State House News

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.
Maine Department of Transportation workers clear a ditch along the southbound lane of Route 202 in Hampden on Sept. 11, 2013.

Lawmakers want voters to approve $150M in new borrowing

By Scott Thistle on April 15, 2016, at 5:02 p.m.
The Maine Legislature on Friday appeared poised to pass a pair of large bonding bills that would ask the state’s voters to borrow as much as $150 million in the next budget cycle.
Maine'’s 14 newest troopers received their badges in ceremonies at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro in this April 2016 photo.

Bill to raise Maine state police pay heads to LePage

By Staff Report, Sun Journal on April 15, 2016, at 3:59 p.m.
“This bill gives our law enforcement officers what they deserve.”
 Jared Golden (left), D-Lewiston and Brad Farrin, R-Norridgewock, stand in the State House Hall of Flags on Thursday after a brief bill-signing ceremony with Gov. Paul LePage.

LePage signs bill designed to improve services for Maine veterans

By Scott Thistle on April 14, 2016, at 3:39 p.m.
The legislation provides tuition waivers for Guard members who are in good standing with their units and seeks to strengthen and modernize Maine’s Bureau of Veterans Services.
State Sen. David Burns with Cub Scout Troop 139, Boy Scout Troop 139, and Venture Scout Troop 139.

Sen. David Burns welcomes local Boy Scouts to State House

on April 14, 2016, at 10:01 a.m.
Cannabis is shown at the Home Grown Maine Medical Marijuana Trade Show at the Spectacular Events Center in Bangor in this April 2014 file photo.

State declines appeal, raising ballot hopes for legal pot in Maine

By Michael Shepherd on April 13, 2016, at 5:29 p.m.
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap won’t appeal a judge’s ruling overturning his decision to invalidate a marijuana legalization referendum.
Two Bridges Regional Jail

Plan to bail out Maine jails with $2.4M clears early hurdle

By Scott Thistle on April 11, 2016, at 5:42 p.m.
A bill that would pump about $2.4 million to Maine’s county jails in 2016 easily cleared the House of Representatives.
Pictured from left to right are: Bethany Zell, Elizabeth Zell, and Rep. McElwee.

State Rep. Carol McElwee welcomes Bethany and Elizabeth Zell to the State House

on April 11, 2016, at 11:54 a.m.
Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco.

Lawmakers rebuff LePage’s veto of changes sought by cold case families

By Christopher Cousins on April 11, 2016, at 11:30 a.m.
The Senate voted unanimously Monday morning against Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that extends the statute of limitations for wrongful death civil actions in homicide cases.
Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, talks on the phone in the State House in Augusta, Jan. 14, 2016.

Legislative Democrats rip last-minute GOP spending plan

By Scott Thistle on April 08, 2016, at 7:26 a.m.
An 11th-hour House Republican supplemental budget and conditions attached to it met strong opposition from Democrats in the Maine Legislature late Thursday.

LePage’s national monument ban passes House, Senate

By Christopher Cousins on April 07, 2016, at 9:49 p.m.
The bill would put the property donated to the federal government back in the original owner’s hands if the land was designated a national monument.
The State House in Augusta

Legislators ignore state law by meeting behind closed doors

By Scott Thistle on April 07, 2016, at 8:56 p.m.
The Maine Freedom of Access Act requires elected officials, including the Legislature, to conduct the public’s business in public.
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.

Maine Senate backs welfare reform bill, but penalty conflict looms

By Michael Shepherd on April 07, 2016, at 2:18 p.m.
The Maine Senate endorsed a bill on Thursday that would ban the purchase of lottery tickets, alcohol, tobacco and other items with cash assistance.
Ralph Tripp, 32, of Bangor and Maurice Gunn coordinate on a signature-gathering effort on a 2016 referendum for a York County casino outside the garage at Pickering Square in Bangor, Jan. 13, 2016.

Casino question won’t be on Maine ballot after judge rejects appeal

By Christopher Cousins on April 07, 2016, at 2:02 p.m.
A superior court judge has upheld Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s decision to reject a citizen petition to create a casino in southern Maine.
A sign at the State House in Augusta in this June 2015 file photo.

Senate supports LePage bill to thwart Obama on North Woods

By Michael Shepherd on April 06, 2016, at 7:39 p.m.
The Maine Senate on Wednesday narrowly approved Gov. Paul LePage’s bid to block the president’s authority to establish a national monument in Maine’s North Woods.
Eric McVay of Hampden testifies to the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee about proposed cuts to services for adults with mental illnesses or disabilities on April 1 in Augusta.

Maine legislators compromise on mental health services safeguard

By Michael Shepherd on April 06, 2016, at 3:52 p.m.
A legislative committee unanimously endorsed a bill on Wednesday that would safeguard Mainers with mental illnesses from cuts to services under a proposed rule change from Gov. Paul LePage’s administration.
Michael Heath, former executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, gives a statement in Augusta on July 17, 2013.

Former Christian league leader wants Maine voters to reverse gay rights law

By Christopher Cousins on April 06, 2016, at 11:11 a.m.
Voters in Maine could be asked whether they want to amend the Maine Human Rights Act of protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation if a new ballot initiative is successful.
Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives watch votes tally on an amendment to the biennial state budget on June 16, 2015, at the State House in Augusta.

Maine House Republicans stall spending package

By BDN Staff on April 05, 2016, at 9:42 p.m.
A compromise spending plan hashed out by legislative Democrats and Senate Republicans hit a wall Tuesday evening.
Maine State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas

Report: Maine can’t do much to ensure hayride safety

By Scott Thistle on April 05, 2016, at 3:09 p.m.
The working group was formed by the Legislature after the death of Cassidy Charette, a 17-year-old Oakland girl who died while riding on a wagon being towed behind a Jeep during a haunted hayride.
Tom Pelkey of Orland climbs on top of his load of logs to secure them in Blue Hill, Oct. 9, 2014.

Legislators reject LePage attempt to trim tree growth tax break

By Scott Thistle on April 05, 2016, at 12:40 p.m.
Legislation designed to dramatically overhaul Maine’s tree growth property tax credit program fell largely on deaf ears Monday as lawmakers on the Taxation Committee unanimously rejected the proposal offered by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.