Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, (right) and Ken Fredette, R-Newport, wrangle over votes in the State House.

Why even John Martin thinks Maine’s term limits law won’t go away

By Christopher Cousins on April 29, 2015, at 1:45 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Attempts to change or eliminate Maine’s term limits law, which is one of those proposals that returns to the Legislature session after session, are probably dead again after encountering roadblocks from lawmakers this week. Democratic Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake has been in the Legislature since …

Cutting General Assistance for immigrants up for votes today in Augusta

on April 29, 2015, at 7:38 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where the confirmation process for four judges will unfold this afternoon in the Judiciary Committee.  Gov. Paul LePage has been nominating and re-appointing judges in recent weeks, and there are nine due for confirmation between now and May 7. The process includes in-depth interviews by the Judiciary Committee …
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan

Why Maine’s mayors can’t work with LePage

By Christopher Cousins on April 29, 2015, at 5:33 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Mayors from four Maine communities said Tuesday that Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to force them to cut spending have created a standoffish relationship and that more progress could be made if LePage would collaborate instead of dominate. Furthermore, the mayors of Portland, Westbrook, Saco and Augusta said …
Democrat John Martin of Eagle Lake speaks with Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, in the State House last year.

John Martin backs off bill to remove term limits

By Christopher Cousins on April 27, 2015, at 7:01 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The elimination of legislative term limits or extension of terms for lawmakers in Maine seem unlikely at best after committee votes Monday afternoon. Democratic Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake, who was the poster child for the implementation of term limits in 1993, sponsored a bill, LD …
More than 50 people turned out to testify to the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee for and against a bill that would block alewives from the St. Croix River watershed on Monday at the State House complex in Augusta.

Alewife migration to St. Croix River watershed debate resurfaces

By Christopher Cousins on April 27, 2015, at 3:33 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Passionate and long-standing disagreement over allowing alewives through the Grand Falls Dam in Washington County continued Monday during debate on a bill that would reverse legislation from two years ago that let the migratory sea-run fish into the St. Croix River watershed. On one side of the …

Former Maine sheriff proposes law to seize firearms from violent offenders

on April 27, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
It’s Monday from Augusta, where even though the Senate and House of Representatives aren’t in session, there is a slew of committee work happening. One of the major areas of focus today will be Maine’s medical marijuana program, which is the subject of a dozen bills that are in public …
Maine Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen and Gov. Paul LePage in 2012.

Why Maine could go 12 months without a permanent education commissioner

By Christopher Cousins on April 26, 2015, at 5:34 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The Department of Education, one of state government’s two largest departments in terms of consumption of taxpayer dollars, has been without a permanent commissioner for six months, raising the question of how long it will be before that slot is filled. Gov. Paul LePage appointed Tom Desjardin …

Daily Brief: Bill to help fund infertility treatments defeated in unanimous committee vote

on April 24, 2015, at 7:26 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where the Legislature is slowed to its Friday pace with only a few committees meeting and the House and Senate on recess until Tuesday. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t some interesting and impactful bills on today’s docket.  Much of the action today will be …

Daily Brief: DHHS enters agreement to help cash benefit recipients volunteer in schools

on April 23, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Maine’s capital, where the State House is expected to be awash in the blue and tan uniforms of hundreds of visiting Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. It’s Scout recognition day! Can you guess when Boy Scouts of America was incorporated? Keep reading for the answer.  The House …
Rep. Ken Fredette

Bill would make college free for Maine National Guard

By Christopher Cousins on April 22, 2015, at 5:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Republican Rep. Ken Fredette and a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a bill Wednesday that would allow members of the Maine National Guard to take college courses at no cost. Fredette and other lawmakers who gathered at a media event to present the proposed legislation said that …
Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn

DHHS bid to change autism care without hearings meets opposition

By Christopher Cousins on April 22, 2015, at 5:12 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Families and caregivers of people with autism and intellectual disabilities urged lawmakers Wednesday to reject a bill that would give the Department of Health and Human Services’ authority to change rules affecting their care and funding without public legislative hearings. “We have feelings. We are people and …

Competing bills around the $38M ‘and’ typo up for hearings today in Augusta

on April 22, 2015, at 7:37 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where Gov. Paul LePage is once again driving the conversation around the elimination of the income tax by 2020. The governor took the unusual step Tuesday of publicly giving legislative leaders until the end of the day to sponsor his bill to amend the collection of …
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills listens after swearing in employees in Bangor on Jan. 9.

Maine’s political heavyweights: Paul LePage vs. Janet Mills

By Christopher Cousins on April 19, 2015, at 5:06 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills have been at odds for more than two years, and their stormy relationship is often the trigger for debates about crucial statewide issues such as fighting child abuse and expanding Medicaid. Unfortunately for Maine, the fight has …

Daily Brief: Maine senator proposes outlawing the shackling of pregnant prisoners

on April 17, 2015, at 7:45 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where a very busy week at the State House is winding down. I’m listening to some smokin’ blues rock while I write this; click here if you want the same soundtrack. “I’m Bo Diddley.”  The Criminal Justice Committee will kick off the day with a trio of bills, including …
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, attends to business in Augusta on Dec. 3, 2014.

Maine lawmaker says voters should pick constitutional officers

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2015, at 7:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A Republican leader in the Legislature attempted for the second time in his career Wednesday to convince his peers that Maine’s attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state should be elected by the Maine voters, not lawmakers, every two years. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Andre Cushing of …
Jenny McPherson of Old Town testifies in support of a bill that would make fatigued driving a crime during a Monday hearing at the State House in Augusta. McPerson's brother, Craig McPherson, was killed by an allegedly fatigued driver in 2014 in an accident in Windham.

Maine lawmakers reject bill to penalize tired drivers

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2015, at 6:23 p.m.
AUGUSTA | A bill that would outlaw driving after 24 hours without sleep was put to bed Wednesday by Maine lawmakers who concluded there would be virtually no way to enforce it. The Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee made quick work Wednesday afternoon of LD 988, which would have imposed …
Gov. Paul LePage appears at a news conference at the State House on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, where he and others discussed the virtues of his tax reform package.

LePage: If Legislature won’t eliminate income tax, Maine voters will

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2015, at 5:52 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage said Wednesday he is willing to compromise on portions of his tax reform package but won’t back down on his goal to eliminate the state’s income tax. During nearly 40 minutes at the microphone, LePage said that if he and the Legislature can’t agree …
Deb Sanderson, Maine House District 52

Maine Lyme disease treatment bill imperiled

By Christopher Cousins on April 15, 2015, at 11:07 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The sponsor of a bill to encourage alternative treatments for Lyme disease — namely, months-long antibiotics regimens — said she’ll try to kill the bill herself if an amendment under consideration to require informed consent paperwork is successful. “If the [Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development …

Daily Brief: Maine woman hired as one of Hillary Clinton’s three senior advisers

on April 15, 2015, at 7:46 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where Gov. Paul LePage has returned from his annual vacation to Jamaica and where the good folks at Maine Revenue Services will be scrambling to process your last-minute tax returns. Maybe they’ll have some classic Beatles cranked in the office and be discussing why George Harrison didn’t …
Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon

Senate leader’s infertility bill includes marriage, STD clauses

By Christopher Cousins on April 14, 2015, at 5:23 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, a Lisbon Republican known for taking socially conservative positions, has introduced a bill that would require health insurance providers in Maine to include coverage for infertility treatments as long as the patient is married and is not infertile as the result of …
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