State House News

 
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.
POLL QUESTION
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, Stateline.org 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.
POLL QUESTION
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
The Maine House of Representatives is seen on April 29, 2016.

Conflict of interest is nothing new for Maine politicians

By Michael Shepherd on Feb. 19, 2017, at 7:55 a.m.
Maine’s legislative ethics law seems clear but has been interpreted broadly, and that may be necessary to get good candidates to run for office.
There were strong feelings on both sides about last fall’s referendum Question 2, which added a surtax of 3 percent on Maine households with incomes in excess of $200,000 a year, during a legislative hearing on Friday.

Maine teachers blast LePage plan to delay education surtax

By Mal Leary, Maine Public on Feb. 12, 2017, at 10:43 a.m.
Voters approved the initiative, which would use the revenue raised to create a fund for local schools. But Gov. Paul LePage has argued that the state can’t afford it.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage wants to fix Maine, but his to-do list is built on shaky history, data

By Christopher Cousins, Darren Fishell and Michael Shepherd on Feb. 12, 2017, at 7:41 a.m.
Here are four lessons the governor wanted you to take home, but with a fuller picture.
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2017 State of the State address at the State House in Augusta Tuesday.

LePage uses State of State to rip ‘liberal’ attack on Maine way of life

By Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd on Feb. 07, 2017, at 8:42 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage tore into his political opponents in a State of the State address Tuesday that sought to delegitimize the Legislature and accuse special interest groups of preying on needy and elderly Mainers.
Sen. Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport

Maine high court asked to weigh in on constitutionality of ranked-choice voting

By Michael Shepherd on Feb. 02, 2017, at 11:17 a.m.
The Maine Senate asked the state’s high court on Thursday to issue an opinion on the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting.
Gov. Paul LePage

Pot sales moratorium bill passes Legislature, but LePage refuses to sign it

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 26, 2017, at 6:54 p.m.
After meeting with legislative leaders late Thursday afternoon, LePage said he won’t sign the bill until lawmakers “fix it.”
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

AG: LePage needs legislative approval to build mental health unit

By Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd on Jan. 25, 2017, at 11:22 a.m.
Attorney General Janet Mills has thrown a new monkey wrench into Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to build a mental health unit in Bangor without legislative approval.
POLL QUESTION
People gather a few minutes before 7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, at the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park to see the sunrise.

Maine lawmakers take another stab at changing state’s time zone

By Steve Collins, Sun Journal on Jan. 19, 2017, at 8:51 a.m.
Sponsors say the move, which would land Maine into a time zone shared by Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico, would provide increased economic opportunities and less energy consumption in addition to offering more daylight in the afternoon and evening.
Members of the Maine Senate listen to Gov. Paul LePage speak during the first session of the 128th Legislature on at the State House in Augusta, Dec. 7, 2016.

Battle lines form on LePage’s tax, welfare proposals

By Michael Shepherd on Jan. 16, 2017, at 6:10 a.m.
Here’s how the big tax and welfare changes would impact Maine.
Gov. Paul LePage high-fives third-grader Tyler Alexander as he exits the performing arts center after signing LD 1609 into law at the Brewer Community School, April 4, 2016.

How LePage’s budget would radically change Maine schools

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 15, 2017, at 7:36 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage, already known for making education reform a priority of his governorship, arguably has proposed his most sweeping changes yet.