopher Cousins on March 30, 2016, at 7:27 p.m.
If Democrats support an alternate minimum wage proposal to the one that will appear on the November ballot, maybe the GOP will come to the negotiating table.
Members of the Chester L. Briggs American Legion Post 47 Color Guard are seen in this file photo.

Bid to use liquor profits to fund Maine veterans programs stumbles

By Scott Thistle on March 30, 2016, at 4:38 p.m.
Legislation designed to increase funding for the state’s Bureau of Veterans Services hit a political brick wall.
A small pile of a substance believed to be heroin sits on a scale at the state drug testing lab in Augusta in this August 2015 file photo.

Harsher penalties for drug dealers likely to become Maine law

By Christopher Cousins on March 30, 2016, at 3:01 p.m.
A bill designed to fight drug addiction by doubling sentences for importing heroin and other opiates into Maine is moving toward passage in the Legislature.
Rep. Arthur “Archie” Verow, D-Brewer, and Husson University student Adais Viruet-Torres of Brewer.

Penobscot County scholarship recipient honored at State House

on March 30, 2016, at 2:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Rep. Arthur “Archie” Verow, D-Brewer, welcomed Husson University student Adais Viruet-Torres of Brewer to the State House Wednesday. Viruet-Torres is the Penobscot County recipient of the 2016 Legislative Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to college students for outstanding academic achievement and community service. This post was contributed by a …
An electric car charges up on solar power at a media event in Portland, May 29, 2014.

Energy panel’s dissent darkens prospects for Maine solar power bill

By Darren Fishell on March 30, 2016, at 1:33 p.m.
A proposal supported by utilities, Maine solar installers and environmental groups that would change how small-scale solar generators get paid has a narrow road to passage after a three-way divide in a committee vote Tuesday.
Cannabis buds are shown on first day of legal recreational marijuana sales beginning at midnight in Portland, Oregon, Oct. 1, 2015

Judge controls fate of Maine marijuana legalization vote

By Michael Shepherd on March 30, 2016, at 1:10 p.m.
Proponents of a marijuana legalization ballot initiative disqualified by Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told a judge Wednesday that the decision relied on an “unconstitutionally vague” legal interpretation.
Harvey Lembo of Rockland said he bought a gun after his apartment at the Park Street Apartments in Rockland was broken into for the fourth time.

Maine lawmakers OK bill allowing subsidized housing tenants to own guns

By Stephen Betts on March 30, 2016, at 11:32 a.m.
The bill arose out of an incident last year, when 67-year-old Harvey Lembo of Rockland shot and wounded a man he said had broken into his residence to steal his prescription painkillers.
After a hike to the summit of The Owl carrying the tribute stone of Sgt. Daniel F. J. Cunningham of Lewiston, who died in Iraq in 2004, Jared Golden of Lewiston returns to Twin Pine Camps, to present the stone to family and friends of the fallen Maine heroes honored by The Summit Project on May 24, 2014.

Maine lawmaker proposes tapping liquor sales to fund veterans aid

By Scott Thistle on March 30, 2016, at 10:43 a.m.
A bill before the Legislature proposes using about $550,000 from the $46 million profit the state makes selling $144 million worth of alcohol each year to help Maine’s 140,000 veterans.

Democrat Deschambault named winner of Senate 32

By Tammy Wells, The Journal Tribune on March 30, 2016, at 6:22 a.m.
Democrat Susan Deschambault is the winner in Maine Senate District 32, besting her Republican opponent, Stephen Martin.
Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston

Maine Democrats share plan for spending $43.8M on passed bills

By Michael Shepherd on March 29, 2016, at 6:25 p.m.
Democrats in the Maine Legislature proposed spending $43.8 million on already-approved bills as Republicans stood divided on spending anything at all.

Maine lawmakers poised to let FairPoint end mandatory landline service

By Darren Fishell on March 29, 2016, at 9:05 a.m.
PORTLAND | A bill to phase out the requirement that FairPoint Communications provide price-controlled landline telephone service in some of the state’s most populous areas won approval Monday from a legislative committee. The vote sends to the full Legislature the question of whether to advance the state’s deregulation of …
Lee Picker, 75, speaks at a news conference in Brunswick on Wednesday where Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, announced a series of proposals designed to build more affordable housing for seniors and otherwise help them remain in their homes as they age.

House passes effort to force LePage to issue housing bond

By Michael Shepherd on March 28, 2016, at 1:01 p.m.
The $15 million bond was backed by 69 percent of voters in November, but LePage’s office says he’s holding it up to develop a plan around senior housing.
Sue Sapiel, customer service representative at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Family Independence, prints out a new EBT card that includes a photo on April 28, 2014.

Expect all talk, no action on Maine welfare reform

By Michael Shepherd on March 28, 2016, at 6:24 a.m.
It’s nothing new: Welfare reform measures have died over similar divisions on penalties.
Hannah Semler, Gleaning Coordinator at Healthy Acadia, and volunteer crew at Four Season Farm in Harborside. In an ongoing fight over food safety regulations, the Maine House has sent back to the Senate for another vote a resolution proposing to amend the state Constitution to give Mainers certain food rights.

Food fight: Why the debate over ‘food sovereignty’ continues

By Abigail Curtis on March 28, 2016, at 6:13 a.m.
Perhaps the only thing certain about the food sovereignty is its ability to generate passionate opinions in both supporters and opponents.

Law change could make Maine vanity plates more risque

By Scott Thistle on March 27, 2016, at 3:11 p.m.
A long list of variations on the spelling of the F-bomb, now banned, as well as “HOTDAM,” “HOTS,” “IDIOT,” “IDIOTS” and “MCDUDU” could be approved under the law change.
Zombies stagger down Wharf Street in Portland Tuesday while on a pub crawl in the Old Port.

Zombie legislation: Why many passed bills never become law in Maine

By Christopher Cousins on March 27, 2016, at 11:21 a.m.
The Special Appropriations Table is where legislators decide which bills to fund. Some call it the place where good bills go to die.
A protester dressed as a bee plays dead during a rally in favor of GMO labeling on Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Portland's Monument Square.

GMO labeling advocates make new push in Maine

By Kathleen Pierce on March 25, 2016, at 2 p.m.
People who want to require that all genetically modified food in Maine be labeled as such cheered a House vote Thursday on a bill that would let Maine voters decide the issue. But two major hurdles stand between the proposal and November’s ballot.
Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook

Democrats rip DHHS for welfare program spending changes

By Scott Thistle on March 25, 2016, at 10:56 a.m.
Lawmakers split along party lines repeatedly Thursday as they debated and voted on a series of bills aimed at reforming Maine’s welfare system.
Gov. Paul LePage discusses his plans for fighting drug abuse in Maine, March 11, 2014.

LePage offers plan to keep drug users out of jail

By Christopher Cousins on March 24, 2016, at 10:20 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage has proposed a network of new county-run community substance abuse programs, along with creating a dedicated fund to support them.
Rep. Justin Chenette, D-Saco.

Maine House supports emergency funds for county jails

By A.J. Higgins, MPBN on March 23, 2016, at 5:50 p.m.
Backers of the measure said failure to pass the bill would shift costs to local property taxpayers.