State House News

Sen. Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport

GOP: Fixing $36 million typo in energy bill is not so simple

By Christopher Cousins on March 30, 2015, at 5:22 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Republican leaders said Monday that the case of the $36 million-a-year typo isn’t as simple as it seems, because current legislators might not agree with their predecessors who passed the original bill in 2013. “It isn’t as simple as just grabbing a bottle of Wite-Out and inserting …
Marine Cpl. Jacob Campbell of China is hugged by his father,  John, at the Bangor International Airport on Sunday as the Rocky Bay Pipe Band plays bagpipes to welcome the soldier home after a tour of Afghanistan in April 2013.

Lawmaker who served in Iraq says Maine must do more for young veterans

By Scott Thistle on March 26, 2015, at 8:51 a.m.
AUGUSTA | A Lewiston lawmaker and Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan wants Maine to take a hard look at how the state helps veterans who return home after their service. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, said Wednesday that the state’s Bureau of Veterans Services does many …
Lewiston School Superintendent Bill Webster

Maine lawmakers support change to truancy law for young students

By Scott Thistle on March 25, 2015, at 3:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Lawmakers on the Legislature’s Education Committee on Tuesday agreed to change the state’s truancy laws in an effort to help school districts improve attendance for students younger than 7. The bill, LD 311, offered by Sen. Nathan Libby, D-Lewiston, was meant to address concerns from Lewiston Schools …
A statue of Joshua Chamberlain stands sentinel near an entrance to Bowdoin College in Brunswick on Thursday, where he served as president.

Not so fast, Joshua: Chamberlain for King statue swap bill becomes study

By Scott Thistle on March 25, 2015, at 11:53 a.m.
AUGUSTA | A bill aimed at swapping out one of Maine’s two statues in the U.S. Congress’ National Statuary Hall was turned into a measure that would first study the idea. In February, state Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, offered legislation that would have seen Maine replace a statue of …
Rep. Peggy Rotundo

Maine budget writers reject LePage plan for tobacco settlement money

By Scott Thistle on March 24, 2015, at 10:52 a.m.
AUGUSTA | In a bipartisan and unanimous decision the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee beat back a proposed $7.2 million raid on the state’s tobacco settlement funds, currently used for community smoking cessation and prevention programs. The committee instead took about $2.4 million in unspent revenue from the fund to …
Sen. Paul Davis

Bill to return control of Maine jails to counties meets resistance

By Scott Thistle on March 24, 2015, at 10:40 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Lawmakers on Monday said they want more details on a bill that would dissolve the state’s Board of Corrections and return control of county jails to county governments. The bill, LD 186, sponsored by Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville, would see the state continue to fund the 15 …
Rep. Victoria Kornfield, D-Bangor

Lawmakers want more money for schools, but differ on how much

By Christopher Cousins on March 23, 2015, at 6:31 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature’s Education Committee voted Monday to increase funding for public schools over the next two years above the level recommended by Gov. Paul LePage, though Republicans and Democrats on the committee disagreed about the amount. The votes constituted part of the committee’s recommendations on LePage’s $6.57 …
Michael Willette

Maine Senate president rebuffs call by NAACP, Democrats for ethics probe of senator’s anti-Obama posts

By Christopher Cousins on March 20, 2015, at 11:28 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Calls for disciplinary action against Republican Sen. Mike Willette of Presque Isle continued Friday with Senate Democrats and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People calling for an ethics probe. “This is not easy,” said Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the Portland Chapter of the …

Bill urging gun safety programs in Maine schools gets shot down

By Nick McCrea on March 19, 2015, at 6 p.m.
BANGOR | A legislative committee on Thursday voted against a bill that urged gun safety education programs be taught to elementary school students, but stressed that schools are free to set up such programs if they want. The bill, LD 128, would require the state Board of Education to …
Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston

Lewiston senator to help lead Franco-American Day at capitol

By Scott Thistle on March 18, 2015, at 7:14 a.m.
AUGUSTA — A Lewiston lawmaker will play a prominent role Wednesday as the Legislature celebrates Maine’s Franco-American heritage during the 14th Annual Franco-American Day at the Capitol in Augusta. State Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, has been tapped to serve as Senate president for the day, welcoming dignitaries from France and …
Supporters of the Maine People's Alliance gathered in Augusta on Tuesday to protest Gov. Paul LePage's biennial budget proposal, which they said would disproportionately benefit the rich. The crowd of more than 100 delivered fake gold coins to LePage's office, each with their personal budget priority written on it.

Democrats call LePage tax reform plan ‘pot of gold’ for wealthy

By Christopher Cousins on March 17, 2015, at 6:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA | One of the distinguishing features of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s $6.57 billion biennial budget proposal is that neither political party embraced it or wholeheartedly rejected it in the more than two months since he unveiled it. That all changed this week when Maine Revenue Services released an …

Dunlap affirms commitment to open government in Sunshine Week

on March 17, 2015, at 9:25 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — In recognition of Sunshine Week, taking place March 15-21, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is affirming the department’s commitment to open government. “Providing access to government is probably the most critical aspect of any public servant’s calling,” said Dunlap, in a state press release. Sunshine Week is …
Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn

Maine Sen. Brakey wants to let younger people run for Maine Legislature

By Staff Report, Sun Journal on March 17, 2015, at 8:32 a.m.
AUGUSTA | A state senator from Auburn is hoping to lower the minimum age for candidates wanting to serve in the Maine Legislature. Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, offered a bill Monday that would ask voters statewide if they want to lower the minimum age for State House candidates to …
Democrat Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake sits at his desk in the State House. He was first elected to the Maine Legislature 1964.

John Martin pushes to repeal term limits, raise pay for Maine lawmakers

By Christopher Cousins on March 16, 2015, at 6:04 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine lawmakers have been debating term limits for far longer than those limits allow legislators to serve in their current positions. The latest incarnation of that debate — coupled with a call to substantially raise pay for legislators and the governor — inflamed passions at the State …
Revelers watch fireworks on the sand in Old Orchard Beach on Dec. 31, 2013, as temperatures plunged into single digits.

‘You can’t fix stupid’: Maine legislative panel rejects stricter fireworks laws

By Scott Thistle on March 16, 2015, at 4:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Failing to clean up the debris after a private fireworks show could more easily result in a littering fine if a bill approved Monday by the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee becomes law. The measure specifically adds fireworks debris to the state’s littering laws. However, …
Gov. Paul Lepage makes a point during his address at his second inaugural in Augusta on Jan. 7.

Why LePage’s Portland offensive is a stroke of political genius

By Mario Moretto on March 16, 2015, at 5:48 a.m.
For LePage, Portland provides a target and a rhetorical device.
State Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, said Thursday that he'll try to make Maine companies with more than 100 employees disclose the disparity between their CEOs pay and that of their lowest-paid full-time employee. Patrick said it "wasn't right" for CEOs to make up to 38 times what the average Maine worker is paid.

Maine unions aim to raise wages, kill right-to-work bills

By Mario Moretto on March 12, 2015, at 5:51 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Hundreds of labor activists converged Thursday on the State House to lobby lawmakers and stump for their agenda of higher wages and voice their hostility to right-to-work proposals that they believe would weaken unions. Union groups spoke to reporters at the Maine State Cultural Building in front …
Anne Beebe Center

Democrat captures Rockland area House seat

By Stephen Betts on March 10, 2015, at 8:40 p.m.
Democrat Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center has won the special District 93 House seat, a hotly contested race that saw nearly $50,000 spent on the brief campaign. Beebe-Center received 915 votes compared with 770 for Republican James Kalloch. Kalloch fell a little more than 100 votes short of winning …
Derek Langhauser was named interim president of the Maine Community College System on Friday, January 23.

Community college chief: LePage budget proposal will force $10 million in cuts

By Christopher Cousins on March 09, 2015, at 1:13 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Interim Maine Community College System President Derek Langhauser told lawmakers Monday morning the system will have to find up to $10 million in cuts over the next two years or raise tuition to cover cost increases. Gov. Paul LePage’s biennial budget proposal, which is under review by …
Rep. Joel Stetkis, R-Canaan, displays a knife he purchased at a local hardware store on Monday in Augusta. Stetkis said the knife made by Milwaukee Tools is among those that could be deemed illegal by law enforcement under Maine law. Stetkis is seeking to repeal a 1959 law that makes possession of knives that open automatically illegal in Maine.

Bill to repeal Maine switchblade ban gets greenlight from public safety panel

By Mario Moretto on March 09, 2015, at 11:48 a.m.
AUGUSTA | A proposal to repeal the state’s ban on switchblades cleared its first legislative hurdle Monday and is headed for a vote in the Maine House of Representatives. The bill, LD 264, won the unanimous approval of lawmakers on the Public Safety Committee on Monday. Rep. Joel Stetkis, …
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