Good morning and happy Friday.

The legislative schedule is very light today as no committee hearings or meetings are scheduled. Thursday was a relatively busy day, however, a budget briefing by the LePage administration to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee was postponed. That briefing will be held on Thursday.

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The Center for Public Integrity has pulled together a handy list of the top spenders that attempted to influence ballot measures across the U.S. in 2014. Mainers will recognize one of them. The Humane Society of the United States spent $6.1 million on multiple ballot initiatives, including $2.9 million in Maine on Question 1, a ballot measure that would have banned the use of bait, traps and dogs in bear hunting. Voters defeated the proposal, which was initiated by the Humane Society through a signature campaign.

The Humane Society has promised to return to Maine to resume the bear baiting fight. Rep. Stanley Short Jr., D-Pittsfield, wants to make sure another initiative is supported by Mainers. Short is sponsoring a bill that would require Maine residents to collect signatures for a ballot campaign. While the Maine Constitution requires Maine residents gather signatures, outside groups have circumvented the law by acting as “witnesses” to signature gatherers. Short’s bill would close the loophole.

“This bill would ensure that residents of our state are the only ones collecting signatures for referendums that affect Maine citizens,” Short said in a statement. “Out-of-state interests should not be the ones who influence our laws.”

Not coincidentally, the proposal is supported by David Trahan, the executive director for the Maine Sportsman’s Alliance. SAM was among the leading opponents to Question 1, and Trahan in particular has been critical of the witness loophole for ballot measures.

Trahan said Short’s bill will bring transparency to ballot initiatives.

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Speaking of transparency, here’s hoping it’s not a problem for the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.

On Thursday, committee Chairman Sen. David Woodsome, R-York, noted that someone was recording the meeting as the panel was reviewing its rules and procedures for the session. Woodsome questioned how the rules would govern this activity when “things tend to get a little heated” during hearings. He then said that he would have to check the rules.

It’s allowed. So is taking pictures, audio recording, note taking or drawing caricatures of lawmakers.

It’s a public meeting.

Woodsome, who has served three terms on the Waterboro Board of Selectmen, also asked his colleagues on the committee to raise their hand if he “screws up.” Nobody did on Thursday.

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On a seemingly weekly basis, U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, gives the D.C. media a soundbite to chew on. It happened Wednesday, as federal lawmakers responded to the savage murder of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS/ISIL).

“These people are literally living in the eighth century,” King said on CNN’s ‘New Day.’ “I mean, this is Middle Ages — this is Genghis Khan kind of stuff, and I think they’ve overstepped.”

King’s comparing ISIS to Khan isn’t quite spot-on, but it sounds good, probably because people have a fascination with the Mongol leader. Khan is supposedly responsible for the deaths of 40 million people, the human toll as he laid claim to millions of square miles of lands. However, Khan was supposedly a proponent of religious freedom, which ISIS is decidedly against.

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Senate minority leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, along with officials from the Preble Street Resource Center and Portland schools presented a student hunger task force report at the State House Thursday. The report included a number of findings and recommendations, each designed to tackle a food insecurity problem that affects 86,000 students. According to the report, Maine is the No. 1 state in New England in student hunger.

Members of the task force said Thursday that they hoped to change the ranking by increasing public awareness of programs designed to help hungry students. One of the biggest problems, the report found, is participation in the programs that already exist.

“We all are letting Maine’s children down. Today, in all sixteen counties, in every school district across our state, there are thousands of hungry children who go to bed hungry and wake up even hungrier,” Alfond said in a statement.. “We can all agree, wholeheartedly, that we need to make our schools a healthy learning environment. But we must also make sure that our children have the nutritional building blocks for success in school and out on the playground.”

Click here to read the task force’s full report.