State House News

Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, (left) speaks with House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, at the State House in Augusta on Thursday.

To break budget stalemate, holdout House GOP offers $125 million in education funding

By Michael Shepherd on June 22, 2017, at 12:44 p.m.
It represents the first major movement in negotiations from the holdout group but it’s unclear how Democrats will respond since the plan would eliminate a surtax on high earners to generate revenue earmarked for public schools.
The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians held their election for tribal chief and council members Saturday. The results of that election are being contested after long-time chief Brenda Commander was beaten by Clairissa E. Sabattis by a mere two votes.

Maliseets continue pursuit of casino for The County

on June 21, 2017, at 11:53 a.m.
“We have heard that the bill may be reconsidered in the Senate with an amendment to include a statewide referendum,” said Chief Clairissa Sabbatis of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians.
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 in January 2016.

House OKs bill tightening requirements for citizen-initiated ballot questions

By Steve Mistler on June 15, 2017, at 3:42 p.m.
The Legislature has taken the first step toward making it more difficult for citizen-initiated referendums to qualify for the ballot.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

A timeline of the LePage/Mills conflict

Bangor Daily News on May 02, 2017, at 8:32 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage sues attorney general for not representing his legal positions

By Christopher Cousins on May 01, 2017, at 4:16 p.m.
“She has publicly denounced court cases which the executive branch has requested to join and subsequently refuses to provide legal representation for the state.”
Dakota was pardoned in March by Gov. Paul LePage. A District Court judge had ordered the Husky euthanized after it attacked other dogs.

Dog pardon again proves LePage is the alpha in Maine’s power structure

By Michael Shepherd on April 23, 2017, at 7:20 a.m.
A husky’s life is on the line in what may be Maine’s most unusual court case, and one of the only things that can save it is Gov. Paul LePage and a creative interpretation of executive power.
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.

It’s about to get wild at the Maine State House

By Christopher Cousins on April 17, 2017, at 6:06 a.m.
With just over 60 days left before the statutory end of this year’s legislative session, there’s a $6.8 billion problem to solve and lots of other work to do.

Here’s the career path a lifelong Democrat took to becoming a LePage nominee

By Darren Fishell on April 14, 2017, at 2:58 p.m.
In an interview Friday, Hobbins said that, based on his resume, “you would think that would foreclose any opportunity for someone like me to be appointed by a Republican.”
Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King at his home in Brunswick

How Angus King went from a Democratic Party exile to a darling of progressives

By Michael Shepherd on April 02, 2017, at 7:14 a.m.
King campaigned hard against the Democratic establishment at first, but he won over many of the party’s voters and some of its leaders.

Lawmakers agree to rename T17 R4 ‘Sinclair’

on March 30, 2017, at 2:27 p.m.
Medical marijuana is shown in a jar in Seattle, Washington, Jan. 27, 2012.

Lawmakers have lots of ideas for spending proceeds from taxing pot sales

By Mal Leary on March 26, 2017, at 7:52 a.m.
When recreational marijuana is available for retail sale in Maine sometime next year, it will generate an estimated $12 million per year in tax revenue.
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2017 State of the State address at the State House in Augusta, Feb. 7, 2017.

Why Maine lawmakers spend so much time on bills that have no chance

By Christopher Cousins on March 26, 2017, at 7:20 a.m.
For the sake of stability, the failure of bad ideas and the formation of consensus, democracy is supposed to be hard.
Gov. Paul LePage answers questions from broadcast media following a maple tree tapping ceremony on the Blaine House lawn in mid-March.

Why LePage is spending more time talking to national conservative media

By Christopher Cousins on March 19, 2017, at 7:26 a.m.
“[Gov. Paul LePage is] good about keeping the guessing game going. That’s a good approach no matter what you’re planning next. Keep them guessing.”
If comments on local news stories about the idea are any guide, this proposal did not go over particularly well.

A Maine politician proposed a seat-belt law for dogs. You could hear the howls.

By Karin Brulliard, The Washington Post on March 12, 2017, at 8:31 a.m.
If comments on local news stories about the idea are any guide, this proposal did not go over particularly well.
Michael Thibodeau (from left), Sara Gideon and Gov. Paul LePage.

Here’s where the fight will get real on LePage’s budget

By Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd on March 12, 2017, at 7:23 a.m.
Here are some of the big pressure points and where legislative leaders are lining up before any grand bargain.
Ethan Evans works remotely from CoVort co-working space in Bangor on Friday for the Boston-based software development firm Appworks, supplementing a military career with the Maine National Guard and allowing him to buck a trend of the state losing its youngest workers in droves.

For younger workers, leaving Maine means higher incomes

By Darren Fishell on March 12, 2017, at 7:23 a.m.
From 2011 to 2015, Maine lost more than 1,800 workers younger than 26 and had a net loss of about 667 workers under the age of 65, according to IRS statistics.
An aerial view of Portage Lake, one of the gateways to the North Maine Woods and the home of a waterbody some feel could be threatened by open pit mining at Bald Mountain.

Legislature to hold hearing on mining rules, mining bills

By Anthony Brino on March 04, 2017, at 8:10 a.m.
Mainers who want to tell lawmakers what they think about how to regulate large-scale metal mines in the state will have an opportunity.
A sign on a sales rack of an energy bar in a 7-Eleven in New York on Sunday, July 27, 2014, promotes the convenience store's acceptance of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

States push to keep people from buying junk food with food stamps

By Jen Fifield, on Feb. 26, 2017, at 10:17 a.m.
A recent study that found that 23 cents of every food stamp dollar is used to buy junk food has reignited a long-standing debate on whether the government should allow people to use food stamps to buy unhealthy food.
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2017 State of the State address at the State House in Augusta, Feb. 7, 2017.

Thanks mostly to LePage, Maine has a record $1 billion in the bank

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 26, 2017, at 7:18 a.m.
An improving economy and rigid fiscal discipline under Republican Gov. Paul LePage have contributed to an all-time record for Maine state government: more than $1 billion in its cash pool.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

Mayhew outlines $4.8 million plan for opioid treatment

By Mal Leary on Feb. 23, 2017, at 7:33 p.m.
Maine DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew told lawmakers that the $4.8 million plan would provide treatment services for about 400 additional Mainers