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Haven Daley / Associated Press

Lawmakers Have Lots of Ideas For How to Spend Proceeds from Taxing Pot Sales

When recreational marijuana is available for retail sale in Maine sometime next year, it will generate an estimated $12 million a year in tax revenue.

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Former President Obama took a victory lap Thursday on seventh anniversary of his signature health care law even as Republicans had planned to formally begin the process of gutting it in celebration.

But now, it's the GOP replacement plan that remains on life support. Republicans postponed a planned evening vote in the House, denying them a symbolic chance to make good on their years-long promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

It's Thursday and we are talking politics on Across the Aisle. This week, Dick Woodbury, an economist and former independent legislator; Mike Cianchette, an attorney and former chief counsel to Gov. Paul LePage; and public affairs consultant David Farmer, who served as deputy chief of staff for Gov. John Baldacci.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Finding a pack of blueberries these days is as easy as pie — they’re plentiful in both the fresh and frozen sections of the supermarket. But while the supply is high, the market price has taken a dive, and that has growers feeling blue.

A new report from the Maine Permanent Commission on the Status of Women says the state should do more to make sure children get affordable early childhood education and more opportunities to pursue jobs in higher-paying science, technology, engineering or math fields.

But acting commission Chairwoman Regina Rooney says educators shouldn’t just seek to funnel girls into traditionally male-dominated fields.

In 1921, an ad in The Seattle Times touted a brand new candy called "Aplets," a new confection made "from the finest Washington apples and honey and walnuts." A few years later, Aplets were joined by "Cotlets," a similar candy made from an apricot base. In most of the world, "Aplets & Cotlets" were based on a treat called lokum, a word derived from Arabic, but the British and Americans know it as "Turkish delight."

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would give them, and the public, more time to review a state budget before they are asked to vote on it.

For years, lawmakers have complained about receiving the hundreds of pages of a state budget often just hours before they vote on it. Rep. Steve Woods, a Republican from Greene, says that needs to change.

“This is my fourth term, and every year we get the budget the morning before we have to vote on it. It does not give you time enough to review the budget thoroughly,” he says.

State lawmakers are evaluating a new proposal to ease traffic congestion in Portland’s western suburbs. The Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Thursday heard testimony on a bill that would allow the Maine Turnpike Authority to build a five-mile connector to mitigate traffic jams in the Gorham-Scarborough area.

Rep. Andrew McLean, a Democrat from Gorham, is the lead sponsor of the bill. He says population and new housing units have exploded in Portland’s suburbs as the cost of living in the city has increased.

Meals on Wheels brings food to hundreds of thousands of homebound seniors and people with disabilities. But President Trump's proposed budget has this community-based program, like many others, facing cuts.

On a hazy morning, Alan Zebker and and Vicki Kysella are organizing packages of food in the back of Zebker's SUV. They're volunteers with Meals on Wheels West in Santa Monica.

They've got their routine down.

"Alan packs the bags; I make the deliveries," Kysella says.

"When she's delivering, I pack more bags," Zebker says.

LEWISTON, Maine - The Maine affiliate of Susan G. Komen, an organization dedicated to combating breast cancer, is closing after 20 years. 

Former director Victoria Abbott says declining participation in Komen's largest fundraisers - its races - forced the branch in Bangor to close.

"This year we had 1,700 participants, which was down 1,100 from last year - it was 2,800," Abbott says. "And then we were down about a thousand from the year before."

Abbott says the Bangor branch will close at the end of the month.  

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine is dealing with so many drug overdose deaths that the state medical examiner is asking for more money to handle the workload.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the additional money is required both because of the greater numbers of tests and the sophisticated level of testing that's needed because of the types of drugs involved.

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