Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Angus King helps lead effort on student loan rates
Three senators come up with a possible compromise that could help students avoid an extra $1,000 each year in costs for loans taken for classes this fall.
Jeb Bush to headline July re-election campaign event for LePage
The brother of one president and the son of another, as well as a possible 2016 candidate himself, Bush will appear at an event hosted by a who's who of Maine Republicans.
Maine Senate switches to support encouraging gun background checks
But the bill has little Republican support, setting up a likely veto from Gov. Paul LePage.
Collins seeks to revise Obamacare definition of full-time worker
Maine's Republican senator says the existing law creates a 'perverse incentive' for businesses to cut employee hours.
Hospitals: Maine Medicaid expansion would help
By insuring more people, the bill, still viable with an override of Gov. LePage's veto, could offset the escalating costs of free care, they say.
LePage issues new policy: No more talking to 3 newspapers
The policy comes after a series of articles about the Department of Environmental Protection.
Background checks nixed from Maine gun-control measure
But Rep. Mark Dion, proponent of a tougher bill, vows to patiently pursue the cause.
LePage threatens veto of wide-ranging energy bill
The governor wants to support a UMaine offshore wind pilot project over that of a Norwegian company, but a sponsor says failure to pass the bill would undermine other energy initiatives as well.
Attempt to strengthen Maine mining laws likely fails
The Senate's rejection of further safeguards to existing legislation likely dooms the effort.
Rival plan to LePage's grading system likely to fail
Despite legislative support, Rep. Rebecca's Millett's alternative bill won't be veto-proof.
Report: 8 million to gain legal status in Senate immigration bill
The Congressional Budget Office said deficits would fall by $197 billion across a decade, and by $700 billion in the following 10 years if the bill became law.
Initial OK given to widen duties of Maine hygienists
Proponents say Maine's dentist shortage is especially pronounced in rural areas.
Maine bill would raise snowmobile registration fees
The measure, which would help fund the maintenance of trails, likely would be vetoed by Gov. LePage.
Maine House sustains LePage long-term care veto
The bill would have directed the state to study issues related to long-term care insurance, including ways to prevent unfair discrimination based on gender.
Maine Senate approves restrictions on police use of drones
But the approved bill ignores a committee’s recommendation that rules be developed first.
Maine leaders try and fail to dilute recycling's success
'Product stewardship' regulations – even those with industry and bipartisan support – meet staunch resistance from, among others, a commissioner with former ties to corporate interests.
Portland will discuss legalizing pot
The City Council's public hearing comes in response to a petition for legalized recreational marijuana.
LePage's finance chief wants to avoid government shutdown
But he has no firm answer on the state's bond rating and says there is no 'plan B' if the the governor successfully vetoes the budget.
Political parties split in response to newspaper series
Democratic leaders contemplate investigative action, while their Republican counterparts say Maine DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho was 'balancing the needs of our economy.'
LePage vetoes bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan
The bill would extend health insurance to more than 60,000 low-income Mainers under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Maine insurance bills pass, but face likely vetoes
One proposal aims to prevent insurance companies from charging higher rates in some rural areas.
Maine Senate approves weakened gun bill, disappointing advocates
One group is considering pushing for a statewide referendum to ask voters to mandate background checks for all gun sales.
Maine lawmakers uphold LePage veto on five bills
The measures cover topics including timber harvesting and the licensing of recreational therapists.
Maine lawmakers in final days, but key issues unresolved
Lawmakers await word from Gov. LePage on whether he'll veto the two-year state budget and a bill to expand Medicaid.
Maine Legislature passes partial rollback of GOP health-care law
But the chance of vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage looms large, as only five Republicans in both chambers break ranks to back one bill and none back the other.
House expected to take up dental bill this week
Most hygienists support the measure that would allow them to provide additional services.
New Maine laws will affect many
State finances have been getting most of the attention this Legislative session, but plenty of other bills have been passed.
State House Notebook: LePage 'cordial' in talks on key bills
While public bickering remains intense, he shows restraint in meetings with House and Senate leaders.
Washington Notebook: Maine's footwear factories get a leg up
Maine's New Balance factories – among the few athletic shoe facilities left in the U.S. – received good news on two separate fronts last week.
Bill Nemitz: LePage's hot air forms cloud over Maine
Dear Governor LePage . . .
Iranians elect moderate president
Hasan Rowhani's landslide victory is seen as a rebuke to hard-line policies that left the nation isolated.
History, geography factors for Michaud in governor's race
Candidates from Maine's rural 2nd District often have had no trouble winning statewide races.
Sen. Collins calls NSA surveillance effort fair, useful
She tells the World Affairs Council that the program has thwarted terrorist attacks and does not threaten privacy.
Maine bill would lift pesticide ban for marijuana plants
The measure will take effect as soon as it is signed by Gov. LePage, whose administration supports it.
LePage signs Maine hospital debt payment plan
The governor says he'll also issue $105 million in voter-approved bonds dating back to 2009.
U.S. House passes sweeping $638 billion defense bill
Maine's Democratic Reps. Michael Michaud (for) and Chellie Pingree (against) split their votes.
Maine House OKs bill to help needy out of poverty
The 'ticket to work' aims to address employment issues for people who receive public assistance.
Maine senator from Orono to seek 2nd District seat
Democrat Emily Cain is one of several candidates eyeing U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud's post.
Michaud closer to joining governor race
The congressman takes steps to gauge voter support before deciding whether to take on Gov. LePage and Cutler in 2014.
Maine lawmakers pass two-year budget; fate uncertain
The vote margins are just enough to have the plan go into effect on July 1, but a veto threat remains.
If Michaud's seat opens, scramble's on
The rumblings about possible candidates to fill Mike Michaud's House seat became discernibly louder Thursday.
LePage tells man ‘I’ve done my part’ in response to Lewiston fires letter
LePage also says he's forgiven Lewiston for $400,000 in loans, which city officials say they know nothing about.
GMO labeling bill clears legislative hurdle, but industry fight foreseen
Maine is on track to join several other states attempting to require food producers to label food containing genetically modified ingredients following a landslide vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Bill requiring pawnbrokers to photograph items goes to LePage
A bill, sponsored by Rep. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro, to curb property theft by requiring pawnbrokers to photograph items they receive is awaiting Gov. Paul LePage’s signature.
Plan to repay Maine hospital debt approved
The bill, passed unanimously by the state House and Senate, now awaits Gov. LePage's signature.
Medicare's prognosis a bit less dire
Insolvency is postponed for two years, but changes are still needed, federal officials say.
Maine Senate rejects 'gun show loophole' bill
The proposal calls for background checks by private sellers at shows, but that's too small a problem for concern, foes say.
'Shoot her' suggestion condemned
A comment about Sen. Collins on a conservative conference call will be probed to determine if it was 'humor' or a threat.
Maine same-sex marriage foes must ID donors
A national group loses its final bid to shield the names of those who helped kill Maine's law in 2009.
Rhode Island Gov. Chafee poised to join Democrats
The former Republican senator became an independent in 2007, the year after he lost re-election to the U.S. Senate. He was elected as the nation's only independent governor in 2010.
Utilities commission votes to audit CMP smart meter program
The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Thursday to undertake an audit of Central Maine Power Co.’s smart meter program, to determine if the program is saving money and providing the benefits that were expected when the agency ...
LePage loses full funding Medicaid request
The federal government will not provide 10 years of 100 percent support for a Maine Medicaid expansion, but it will still provide most of the money.
Maine compromise on Medicaid at risk of veto
The House joins the Senate in voting to expand MaineCare, but Republican support falls short of being veto-proof.
House rejects 3 bills limiting abortion
Three abortion-related bills failed by solid margins in the Maine House after emotional debates.
Bill would woo movie, TV production companies with tax break
A bill before the Legislature, offering an income tax break on some film productions, might prompt Hollywood to reconsider Maine as a destination for their TV shows and movies.
Maine commission unanimously approves redistricting
Based on compromise, their work paves the way for likely passage by the House and Senate.
Maine cellphone-privacy law is America's first
Police must get warrants before they can access location information, the new law says.
Maine Democrats: Suspend $400 million tax cuts
Democrats say balancing the budget with cuts alone is irresponsible, but LePage vows to veto any bill that rolls back those tax breaks.
LePage irate about 'stifling' of his words
'We might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out,' the governor says.
Maine advocates: Stop cutting early childhood education
They say such spending would save the state public-assistance and law-enforcement money in the future, but it continues to be a low priority in Maine.
Obama considers Republican FBI head
The former Justice Department official is seen as unmoved by political pressures.
Maine Republicans defeat Medicaid, hospital payback bill
The governor's adamant that Medicaid expansion and hospital repayment be separate matters.
Financial protection for Maine's elderly advances
The House passes a bill to deter assets exploitation as Maine prepares for a surge in its population of seniors.
LePage looked at ending school laptop program
He doubted its value to schools but was persuaded to let it continue, the Press Herald learns from emails as districts deal with related headaches.
Sen. King moves into permanent office space
WASHINGTON -- Maine's U.S. Sen. Angus King and his staff are busy packing and unpacking boxes once again this week -- this time to move into permanent digs.
Supreme Court stays out of Planned Parenthood funding case
Now Indiana will likely stop defending a law that stripped Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood, which could also affect other states' decisions.
LePage says he prefers shutdown over budget plan
AUGUSTA -- Gov. Paul LePage told a television station Wednesday that he preferred a shutdown of state government over the bipartisan $6.3 billion budget crafted by lawmakers.
Mainers nonplussed by NSA wiretapping revelations
A National Security Agency program that collects the phone records of milions of Americans is none too popular on the streets of Portland.
LePage smoking veto upheld, as trend emerges
House Republicans switching their positions after a LePage veto is becoming a theme in this legislative session.
Candidate challenges Michaud to decide on governor's race
Democrat Steve Woods says it's time for his party to make some decisions.
New rules proposed for investigating leaks
Sen. Chuck Schumer says that a bipartisan group of eight senators is forming to look at his proposal.
State House Notebook: Republicans change votes to sustain LePage vetoes
Who is press? / Running, 'but not really' / Tax talk
Lawmakers step up pressure on military footwear
If members of the armed forces are required to buy American-made products, it could benefit Maine's New Balance factories.
LePage: From now on, only I will testify
The unusual directive to his department heads is seen as the latest move in ongoing clash between the governor and lawmakers.
Maine lawmakers grapple with falling gas tax revenues
Transportation advocates say the state needs to find new sources for upkeep of the state's highways.
Immigration reform effort falls short, Leahy says
The Vermont senator says Republicans vowed to scuttle the bill if it included his amendment, which protects gay couples who can't marry.
Maine Omnibus Energy Bill cleared by committee
The bill aims to support expanding natural-gas pipelines and fund energy-efficiency efforts.
Both sides deadlocked on hospitals, Medicaid
Democrats and Gov. Paul LePage remain at odds over whether the issues should be separated.
Message changed on TV outside LePage's office
The governor continues to work out of his residence Friday.
Records confidentiality bill rejected by House
AUGUSTA -- A bill to expand the confidentiality of records from 911 emergency calls was killed Thursday as the House rejected it without a roll-call vote, following the lead of the Senate, which rejected the bill Wednesday.
Rep. Bachmann says she won't run for re-election
The conservative firebrand who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year announced her decision in a video on her website.
LePage signs bill requiring Maine organ donation checkoff box
The optional $2 donation would fund education about organ donations.
King, Collins report substantial assets
The financial disclosure statements from Maine's senators show both are well-off financially, with King worth as much as $26 million.
Fuss over LePage's TV exceeds trivial dispute
LePage tells reporters and Democrats he will move out of the State House because of the disagreement.
Bill Nemitz: LePage's tempest in a TV-gate
Dear Governor: Is all this absurdity really your attempt to pull our attention away from a serious public-policy issue?
Maine Medicaid bill meets its fate: passed, vetoed
Minutes after Democrats' symbolic victory, LePage wipes it out and calls for a different bill to repay Maine's hospital debt.
Maine bill to lower power costs up for vote
It has strong support in committee, but a planned new fee draws criticism.
King co-sponsors bill requiring independent drone strike analysis
The legislation would require the creation of a “red team” to analyze data purporting to support a “targeted strike” against U.S.. citizens and report back to intelligence agencies within 15 days.
Maine's supreme court dismisses Nader lawsuit
The Green Party candidate had claimed Democrats tried to keep him off the presidential ballot in 2004.
Maine panel rejects two LePage education bills
The panel votes not to support student transfers out of struggling schools or more than 10 charters.
House links student loan rates to markets
One Republican calls the bill a starting point for negotiations with the Senate and White House.
IRS official takes Fifth; no evidence senior managers involved
The boss of tax workers who improperly screened conservative groups says she did nothing wrong.
No deal in sight to rescue Maine health bill
Gov. LePage looks poised to veto the popular hospital payback plan in order to block Medicaid expansion.
Michaud: Backlog of veterans' claims 'unacceptable'
With Memorial Day near, lawmakers are stepping up efforts to address a backlog that has some veterans waiting years to receive disability claims.
Bill Nemitz: Standing up to a master of tantrums
It's all downhill from here for state Sen. Dawn Hill...