Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

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.

LePage calls 127th Legislature ‘the worst since I’ve been governor’

on April 19, 2016, at 9:39 a.m.
“It’s just horrendous,” LePage said on his weekly appearance on WVOM radio.

Carly Fiorina, John Sununu to speak in support of Cruz, Kasich at Maine GOP convention

on April 19, 2016, at 8:41 a.m.
The Maine Republican Party has announced that all three Republican presidential candidates will send surrogates to the Republican State Convention this weekend Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will speak at the party’s state convention Saturday on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.The party has also announced that former U.S. senator and New …

Pingree launches new effort to aid military sex assault survivors

on April 19, 2016, at 7:55 a.m.
Good morning from my living room, folks, where it feels like the lull after the storm. I’m not used to looking up the legislative calendar first thing in the morning and seeing almost nothing there. Luckily for the Daily Brief, the political world never sleeps. As of early Tuesday, there has …
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.

More spending bills sent to LePage for consideration

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2016, at 7:46 p.m.
In a flurry of votes Friday evening, the Senate took several bills with price tags from what is known as the Special Appropriations Table and sent them to Gov. Paul LePage, including LD 1699, a bill designed to financially help schools in towns and cities that experience major economic catastrophes. …

Progress: Legislature enacting bills and LePage is signing some of them

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2016, at 7:13 p.m.
As the Legislature moves closer to finishing its business for the year — at least until they return to deal with gubernatorial vetoes — there are some key differences from past years. For one, there is much less tension than what has marked late-session proceedings in the past. For another, …

Republican senator weighs family commitment versus public service

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2016, at 5:47 p.m.
Sometimes, lawmakers are faced with tough choices. Republican Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn was struggling with a decision Friday evening about whether to complete the Senate session or leave for his brother’s wedding, which is at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday in Ohio. After a caucus of Senate Republicans at about 5:30 …

LePage’s bill to limit time and duration of addictive drug prescriptions enacted by Legislature

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2016, at 3:45 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage’s bid to restrict the amount and duration of prescriptions of opioid and benzodiazepine medications has been enacted by the Legislature and sits on the governor’s desk for his approval. LD 1646 has been under debate for weeks. As enacted, it requires doctors, beginning in January 2017, to …

Legislature poised to send $150 million in bonding to LePage

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2016, at 3:21 p.m.
As the clock ticks down on the 127th Legislature, lawmakers are narrowing in on a bond package to send to Gov. Paul LePage. How it will fare on the governor’s desk is anyone’s guess, though LePage has a long history of opposing borrowing. Whatever bond bills make it to enactment, if …

Why LePage didn’t show up for his own town hall meeting

on April 15, 2016, at 8:02 a.m.
Reporters and others who wanted to hear the governor were turned away at the doors of Lincoln Academy, after being told that LePage was busy with legislative business.

Last-minute minimum wage increase attempt by LePage falls short in Senate

on April 14, 2016, at 8:05 p.m.
An attempt by Republicans and Gov. Paul LePage to set a minimum wage lower than the eventual $12 an hour voters will decide about in November fell short Thursday night in the Senate.

LePage, Republicans reject funding to reduce waitlists for adults with intellectual disabilities

By Christopher Cousins on April 14, 2016, at 12:30 p.m.
Catching up on Wednesday night’s House session, which ended sometime after 10 p.m. One of the bills that suffered a likely fatal blow was LD 475, which sought to reduce by about 400 people a waitlist in Section 21 of the state’s Medicaid program. Section 21 provides home and community-based benefits for adults …

LePage again rips ‘socialists’ in veto of bill sought by families of disabled Mainers

on April 13, 2016, at 9:46 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed an effort by the Legislature to intervene in a move by the Department of Health and Human Services to change eligibility criteria for Medicaid-funded services for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. The veto was sustained late Wednesday evening with an 83-66 vote in the House, …

Legislature close to enacting bill that reverses costly mistake in last year’s biennial budget bill

By Christopher Cousins on April 13, 2016, at 8:54 p.m.
A bill that corrects what is widely considered to be a mistake made in last year’s compromise biennial budget bill appears on track for enactment after affirmative votes Wednesday in the House and Senate. As part of a package of tax code changes made last year, the Legislature opted to …

Permanent change to school funding formula comes up in last-minute bill

By Christopher Cousins on April 13, 2016, at 8:26 p.m.
Democrats in the Senate were crying foul Wednesday night after preliminary passage of a bill designed to ease the financial burden for schools in towns hit recently by paper mill closures. Not only do they disagree with the content of LD 1699, but contend that the bill came to the …
House Speaker Mark Eves (left) looks on as civil rights lawyer David Webbert addresses reporters during a press conference July 30, 2015, outside the U.S. District Court on Federal Street. The two filed a lawsuit against Gov. Paul LePage accusing him of blackmailing Good Will-Hinckley.

Was LePage action against Eves protected or part of ‘war on Democrats’?

By Christopher Cousins on April 13, 2016, at 4:17 p.m.
Whether a lawsuit will continue between two of Maine’s leading politicians and most bitter rivals is in a federal judge’s hands following opening arguments in the case Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court.
House Speaker Mark Eves addresses reporters during a press conference outside the U.S. District Court in Portland, July 30, 2015.

How LePage, Eves ended up in a court fight

By Christopher Cousins on April 13, 2016, at 11:31 a.m.
The first oral arguments in House Speaker Mark Eves’ lawsuit against Gov. Paul LePage will be delivered Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court when the governor’s attorney argues the suit should be thrown out.

Discussions about a bond package have begun but face an uphill battle

By Christopher Cousins on April 13, 2016, at 11:11 a.m.
One issue that will have to be resolved soon — prior to the Legislature’s adjournment — is how much bond funding the Legislature and Gov. LePage can agree to ask voters for on the November ballot. The answer is obviously somewhere between zero and millions and millions of dollars. Democrats …

LePage attacks Angus King, suggests 2018 Senate run — again

on April 13, 2016, at 8:55 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where progress is being made, but slowly. The House and Senate have both progressed to the phase of the session when many of the bills that come through require debate. The emerging story of this session is the number of bills that die because of disagreements between …