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Mistrust, Blame Reign As Maine Lawmakers Lurch To Adjournment

A deeply acrimonious legislative session that produced the first state government shutdown in over 25 years lurched to a temporary halt early Thursday, but not before brinkmanship and procedural maneuvers further frayed relationships between House Republicans and House Democrats.

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Lance Armstrong has agreed to pay the federal government $5 million to settle fraud allegations that could have resulted in a nearly $100 million penalty. The U.S. Postal Service, which had sponsored the disgraced cyclist's team, argued that Armstrong defrauded taxpayers by accepting millions from the government agency while using performance-enhancing drugs during competition.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A national health report released this week indicates opioid prescribing has fallen over 13 percent in Maine last year, the sixth steepest drop in the nation.

Health data firm IQVIA’s Institute for Human Data Science released a report Thursday showing an 8.9 percent average drop nationwide in the number of prescriptions for opioids filled by retail and mail-order pharmacies.

The Portland Press Herald reports Maine saw a 13.3 percent drop in opioid prescriptions statewide.

Maine Arts Commission

A student from from Portland's Deering High School took his case against the National Endowment for the Arts to a federal judge in Portland Wednesday.

It's Thursday and time again for Across the Aisle, our weekly politics roundtable. Our analysts this week include Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in the Maine Legislature as a Democrat, and former Republican lawmaker Meredith Strang Burgess, of Burgess Advertising and Marketing. They spoke with Keith Shortall.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

The Justice Department inspector general has asked prosecutors in Washington, D.C., to examine whether former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should face criminal charges.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has referred McCabe to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Washington, D.C., according to a source familiar with the matter. The source asked not to be identified as discussing the sensitive ongoing case.

The number of opioid prescriptions being written by doctors in Maine declined by 32 percent between 2013 and 2017.

In 2017, opioid prescriptions numbers fell by 13.3 percent – the fifth biggest decline in the country.

The numbers released by the American Medical Association come from health data company IQVIA .

"Fewer prescriptions will mean fewer overdose deaths,” says Dr. Noah Nesin, vice president of Medical Affairs with Penobscot Community Health Care in Bangor.

President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has dropped a pair of defamation lawsuits he filed after BuzzFeed News published the infamous Russia dossier last year.

The embattled lawyer isn't conceding anything about the substance of what was detailed in the dossier, which is unverified, but says he has too much else on his plate to proceed now that he is dealing with a federal court case in New York.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," said a lawyer for Cohen, David Schwartz.

Maine health officials are warning state residents that someone is impersonating a child protective services caseworker.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that an incident occurred recently in southern Maine concerning the unidentified impostor. The Portland Press Herald reports the department did not provide any additional information.

Child protective services investigate suspected child abuse and in some cases are tasked with removing children from a home.

Portland Retreats From Contract With Concert Promoter Over Domestic Violence Case

17 hours ago
Troy R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News

The City Council Wednesday rescinded a decision to hire the company of a Maine concert promoter who pleaded guilty to assaulting his former girlfriend, and voted to instead sign a deal with its national partner.

A federal judge has found Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court for disobeying a court order in a case testing that state's controversial proof-of-citizenship voting law.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson says Kobach violated her preliminary injunction to allow some potentially ineligible voters to remain eligible to cast a ballot, pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

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MAINE CALLING

Vaping

Friday—More people—especially teens—are using e-cigarettes in Maine and nationwide. We'll learn about the health effects or vaping—and correct some misconceptions.