Political news

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Republican leader of the Maine House wants to require testing of private wells that provide drinking water.

Half of Maine's population gets its drinking water from private wells, and the state says it assumes very few of them are routinely tested.

In contrast, public water supplies are tested on a monthly or annual basis, depending on how many customers they serve.

Minority Leader Ken Fredette is sponsoring a bill that would require testing of private wells for pollutants at least once every five years.

It’s a long time until the November 2018 election, but two-term Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn has formed an exploratory committee to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent independent Sen. Angus King.

Brakey says in order to raise money to travel around the state and to test the political waters, a prospective candidate must file an exploratory committee with federal election officials.

AUGUSTA, Maine -  The state’s Economic Forecasting Commission has concluded that 2016 was a strong year for Maine’s economy, but members aren't sure whether that will continue in 2017.

The work of the Economic Forecasting Commission provides the basis for the separate Revenue Forecasting Committee to project state tax receipts next month.  

PORTLAND, Maine - The leaders of eight regional councils that manage fisheries are reaching out to President Donald Trump to express concern over the creation of marine monuments, such as one in the ocean off of New England.
President Barack Obama created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument last year. It's made up of nearly 5,000 square miles of habitat, and is very unpopular with many commercial fishermen.

Gov. Paul LePage has imposed a number of restrictions on welfare recipients through the rulemaking process. Now he’s pushing a proposal that would cement those reforms into law, making it more difficult for future governors to change them.

BAR HARBOR, Maine - Maine's senators say Congress should pass legislation that would make many veterans eligible for a free lifetime pass allowing entry to national parks.
Sen. Angus King, an independent, says the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act would change current laws so all veterans with a service-connected disability would be eligible for the pass. It would also provide access to other lands and waters owned by the U.S. government.

Maine’s New Opiate Limits Could Be Targeted in Lawsuit

Mar 29, 2017
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine — Two midcoast men who suffer from chronic pain informed state officials on Tuesday that they intend to sue over a new law that limits opiate prescriptions in an effort to stem Maine’s addiction crisis if it isn’t changed.

Dozens of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers may have violated a law requiring them to update their public income disclosure when they or their spouse change jobs.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is backing a bill that would make some of his administration's tough welfare regulations into law.
Such restrictions include photographs on electronic benefits cards and denying food assistance to certain households with $5,000 in assets.
The bill would limit a household's eligibility for temporary benefits to three years instead of five years.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she will vote to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage is blasting Republicans in Congress for not supporting House Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Maine law requires candidates and political action committees to quickly report major campaign contributions and expenditures during the two weeks before an election. A new proposal would scrap that requirement so that information would not be available until weeks after Election Day.

How Trump’s Deep Budget Cuts Might Affect Maine Universities

Mar 28, 2017
Linda Coan O'Kresik / Bangor Daily News

ORONO, Maine — Maine’s public university system and its army of researchers are keeping a close eye on the federal budget after many federal agencies that support university research and projects were targeted for significant cuts under President Donald Trump’s preliminary budget.

“We have been studying it,” James Page, chancellor of the University of Maine System, said Monday while addressing the UMS board of trustees. “Its impact on higher ed is extraordinary.”

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says Chairman Devin Nunes should recuse himself from heading the lawmakers' investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California says Nunes should step away from the investigation because of a secret meeting he had with a source last week on the White House grounds.

Outspoken Governor LePage Serves Up Beer for a Good Cause

Mar 28, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's governor is now truly a politician you could get a beer with.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage drew a packed room as he served drinks as a celebrity bartender Monday at the Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell. One dollar for every drink sold goes to a foundation to help wounded veterans set up by former soldier Travis Mills, who lost his limbs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

LePage grinned as he leaned against the bar and took customers' orders. LePage says he used to bartend in his college days but is "a little rusty.''