Articles by Mal Leary

 
House Whips Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester (left) and Sara Gideon, D-Freeport.

Lawmaker calls Maine bills targeting Planned Parenthood a ‘witch hunt’

By Mal Leary on Oct. 16, 2015, at 6:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Several Republican lawmakers held a State House news conference Friday to urge legislative leaders to allow a package of bills into the January session they say will bring accountability to state funds used by Planned Parenthood. Additionally, one bill would shift family planning funds to a different …
Will Ikard, director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, speaks at a press conference at The Briar Patch bookstore in Bangor on July 29. He introduced many small business owners who spoke and showed their support for the minimum wage increase that will be on the 2016 ballot.

Poll: Most Mainers support minimum wage hike

By Mal Leary on Oct. 15, 2015, at 5:26 p.m.
PORTLAND | Twice a year the Portland-based polling firm Critical Insights surveys 600 registered Maine voters on a number of issues facing Mainers. Voters are screened through landlines, cellphones and online questioning to determine whether they are likely to vote. Some questions track issues over time and some are …
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, in this 2014 BDN file photo.

Maine’s congressional delegation surprised at Boehner’s resignation

By Mal Leary on Sept. 25, 2015, at 4:37 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Maine’s two representatives in Congress were as surprised as any at House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to resign from his leadership post, and from his house seat at the end of next month. What his decision will mean to an already fractured Congress, and the potential for a …
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage talks at the the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast April 28.

LePage won’t name board members, vows to bypass Legislature through citizen initiatives

By Mal Leary, MPBN on Sept. 21, 2015, at 5:47 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage says he has decided not to nominate any candidates to fill dozens of empty positions on state boards and commissions that issue licenses, resolve disputes and approve agreements.
Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason

GOP lawmakers seek probe of Maine anti-tobacco program

By Mal Leary on Sept. 16, 2015, at 5:45 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Two Republican state lawmakers say they want more accountability from the Fund for a Healthy Maine, created from a landmark settlement against tobacco companies. Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon Falls and Rep. Jeff Timberlake of Turner are asking the Government Oversight Committee for a formal …
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

Mayhew touts Riverview gains, but federal certification not one of them

By Mal Leary on Sept. 09, 2015, at 6:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew is praising staff at the Riverview Psychiatric Center after the latest Joint Commission accreditation rating, the highest the facility has seen in the last two years. But Democrats say the facility has yet to meet its most important …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage wants to modify legal service for poor Mainers

By Mal Leary on Sept. 01, 2015, at 5:53 p.m.
AUGUSTA | If you commit a crime in Maine and don’t have money to pay for an attorney, the state will cover the cost. But unlike many other states, which use public defenders, Maine assigns indigent cases to private practice attorneys and pays them an hourly rate. Gov. Paul …
Sen. Angus King is shown with Sen. Susan Collins last year.

Maine delegation pushes for faster disability decisions

By Mal Leary on Aug. 24, 2015, at 5:21 p.m.
Nearly every weekday, members of Maine’s congressional delegation say they are asked by a constituent for help with an application for Social Security disability payments. To qualify, a person has to be unable to work, but what has some lawmakers upset is how long it takes for the federal government …
Sen. Roger Katz and Rep. Chuck Kruger call the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee into order in Augusta in this July 17, 2015, file photo.

Lawmakers decide not to broaden LePage investigation

By Mal Leary on Aug. 20, 2015, at 2:07 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee has delayed a decision on a request to expand the panel’s probe into Gov. Paul LePage’s threat to cut off funding to the Good Will-Hinckley organization after it hired Maine House Speaker Mark Eves as its president. Three lawmakers asked that reports …
About 23 grams of heroin is seen in this file photo.

New Maine laws contradict each other on drug crime penalties

By Mal Leary on Aug. 12, 2015, at 7:09 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Among the measures that became law in the wake of the high-profile veto dispute between Gov. Paul LePage and the Legislature are two conflicting drug bills. One creates tougher drug possession penalties, while the other reduces them, so the increased penalties cannot take effect until lawmakers address …
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins toured the future USS Zumwalt, the first of three DDG 1000 stealth destroyers to be built at Bath Iron Works, in Bath in this February 2014 file photo.

Maine delegates decry sale of defense servers to China

By Mal Leary on Aug. 10, 2015, at 5:24 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Last fall, one of the nation’s top computer makers won approval from the federal government to sell one of its divisions to a Chinese company. The sale is raising concerns among members of Maine’s congressional delegation. That’s because it involves a division that makes computers critical for national …
Rep. Bruce Poliquin

Poliquin wants to look GOP presidential candidates ‘in the eyes’ before endorsing

By Mal Leary on Aug. 03, 2015, at 4:57 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Maine Sen. Susan Collins has endorsed Jeb Bush for president; Gov. Paul LePage has endorsed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But Maine’s third-ranking elected Republican, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, has not jumped into the GOP presidential sweepstakes. “I am meeting with these candidates one at a …

Did war with Legislature drain LePage’s political capital?

By Mal Leary on July 28, 2015, at 11:12 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Last November, when Gov. Paul LePage was re-elected by 5 percentage points in a three-way race, most political observers believed he had earned political capital he could use in the new Legislature to accomplish some of his goals. Some feel LePage has squandered that capital and is …
Sen. Susan Collins speaks on March 31 at the University of Maine in Orono.

Collins endorses Jeb Bush for president

By Mal Leary on July 01, 2015, at 3:15 p.m.
BANGOR | Sen. Susan Collins has joined those making an early endorsement in the GOP race for president. Collins told MPBN News she is supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. “I have recently made a decision after talking extensively with Jeb Bush that I am going to endorse him …
Guinness beer sits on the bar at Paddy Murphy's in Bangor in this March 2013 file photo.

Maine lawmakers dump LePage call to keep bars open later

By Mal Leary on June 02, 2015, at 7:10 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Members of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee have unanimously rejected Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to allow bars in Maine to serve booze until 2 a.m. this summer as a pilot project. Waterville Police Chief Joe Massey told lawmakers it’s already hard for police to handle …
Gov. Paul LePage talks about his budget during a Town Hall meeting at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast on April 28.

LePage proposes creating system of public defenders in Maine

By Mal Leary on May 26, 2015, at 3 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage has submitted legislation that would create a new system of public defenders to assure that every poor Maine resident charged with a crime receives adequate legal representation. Maine is the only state without public defenders, and has long relied on paying individual lawyers on …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks at the Maine Heritage Policy Center luncheon at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor in this March 4, 2015, file photo.

LePage makes bid to let governor pick attorney general, treasurer

By Mal Leary on May 20, 2015, at 6:23 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage has made good on his pledge to propose fundamental changes in the way the state’s constitutional officers — the attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state — are selected. The governor would expand his own power to select the first two officers and abolish …
Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake

Maine lawmakers keep grappling with metal mining rules

By Mal Leary on May 12, 2015, at 5:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine lawmakers have worked for weeks on an effort to overhaul the state’s mining regulations. But it was mostly opponents that showed up at an unusual second public hearing Monday on the same legislation. And it appears that the committee is still divided on the issue, even …

Employers oppose Maine ‘retail workers bill of rights’

By Mal Leary on April 27, 2015, at 7:19 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Some members of Maine’s business community turned out in opposition Monday to two proposals aimed at changing laws that govern pay and working conditions. One measure would affect more than 60,000 retail workers in Maine. One piece of legislation under consideration in Augusta would set some minimum …
Daniel Wathen

Maine accused of violating law, not admitting psychiatric patients

By Mal Leary on April 24, 2015, at 6:52 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The court master in the consent decree covering mental health services at the Riverview Psychiatric Center says the Department of Health and Human Services has stopped admitting patients in violation of the decree. Daniel Wathen, the court master and former chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial …