State House News

A "Senate Gallery Open" sign can be seen in Augusta in this June 2015 file photo.

The stakes are high in 10 Maine Senate primaries

By Michael Shepherd on May 30, 2016, at 9:13 a.m.
The 10 Maine Senate nominations to be decided on June 14 will either alter the campaign calculus for determining control of the next Senate or pick runaway general election favorites.
Gov. Paul LePage answers questions from the audience during a town hall meeting at  William S. Cohen School in Bangor on May 25, 2016.

LePage administration makes it easier for veterans to get work licenses

By Dawn Gagnon on May 29, 2016, at 1:49 p.m.
Laws signed by the governor in 2012 and 2013 have made it quicker and easier for veterans with relevant military training and experience to obtain occupational licensing.
Gov. Paul LePage answers questions from the third graders at the Brewer Community School on April 2, 2016, following the signing of LD 1609. The bill made the American lobster the official crustacean of Maine.

Can Maine make schools better by raising income tax on high earners?

By Christopher Cousins on May 29, 2016, at 8 a.m.
Voters in November will be asked again whether they want state funding for education to reach 55 percent. This time the referendum identifies a funding source.
Debra Plowman is seen at the Maine Republican Party convention in Augusta, May 6, 2012.

LePage taps another temp, continues refusal to nominate education commissioner

By Christopher Cousins on May 26, 2016, at 3:01 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage continued to sidestep the law regarding legislative confirmation of top administrators Tuesday when he appointed Debra Plowman of Hampden as “temporary deputy education commissioner.”
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage joins Texas lawsuit against Obama’s decree on transgender rights

By Christopher Cousins on May 25, 2016, at 6:14 p.m.
The governor’s spokesman Peter Steele said Wednesday afternoon that Maine is not a plaintiff in the suit but that the governor has signed on to it “pro se,” which means on his own personal behalf.
Mike Thibodeau

Legislative panel to review Maine wardens’ poaching sting

By Steve Mistler, MPBN on May 20, 2016, at 3 p.m.
The hearing follows a report that raised questions about the 2014 poaching raid, the conduct of an undercover agent and whether the operation was fueled by the presence of a reality TV crew.
Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew participates in an event in South Portland last year.

Mayhew backtracks on outsourcing Maine’s Meals on Wheels

By Anthony Brino on May 19, 2016, at 1:04 p.m.
The Portland Press Herald reported that a sting in Allagash involved an undercover warden who shot a deer illegally in order to win the trust of a suspected poacher.

Lawmakers want to meet with department leader after poaching sting report

By A.J. Higgins, MPBN on May 09, 2016, at 7:33 p.m.
The Portland Press Herald reported that the sting in Allagash involved an undercover warden who shot a deer illegally in order to win the trust of a suspected poacher.
Maine Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton.

With session’s end come gains and losses for Maine lawmakers

By Scott Thistle on May 01, 2016, at 3:06 p.m.
Maine lawmakers were licking their wounds and notching their belts, taking stock of what they did and didn’t get done for their constituents while finishing up the second half of the 127th legislative session Friday.
Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (from left), Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond and Assistant Senate Minority Leader Dawn Hill talk  on the last day of the 127th Legislature on Friday at the State House.

Legislature overrides 20 of LePage’s 33 vetoes on final day

By Christopher Cousins on April 29, 2016, at 8:49 p.m.
As the 127th Legislature took what are likely to be its final votes and adjourned until next year, political observers diverted their gaze from the present to the future.
Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls

Lawmaker’s call to stop recording Maine legislative committees thwarted

By Scott Thistle on April 28, 2016, at 5:59 p.m.
In what could be a blow to public access to Maine’s State House proceedings, Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, is questioning whether legislative committee meetings should continue to be recorded and archived.

How will LePage’s latest vetoes fare on Friday?

By Michael Shepherd on April 28, 2016, at 8:57 a.m.
Legislators will return to the State House on Friday to vote on overriding at least 33 vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage, with bills at stake that would expand access to an heroin overdose antidote and reform Maine’s solar industry.
Gov. Paul LePage celebrates while taking the stage at his second inaugural in Augusta on Jan. 7, 2015. Speaker of the House Mark Eves applauds.

LePage leaves school reform group as Eves calls for sanctions

By Christopher Cousins on April 26, 2016, at 5:50 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday that he will withdraw the executive branch completely from participating in a commission aimed at reforming Maine’s public schools funding formula because he is “fed up” with media coverage of his statements and actions as governor.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

AG: By meeting in private, Maine education task force violated law

By Mal Leary on April 26, 2016, at 7:59 a.m.
“This entire commission is about public education,” Rep. Sara Gideon said. “Every member of the public should be able to weigh in should they want to.”
The Blaine House in Augusta.

What LePage’s school reform group discussed in private

By Christopher Cousins on April 25, 2016, at 5:16 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage and his education chief want every student in Maine to reach grade-level proficiency in reading by third grade.
Inmate jumpsuits are seen at the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor in 2015.

LePage vetoes bill to bail out county jails

Bangor Daily News on April 22, 2016, at 6:09 p.m.
The one-year funding proposal represents a short-term fix for cash-strapped county jails.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage says Maine will lose up to 1,500 jobs this summer

By Christopher Cousins on April 19, 2016, at 8:53 p.m.
LePage’s comments came about two weeks after claimed a southern Maine company was about to shed 900 jobs.
The State House

Besides killing bills, what did Maine legislators accomplish in 2016?

By Christopher Cousins on April 16, 2016, at 1:31 p.m.
What a difference a year makes.
Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston

Compromise moves state welfare abuse bill forward

By Scott Thistle on April 16, 2016, at 10:57 a.m.
“This bill finally gives Mainers what they’ve wanted,” Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, said.
Gov. Paul LePage flips a switch symbolically marking the re-start of the ReEnergy biomass power plant on the Realty Road in Ashland in October 2014. Joining him are (from left) Mark Thibodeau, facility manager; an unidentified ReEnergy representative; and U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

$13.5 million biomass bailout passes Maine Legislature

By Michael Shepherd on April 15, 2016, at 10:02 p.m.
It’s a bid to keep Maine’s four biomass power plants running after two others closed this year, citing low energy prices.