Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto

State House Reporter

 
Jessica Scheno, a senior at Maranacook Community High School, speaks with reporters Monday at the State House, where she and dozens of other students, doctors and health advocates decried Gov. Paul LePage's proposal to gut funding for Healthy Maine Partnerships and school-based health centers, both of which work to prevent teen smoking.

Health advocates: Axing community anti-smoking programs ‘like killing Peter to pay Paul’

By Mario Moretto on March 02, 2015, at 4:48 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Health groups, doctors, students and others turned out in force Monday at the State House to oppose a budget initiative that would take away roughly $20 million in funding for community-based smoking cessation and prevention services. The plan, part of Gov. Paul LePage’s two-year budget proposal, would …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

GOP operative convicted of illegal political coordination has Poliquin connection

on March 02, 2015, at 10:59 a.m.
Tyler Harber, a 34-year-old GOP campaign operative in the D.C. area who coordinated $325,000 in spending between a super PAC and a Virginia congressional campaign in 2012, became the first person ever convicted of illegal campaign-finance coordination when he pleaded guilty on Feb. 12. That’s a milestone in campaign finance law, for …
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat.

LePage challenges AG Mills on use of settlement cash

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 26, 2015, at 5:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Apparently not content with the numerous battles he’s already fighting with Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, Gov. Paul LePage announced Thursday that he’ll submit a bill aimed at curtailing the attorney general’s authority to receive and spend money from lawsuit settlements. As part of multi-state lawsuit against …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Open Internet advocates King, Pingree hail FCC decision on net neutrality

on Feb. 26, 2015, at 4:27 p.m.
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Thursday hailed the Federal Communications Commission’s 3-2 decision to classify broadband Internet service as a public utility. The FCC is trying to close the debate between two competing visions for what Internet access should look like. On one side, net neutrality advocates say broadband service …
Gov. Paul LePage smiles on stage at a Republican rally in Portland on Nov. 3, 2014.

Maine high court weighs separation of powers between LePage, Mills

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 26, 2015, at 1:02 p.m.
PORTLAND | Lawyers for Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills on Thursday took the latest clash between the two political foes to the state’s Supreme Judicial Court, which heard oral arguments on whether the governor should be allowed to hire outside counsel without Mills’ approval. The court …
A pile of timber is seen at the University of Maine in this March 2014 file photo.

LePage plan could make forestry top priority in managing public lands

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 25, 2015, at 4:55 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Conservationists are skeptical about Gov. Paul LePage’s budget for the natural resource departments, fearful that it would open the gates for expanded commercial harvesting of state-owned property. LePage wants to do away with the state’s Bureau of Parks and Lands, which is responsible for the management of …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Are Obama and LePage veto soulmates?

on Feb. 25, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where everyone today is turning their attention to faraway Bald Mountain, more than 200 miles north in the heart of Aroostook County.  It’s far removed from the State House, but the mountain — said to contain vast deposits of copper and zinc — has been the …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Are Obama and LePage veto soul mates?

on Feb. 25, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where everyone today is turning their attention to faraway Bald Mountain, more than 200 miles north in the heart of Aroostook County.  It’s far removed from the State House, but the mountain — said to contain vast deposits of copper and zinc — has been the …
Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court Leigh Saufley, at rostrum, delivers her 2015 State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday in Augusta.

Maine chief justice wants fewer people jailed before trial

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 24, 2015, at 1:54 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley on Tuesday announced a new effort to keep more people who are awaiting trial out of the state’s county jails. More than 60 percent of people held in Maine’s jails have not been convicted, she said, and many don’t pose a risk …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Saufley to deliver ‘State of the Judiciary’ speech

on Feb. 24, 2015, at 7:27 a.m.
Good morning from frigid Augusta, where cold means more than the relationships between political opponents.  There’s a lot on the docket today with the House and Senate returning to session after a week’s vacation and many of the Legislature’s committees plowing through bills. On that latter front, the Agriculture, Conservation …
The State House in Augusta

Sales tax hike puts Maine at disadvantage, business groups complain

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 23, 2015, at 6:21 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Legislature’s budget negotiators wrapped up their fourth and final day of public hearings on Gov. Paul LePage’s massive tax reform plan Monday with a parade of business interests pleading to be exempted from the governor’s expanded, increased sales tax. Many goods and nearly all services in …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage joins governors group pushing for offshore drilling

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 20, 2015, at 5:12 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage has joined a group of Atlantic and Gulf coast governors working to expand offshore energy production, becoming the first member of the group from a northeastern state. The OCS Governors Coalition includes the Republican governors of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage cracks down on state employees viewing porn on work computers

on Feb. 20, 2015, at 4:44 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage on Friday issued an executive order to stiffen policies prohibiting state employees from accessing pornographic material on government computers or devices — even when they’re off the clock. According to the governor and his human resources chief, it’s a type of misconduct that persists, albeit infrequently. “Employees of …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Rhode Island vs. Maine in a battle for New England’s seniors

on Feb. 19, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning.  I’m not sure how it looks where you are, but here in Central Maine, as of Thursday morning, the snow is just starting to hit. If the weather cooperates, budget negotiators in Augusta will entertain dozens of  members of the public for the third day in a row as the Appropriations …
Gov. Paul LePage

‘Here we go again’: Maine communities fight LePage plan to cut state aid

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 18, 2015, at 4:19 p.m.
AUGUSTA | In what has become an annual event, municipal officials from around the state descended Wednesday on the State House to lobby against proposed cuts to state aid that they say will hurt towns’ and cities’ ability to provide essential services. The revenue sharing program, established in 1972, …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Public weighs in on LePage budget; support for ranked-choice grows

on Feb. 18, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where the Legislature’s budget negotiators will continue with open hearings on Gov. Paul LePage’s $6.57 billion budget proposal.  Members of the Appropriations Committee will hear testimony from the general public today about LePage’s proposed elimination of state aid to municipalities, a program established to divert some income …
State Rep. Gay Grant, D-Gardiner

Democrats say LePage tax plan won’t stop Maine’s population decline

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 17, 2015, at 7:23 p.m.
AUGUSTA | One of the underlying assumptions about Gov. Paul LePage’s big tax reform pitch is that lowering individual and corporate income taxes and eliminating the estate tax will help reverse Maine’s well-documented population decline. Proponents of the tax reform plan say it will put Maine on the demographic …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage hails Texas judge’s decision to block Obama’s immigration agenda

on Feb. 17, 2015, at 1:01 p.m.
A U.S. District Court judge in Texas on Monday blocked President Barack Obama’s plan to protect about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, saying the president’s use of executive orders to enact the policy had exceeded his authority and wrongly bypassed Congress. The lawsuit was heard in Texas, the state leading the charge …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Daily Brief: Lobbyists prep for budget hearings; job approval from Ike to Obama

on Feb. 17, 2015, at 7:30 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where the first waves in a parade of lobbyists, advocates and possibly even some regular Maine residents are gathering to add their voices to the coming budget debate.  The Appropriations Committee, responsible for turning Gov. Paul LePage’s $6.57 billion two-year budget proposal into a deal that will …
 Emily Cain is seen Thursday at Verve in Orono.

Emily Cain reflects on election defeat, looks to the future

By Mario Moretto on Feb. 16, 2015, at 6:06 p.m.
ORONO | It’s been more than three months since Election Day, when Republicans in Maine made big gains by winning the Blaine House, the Maine Senate and, for the first time in 20 years, the 2nd Congressional District. That day also was the first stumbling moment in what had …
 
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