Senate turns down vouchers for Maine religious schools

The Maine Senate has rejected a bill from Gov. Paul LePage that would have allowed state tuition vouchers to be used for religious schools.

Senators voted 24-8 against the bill Friday. It was rejected Thursday in the House by a vote of 84 to 59.

The bill sought to repeal a law that says only nonsectarian private schools are allowed to receive public funds for tuition.

Democrats said the bill would have undercut public education by allowing public tax dollars to be used to send some children to private religious schools.

The Legislature’s Education Committee had recommended against the bill’s passage.


LePage vetoes streamlined foreclosure proceedings bill

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill Friday that would streamline foreclosure proceedings.

The bill, L.D. 145, was sponsored by Rep. Roberta Beavers, D-South Berwick.

In his veto letter, LePage said the bill “would add a new burden on our lenders to produce original copies of documents or swear under penalty of perjury why they are not able to.

“This would simply create more paperwork in the foreclosure process with little benefit for Maine people,” he wrote.

Beavers, who spent a year and a half working on the bill, said it would require financial institutions to produce documents up front, which would save time. The bill passed 32-2 in the Senate and 90-54 in the House.

“I feel he gave in to the big banks that caused the financial meltdown of 2008 instead of supporting the people of Maine and helping them stay in their homes,” she said.

It was LePage’s 16th veto of the two-year legislative session. It will appear on the House calendar next week for consideration. The Legislature has never overridden a veto by LePage.


Driver escapes serious injury in rollover on Interstate 295

A South Portland woman escaped serious injury Friday when she lost control of the car she was driving on Interstate 295, slid into the median and rolled over.

Lois Elwell, 58, was driving north at mile 9 in Falmouth at 11:15 a.m. when she lost control of the car as she looked at a rock wall in the median, said Maine State Police Trooper Douglas Cropper. She saw a car to her right, swerved left and lost control, going over an embankment and hitting small trees before the car rolled onto its roof.

Elwell climbed out of the car with help from passers-by and was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for evaluation, Cropper said. Traffic was delayed briefly as rescue workers responded.


Wells man gets prison term for trafficking in marijuana

A Wells man who was described by his attorney, the prosecutor and a federal judge as an unlikely candidate to be called a drug dealer has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for selling marijuana.

Louis Bailey was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to three years and 10 months in prison. He was arrested in August 2010 at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in the southbound lane of Interstate 95 in Old Town.

He and another man had 101 pounds of marijuana in their truck. A search of his home yielded another 188 pounds.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Bailey, 47, apologized to his wife and family for the pain he had caused them. His co-defendant had already pleaded guilty.


Bangor man given 2 months after pleading to sex charge

A Bangor man has been sentenced to two months in jail for having a sex with a 15-year-old girl – a sentence that angered the girl’s mother.

Prosecutors said Jaime Percival, 26, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty to sexual abuse of a minor. Percival and the girl had a sexual relationship from April to June 2011. The age of consent in Maine is 16.

He was sentenced to 18 months behind bars with all but two months suspended. He must register as a sex offender and stay away from the girl, who’s now 16.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the girl’s mother said in a victim impact statement that the sentence was too lenient. The prosecutor defended it, saying it was in line with similar cases in which no force was involved.


Wayne man charged with sexually assaulting a boy

Maine State Police say a Wayne man has been charged with sexually assaulting a boy.

Mark Kimball was charged Thursday with gross sexual assault. Police said the alleged victim is younger than 18, although they did not give an age.

Sgt. Bill Ross told the Kennebec Journal that the alleged assault occurred at the end of February in Carrabassett Valley. State police and Carrabassett Valley police investigated.

Kimball, 60, was held on $50,000 cash bail.