State House News

Rep. Archie Verow, D-Brewer

Committee rejects bill that would halt I-395, Route 9 connector

By Nick McCrea on Feb. 17, 2015, at 1:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature’s transportation committee on Tuesday voted 8-1 against a bill seeking to prevent the state from pursuing the construction of a controversial road to connect Interstate 395 and Route 9. Rep. Arthur “Archie” Verow, D-Brewer, was the lone vote in favor of the bill, which he …
The State House in Augusta stands lighted against the night sky in this 2014 BDN file photo.

With its first bill passed what can we expect from this Maine Legislature?

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 13, 2015, at 6:35 p.m.
AUGUSTA | It sounds bad: After having enacted a single bill since convening six weeks ago, most of the Legislature is in recess through next week. The one enacted bill, LD 138, was probably the most urgent of the session because it affected Mainers’ 2014 tax filings and tax …
State Rep. Ryan Tipping-Spitz, D-Orono.

Seniors vs. business? Line drawn in Maine House debate on tax bill

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 12, 2015, at 5:51 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A Democratic attempt to alter Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to align Maine tax rules with federal ones suffered a quick death Thursday amid assertions that its supporters were attempting to pit Maine’s senior citizens against businesses. Rep. Ryan Tipping-Spitz, D-Orono, who penned the amendment, said he was …
Andrew Kiezulas and Niki Curtis have been sober for 2½ years. Kiezulas leads the state chapter of Youth in Recovery, and Curtis is a peer support supervisor at the Portland Recovery Community Center.

Opioid use on the rise as LePage proposes changes to treatment

By David Harry on Feb. 11, 2015, at 6:14 p.m.
PORTLAND | When he was a boy, Andrew Kiezulas did not like going to the doctor. “I would run from the doctor’s office. I hated needles,” Kiezulas, 33, said during a recent gathering at the Portland Recovery Community Center at 468 Forest Ave. But even if he never grew …
Sunny, a 23-month old yellow labrador retriever, waits with anticipation for his handler Tom Balderacchi of Vermont to give him his command to retrieve.

Lawmakers consider naming breed as ‘state dog’

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 11, 2015, at 4:45 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Wednesday was “Dog Day Afternoon” in Augusta for lawmakers considering whether to make the Labrador retriever Maine’s official pooch. “Here we are, with the most anticipated bill of the month,” Sen. Michael Willette, R-Mapleton, said as he gaveled a roomful of dog lovers to order, launching a …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters about his two-year budget proposal Friday, Jan. 3, 2015, inside the Cabinet Room at the State House in Augusta.

Maine summer camp owners say LePage plan to tax nonprofits will put some out of business

By Staff Report, Sun Journal on Feb. 10, 2015, at 7:22 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The snow may be piled high, but dozens of Maine summer camps already are sounding the alarm about a proposal by Republican Gov. Paul LePage that would force many to pay property taxes. LePage’s two-year budget proposal includes a recommendation that the state change its law to …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks in Portland recently.

LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver’

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 10, 2015, at 6:52 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Legislative Republicans and Gov. Paul LePage crafted a plan to prevent the closure of several county jails in the coming months. Democrats say the plan gives the governor unchecked power and would be unnecessary if LePage followed current law and ended his refusal to nominate members to …
Gov. Paul LePage

‘It’s complex’: LePage kicks off tour to sell $6.57 billion budget to Maine people

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 10, 2015, at 4:30 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage is hitting the road to pitch his two-year budget — and the monumental tax reform policy it contains — directly to Maine people. During a Waterville Rotary Club meeting Monday, LePage said he would be discussing his budget plan with people throughout Maine at …
An Eastern Maine Homecare worker holds a pill organizer during a home visit in 2013. A new proposal in the Maine Legislature would allow terminally ill patients to add experimental medicine to their drug regimens.

Maine lawmaker wants to give terminal patients the right to try experimental drugs

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 09, 2015, at 3:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine could become one of a growing number of states to allow terminally ill patients the right to try experimental drugs before they’re approved by federal regulators for public use. A bill by state Rep. Thomas Longstaff, D-Waterville, would make Maine the latest state to pass such …
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2015 State of the State address on Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

Was LePage right to suggest immigrants pose a public health threat in Maine?

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 08, 2015, at 5:45 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The consensus among public health experts regarding Gov. Paul LePage’s comments linking illegal immigrants to the spread of infectious diseases during his State of the State address on Tuesday is that they have seen no data to back up his claims. Officials from the LePage administration have …
Anne Beebe-Center

Rockland area Democrats tap Beebe-Center for special House race

By Stephen Betts on Feb. 07, 2015, at 3:04 p.m.
Former Knox County Commissioner Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center will be the Democratic candidate for the special election next month to fill the House seat vacated by former Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson. Eighty Democrats from Rockland and Owls Head turned out Saturday afternoon to nominate a candidate for the …
Republican Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta listens to testimony in a committee over the contested Senate District 25 race on Dec. 9, 2014, at the State House in Augusta.

Document-shredding scandal spurs Maine lawmakers to seek uniform ethics code for state workers

By Scott Thistle on Feb. 05, 2015, at 11:03 a.m.
AUGUSTA | An effort to create a unified ethics code of conduct for state workers following a scandal in which workers at the Maine Center for Disease Control destroyed public documents in 2013 took its first tentative steps toward a law change Wednesday. The document destruction in question came …
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2015 State of the State address Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

Not all nonprofits are created equal in LePage’s plan to tax them

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 04, 2015, at 3:27 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Nearly a month after Gov. Paul LePage released his 2016-17 biennial budget proposal, lawmakers, lobbyists and the public are still working to understand some of the provisions it contains. One issue that continues to cause confusion is LePage’s proposal to allow municipalities to collect property taxes from …
The Three Ring Binder project received $25.4 million in federal stimulus money. High-capacity fiber-optic cables were designed create a broadband superhighway across western, northern and Down East Maine, bringing high-speed Internet to more than 100 rural communities that have few or no access options.

Dover-Foxcroft lawmaker drafts bills to increase access to high-speed Internet in Piscataquis County

By Mike Lange, Piscataquis Observer on Feb. 04, 2015, at 1:21 p.m.
When the Three Ring Binder project designed to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas was completed in 2012, many thought it would be up and running in most locations by now. But it isn’t — at least not in Piscataquis County. The $26 million project included 1,100 …
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2015 State of the State address Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

What LePage said and didn’t say in the State of the State

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 04, 2015, at 7:26 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage continued what has been an impassioned and articulate defense of his sweeping tax reform proposal Tuesday during his State of the State address, solidifying the notion that cutting taxes is how he hopes to define his second-term legacy. If he pulls it off — …
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2015 State of the State address Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

LePage uses State of the State to pitch tax reform

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 03, 2015, at 8:11 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday evening pitched a vision for “prosperity, not poverty” during his annual State of the State address. The adage is quickly becoming the overarching message of LePage’s second term. For the governor, the path to prosperity is paved with the hundreds of pages …
Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor

Bipartisanship out the window during one of first legislative committee votes of the session

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 03, 2015, at 6:21 p.m.
AUGUSTA | In an early sign that a divided Legislature will have trouble agreeing on what in the past were routine matters, the Taxation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday for a bill that in previous years has caused little disagreement. The 7-6 vote in favor of LD 138 …
Matthew Moore of Forecastle Tattoo applies a tattoo on Sara Weeks of Bangor at his shop on State Street in Bangor in June 2013.

Brewer lawmaker wants to make it clear: You need to be 18 to ink

By Kathryn Skelton on Jan. 31, 2015, at 8:38 a.m.
State Rep. Arthur Verow saw too many tattoos on high school basketball players who looked too young to have them, which sent him digging into state rules. He discovered it is in Maine regulations — but not state law — that a licensed tattoo artist must be at least 18 …
 Gov. Paul Lepage makes a point during his address at his second inaugural in Augusta on Jan. 7, 2015.

LePage expected to use State of the State to gain support for his vision, including from Democrats

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 30, 2015, at 4:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage, emboldened by what he sees as a voter mandate, has some explaining to do Tuesday, when he delivers his annual State of the State speech. First and foremost, he will need to continue to justify his biennial budget proposal and the sweeping tax reform …
Sen. Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport

‘A lot of us do not have anything to tax but people’: Maine town officials urge legislators not to cut state aid

By Scott Thistle on Jan. 30, 2015, at 8:47 a.m.
AUGUSTA | In the first of what will likely be many long discussions, top State House leaders met Thursday with representatives from Maine’s nearly 500 cities and towns. Members of the Maine Municipal Association’s executive committee, made up of town and city officials from across the state, told lawmakers …
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