Political news

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced Monday she’s opposed to both versions of the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he may use a provision of the Maine Constitution to remove any sheriff who does not cooperate with federal officials on enforcement of immigration laws. But the two sheriffs LePage is angry with say they are following the law.

Maine Schools Say Toxic Political Climate Is Driving Away International Students

18 hours ago
Ashley L. Conti / Bangor Daily News

Several Maine high schools say they’ve never had such a hard time finding students from abroad to help fill out their classrooms.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Republican Gov. Paul LePage flew to Washington D.C. Friday to help the White House lobby U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to support a controversial bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Consumers in the U.S. are buying more organic products than ever before — organic food sales now make up more than 5 percent of the total market, and the industry continues to see record growth.

But Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District is worried about what she said are inadequate standards and inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for organic imports.

As a GOP-crafted bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act heads toward a vote in the U.S. Senate, those who are fighting the opioid epidemic are urging lawmakers to reject the proposal.

A Biddeford lawmaker is leaving the Democratic Party. Rep. Martin Grohman says he will finish out his term as an independent.

Grohman, who manages a roofing company, says he's felt too restricted by Democratic leaders' efforts to get the caucus to vote as a bloc.

"Our state needs to fix, not fight. We've got serious issues to resolve. We need legislators who can cross the partisan divide who are beholden first and foremost to the Maine people, and not to a particular political party," he says.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is moving to acquire a $1.2 million conservation easement to protect a remote plantation of sugar maples — meaning it could soon become a stakeholder in Maine’s maple syrup industry.

Lewiston residents had their say Thursday night on whether their city should merge with neighboring Auburn.

It’s Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on politics. This week, Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in the Legislature as a Democrat; Dick Woodbury, and economist and former independent lawmaker; and Meredith Strang-Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, who served at the State House as a Republican.

The debate over who’s responsible for abandoned and discontinued roads continued before the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee Thursday.

“We’ve decided to have MMA (Maine Municipal Association), a group of managers and other parties and our legal staff come up with something they can reach consensus on,” says Rep. Danny Martin, a Democrat from Sinclair who co-chairs the committee.

The issue has been around for years. Homeowners on roads that have been abandoned or discontinued by the town or county are facing lawsuits over who should maintain those roads.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Thursday that she has many reservations about the Cassidy-Graham bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but she hasn't yet decided whether to support or reject the legislation.

Collins said first she wants to see the Congressional Budget Office's analysis, due out early next week. “I‘ve been reluctant to take a final position on this bill because I have been given numbers that are widely divergent,” Collins said Thursday morning, at an event in Augusta.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says he wants to make it easier for more people to vote by moving Election Day to the weekend.
The Rhode Island Democrat is introducing legislation called the Weekend Voting Act, which would move federal Election Day from the first Tuesday in November to the first full weekend.
Reed says Tuesday voting is an outdated and arcane practice established in 1845 because it was easiest for farmers who traveled by horse and buggy.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's two senators are part of a push to increase funding for American agriculture promotion programs.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King say a bill they are helping to introduce would help American farmers get an edge in the world market. They say the bill aims to revitalize the U.S. Department of Agriculture's export promotion programs.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Bangor residents turned out in force Tuesday evening to let their city councilors know that they strongly oppose a plan by Gov. Paul LePage to build a 21-bed “step-down” forensic psychiatric facility on Hogan Road.

Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci said safety concerns, residents'  fears over potentially reduced property values and the administration's refusal to provide details about the plan are all the reasons he needs to seek a moratorium against the construction of any new forensic facility in the city.