Political news

A judge has ordered Maine's secretary of state to reopen a probe into Republican U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn's petition to be on the ballot.

The judge told Secretary of State Matt Dunlap on Friday to accept new evidence from the campaign of Eric Brakey of Auburn, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for U.S. Senate.

Both candidates are seeking to challenge incumbent independent U.S. Sen. Angus King. Democrat Zak Ringelstein has also entered the race.

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.


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.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers are working overtime as the House GOP resists efforts to give the Legislature five extra days to work on tax code reform, bonds and Medicaid expansion.

Lawmakers worked into early Thursday though their official last day was Wednesday.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon said early Thursday that lawmakers would get one extra day after all because legislators worked past midnight of their last day without objection. Some House Republicans questioned her statement.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District questioned Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Wednesday about proposed cuts in the agency’s budget that could affect organic farmers.

The House Appropriations Committee is holding hearings on the Agriculture Department budget, and Pingree serves on the subcommittee that oversees agriculture. She told Perdue the agency should not decrease funding for programs that have helped organic farmers.

The Maine Supreme Court has appeared to clear the way for a first of its kind election. The court Tuesday removed the final roadblock to implementing ranked-choice voting for the June primaries. Ranked-choice advocates say the court's opinion will preempt the kind of legal challenges that have followed the law ever since voters enacted it nearly two years ago. But others warn that additional litigation looms.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

A regular Tuesday night city council meeting in Waterville turned into a heated show of political and personal tensions, centered around the city’s embattled Republican Mayor Nick Isgro.

Isgro has faced public scrutiny after tweeting “Eat it Hogg,” referring to David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland school shooting. The tweet came in response to a story that Fox News had decided to support conservative host Laura Ingraham, who had also disparaged Hogg.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court says the nation’s first statewide ranked-choice voting election can go forward in the June primaries.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine is urging top Navy officials to find more ships to help interdict drugs coming into the country.

King says there are only enough ships to prevent 25 percent of the known drug shipments coming into the country, and called it a matter of national defense. At a budget hearing Tuesday, he urged Navy officials to divert some warships from current missions to help stop the flow of drugs that are killing Americans every day.

A measure that would have given voters the chance to amend the state constitution and change how citizen initiative questions get on the ballot is dead — at least for this session.

On Tuesday, the Maine Senate approved the measure by the two-thirds needed to send a constitutional amendment to voters, but the House didn’t.

Maine Lawmakers Send Pot Sales Bill To Gov, Who Vows To Veto It

Apr 17, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Legislators in Maine have sent a compromise bill governing marijuana retail sales to Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who has vowed to veto it.
The Senate gave final approval to the bill Tuesday. LePage recently said he'd veto it because it won't combine medical and adult-use marijuana programs. But votes in the House and Senate suggest lawmakers may have the two-thirds support needed in each chamber to override him.
LePage has 10 days to sign, veto or let it go into law without his signature.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Lawmakers have a shrinking window to consider competing tax proposals by Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democrats.
Democrats revealed a $52 million plan Tuesday to update Maine's tax code, while providing property relief and credits for employer-paid family leave.
LePage wants to use a budgetary surplus for roughly $90 million in tax breaks. He proposes cutting the top corporate tax rate from 8.93 to 8.33 percent and creating a $500 child and dependent tax credit.

Some low-income parents in Maine could soon get help paying for higher education costs. 

The $2.1 million bill became law Tuesday after receiving broad bipartisan support, although it went unsigned by Gov. Paul LePage.

As a result, parents in households earning 185 percent or less of the federal poverty level - or $46,000 a year for a family of four - could receive funds to pay for post-secondary education programs in specific fields, such as health care, technology and engineering.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine legislators will vote on a bill this week aimed at protecting the elderly from tax lien foreclosures.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the bill is heading in the right direction, and says he will not give up on making further changes to the bill while it's on the floor in the House and Senate. The Morning Sentinel reports taxation committee members this week debated the language in the bill; some say it would place an unfair burden on municipalities that already help elderly people.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine election officials are deciding how to use up to $3.3 million in federal funds to help increase election security.
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine announced the funding. Both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee that delved into the issue of election security following evidence of attempted tampering of U.S. voting systems by Russian operatives.