State House News

 
POLL QUESTION
David Boyer, head of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana, Like Alcohol, speaks at a forum hosted by the Maine Law Federalist Society in Portland in this April 2015 file photo.

Legislative leaders’ plan to slow pot legalization draws advocates’ ire

By Michael Shepherd on Jan. 11, 2017, at 2:24 p.m.
The Maine Legislature’s roadmap for implementing marijuana legalization took shape on Wednesday, with legislative leaders striking deals to delay most of the law until 2018 and form a committee to consider bills on the subject.
Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, speaks during the first session of the 128th Legislature on Dec. 7, 2016, at the State House in Augusta.

Democrats draw early battle lines on LePage budget proposal

By Michael Shepherd on Jan. 09, 2017, at 6:28 p.m.
The Republican governor’s fourth and final two-year proposal is similar to the one two years ago that was largely rejected by the Legislature, which passed a budget over LePage’s veto in 2015.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage budget would cut 500 state jobs, shift Maine to flat tax by 2020

By mshepherd and ccousins on Jan. 06, 2017, at 10:47 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage’s $6.8 billion, two-year state budget proposal, released Friday night, would reduce Maine’s state employee workforce by approximately 500 and shift Maine to a flat income tax by 2020.

Renewable power standards face uncertain future

By Fred Bever, Maine Public on Dec. 27, 2016, at 5:18 p.m.
A consumer subsidy for renewable power in Maine may be ending — or at least changing. It’s called the Class 1 Renewable Portfolio Standards program, and many stakeholders, including environmentalists, say it’s ready for reform.
The Blaine House

Who’s jockeying for a head start in the race to become Maine’s next governor?

By Michael Shepherd on Dec. 18, 2016, at 7:38 a.m.
It’s a race that could reshape Maine.
POLL QUESTION
Maine voters passed four citizen-initiated referendums on Nov. 8, 2016, ranging from a minimum wage increase to a ranked-choice voting system. However, history shows that the state's legislative, executive and judicial branches could drastically affect the way new laws triggered by the referendums will function.

Why Maine voters won’t have last word on referendums they passed

By Christopher Cousins on Dec. 11, 2016, at 7:26 a.m.
Four referendums passed by Maine voters last month will go into effect in January, but the political intrigue associated with them has just begun.
Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, speaks during the first session of the 128th Legislature on Wednesday at the State House in Augusta.

House speaker, LePage agree to cooperate on new mental health facility

By Michael Shepherd on Dec. 09, 2016, at 4:31 p.m.
Maine’s new House speaker emerged from a meeting with Gov. Paul LePage to say they agreed to a path for legislative leaders to approve a new, privately run mental health facility in Augusta by 2016’s end.
Legislators, lobbyists and other interested parties gather Feb. 2 under the dome at the State House in Augusta. The Maine Ethics Commission on Thursday unanimously endorsed stricter disclosure rules for out-of-state donors to Maine campaigns. The proposal will go to the Legislature.

Maine ethics panel recommends new disclosure rules for out-of-state donors

By Christopher Cousins on Dec. 08, 2016, at 4:56 p.m.
The Maine Ethics Commission voted in favor of a proposal that would require groups that donate more than $100,000 to a campaign in Maine to disclose information about themselves.
Former Rep. Adam Goode (left), D-Bangor, speaks to Maine Treasurer Terry Hayes, I-Buckfield, before the first session of the 128th Legislature on Wednesday at the State House in Augusta.

No surprises in elections for Maine’s constitutional officers

By Christopher Cousins on Dec. 07, 2016, at 4:55 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage speaks to the Maine House of Representatives before swearing them in for the first session of the 128th Legislature on Wednesday at the State House in Augusta.

LePage welcomes new Legislature with warning of impending economic peril

By Michael Shepherd on Dec. 07, 2016, at 4:39 p.m.
As expected, the chambers elected Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, as House speaker and re-elected Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport.
POLL QUESTION
The State House in Augusta can be seen in this January 2016 file photo.

Lawmakers pan LePage threat to build psychiatric unit outside Augusta

By Christopher Cousins on Dec. 06, 2016, at 4:08 p.m.
“I’m looking for another location,” Gov. Paul LePage said. “They could only stop me on the East Campus [in Augusta]. Already I’m looking at Freeport right now. We’re looking up in the Bangor area. We’re looking down south.”
Voting stickers rest on ballot-counting machine. The recount of hundreds of thousands of ballots associated with two referendum questions is set to begin and could take weeks.

Marijuana, school tax ballot recounts to start but may take weeks

By Christopher Cousins on Nov. 29, 2016, at 1:42 p.m.
The recount of hundreds of thousands of ballots associated with two referendum questions is set to begin and could take weeks.
Connor Mullen, 17, cheers as election results roll in on a TV screen at a Republican rally in Portland on Nov. 8.

Republicans have made big gains in rural Maine. Can they hold them?

By Michael Shepherd on Nov. 26, 2016, at 1 a.m.
The Republican insurgency into rural Maine during the era of Gov. Paul LePage may not wane when he leaves office in 2018.
Patrick Woodcock speaks at the Caribou Inn & Convention Center, March 16, 2016.

LePage’s energy director leaving post in December

By Darren Fishell on Nov. 16, 2016, at 10:20 a.m.
Patrick Woodcock, the director of Gov. Paul LePage’s Energy Office, is stepping down from the position in December.
Troy Jackson

Democrats elect Troy Jackson to lead them in the Maine Senate

By Christopher Cousins on Nov. 14, 2016, at 9:31 p.m.
Democrats also elected Sen. Nathan Libby of Lewiston as their assistant minority leader.
Gov. Paul LePage waves as he leaves the House of Representatives chamber after he delivered his 2014 State of the State address at the State House in Augusta.

How LePage lost and won the 2016 election

By Michael Shepherd on Nov. 13, 2016, at 7:06 a.m.
It’s hard telling what voters indicated by shifting the Legislature slightly toward the political middle, but it’s clear that it’ll have a check on the governor during his final two years in the Blaine House.
The Maine House of Representatives on the last day of the 127th Legislature at the State House, April 29, 2016

Cash and the path to Maine legislative control flow through these districts

By Michael Shepherd on Oct. 30, 2016, at 7:20 a.m.
Democrats are still favored over Republicans to win the Maine Legislature, but Republicans have a path to keeping the crucial Senate majority chambers, according to a Bangor Daily News analysis handicapping all 186 legislative races.
Ricker Hamilton is the Deputy Commissioner of Programs for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and former director of the Office of Aging and Disability Services.

New Riverview unit hits roadblock

By Mal Leary on Oct. 27, 2016, at 5:09 p.m.
The LePage administration’s plan to build a new facility for mentally ill patients next to the Riverview Psychiatric Center has hit another roadblock.
Andre Cushing

Maine GOP senators seek hearing on fraud allegations, say Democrats are ‘mud-slinging’

By Christopher Cousins on Oct. 25, 2016, at 12:40 p.m.
Two Republican state senators who have been accused of violating legislative reimbursement rules have requested a hearing in an effort to clear their names.
Rep. Jeff Evangelos, I-Friendship, speaks at a rally calling for the impeachment of Gov. Paul LePage on Jan. 6 outside the State House in Augusta.

Independent legislator’s effort to oust LePage collapses

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 08, 2016, at 2:25 p.m.
In a letter Thursday morning to the Bangor Daily News, Evangelos wrote that Democratic legislative leaders in the House and Senate have “joined the cowardly Republicans to reject our appeal.”