March 25, 2013

A trip into hostile budget territory, and two bills that may be a stretch

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

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Nonetheless, selling the Blaine House could fetch a pretty price. According to the Augusta city tax assessor, the land, mansion and staff quarters are valued at more than $1.23 million. It's likely worth a lot more since the property is tax exempt and the city valuation is based on model pricing, not true market value.

RED FLAG ON RED LIGHT BILL

Maybe there are too many unnecessary red lights in Amherst, Republican Rep. Lawrence Lockman's eastern Maine hometown.

Lockman has submitted a bill, L.D. 1075, that would allow motorists to drive through a red light "if conditions allow."

Lockman isn't just talking about a right-hand turn, here. He wants motorists to be able to take a left or drive straight through a red light, apparently at their own discretion.

The bill does contain a qualifying provision that says motorists wouldn't be allowed to drive through a red light if there's a sign at the intersection prohibiting it.

The language is probably a reference to the "no turn on red" signs, but taken literally, it begs the question: Isn't a red light meant to prohibit driving through a red light?

* This story has been corrected to indicate other instances in which the budget-writing committee has held a public hearing outside of the State House.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

On Twitter:@stevemistler

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