Political news

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Sen. Angus King is stepping up his criticism of the House Republicans' proposed health care reform bill.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, King said the House was moving the bill too quickly, without adequate review. King, an independent, says the measure would cost Maine's aging population more money and reduce benefits for many, while providing a tax break for the rich.

"The pattern is shift and shaft - shift the cost and shaft the people who need the coverage," King said.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is chairing a Senate hearing today on how the country should deal with its deteriorated infrastructure. 

Joining her at the Washington hearing is Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt, who's heading a national association of transportation officials.

Bernhardt spoke of the importance assured federal funding.

Proposal to Protect Maine Farm Animals Likely to Fail

Mar 8, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine - A proposal designed to protect farm animals in Maine from animal cruelty appears likely to fail.
Ellsworth attorney and animal welfare advocate Christina Perkins made the proposal. She wants to remove a clause from state law that allows farmers to use adherence to best management practices as a defense against charges of animal cruelty.

PORTLAND, Maine - GOP Gov. Paul LePage is telling Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan that the country needs a truly conservative, free-market replacement of former President Barack Obama's signature health care law.
In a Tuesday letter to Ryan, LePage says he's not encouraged by the House GOP proposal and said it appears congressional Republicans are "catering to big-government lobbyists and politicians in states that took Obamacare's welfare-expansion bait.''
The governor wants a complete rollback of Medicaid expansion for non-disabled adults.

AUGUSTA, Maine  — A plan to create a lottery system to allow new people into Maine's lucrative baby eel fishery is up for a key legislative committee vote.

State lawmakers are considering starting a lottery system to replace fishermen who leave the elver fishery. The baby eels are fished from rivers and streams to be sold to Asian aquaculture companies so they can be used as food.

Both lawmakers and industry members have spoken out in favor of the rule change so far. It will come up for a potential vote before the Committee on Marine Resources on Wednesday afternoon.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - The plan by U.S. House Republican leaders to replace the Affordable Care Act is coming under fire from an unlikely source - Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

AUGUSTA, Maine - In his annual state of the Maine National Guard address, Brig. Gen. Doug
Farnham told lawmakers there will likely be future guard deployments around the world.  

But Farnham says voters' recent decision to legalize recreational marijuana will make Guard recruitment more difficult.

“Marijuana use complicates enlisting in the military, can affect the ability to get security clearances and cannot be used by military members. As we move forward I am concerned that it will become even more difficult for many to make good choices.”

FEC Questions Other Spending by Linda Bean PAC Backing Trump

Mar 7, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Federal Elections Commission is questioning last-minute expenditures by a pro-Donald Trump super PAC linked to L.L. Bean heiress Linda Bean.
The FEC says the Making Maine Great Again PAC may have violated 24-hour reporting rules. Previously, the FEC asked the PAC to clarify contributions that appeared to be too large, and the PAC acknowledged reporting errors.
Linda Bean's contributions garnered calls for a national boycott of L.L. Bean and a tweet from Trump supporting the Freeport, Maine-based outdoors retailer.

Francois Mori / Associated Press/file

BANGOR, Maine - Best-selling author Stephen King is proving he can cook up a short story in 130-character increments.
King took to Twitter to ridicule Republican President Donald Trump's claim that his predecessor tapped the phones at Trump Tower before the election.

Caroline Losneck / Maine Public/file

Tonight, the Portland Board of Education will hold a hearing on resolutions that supporters say are intended to protect students from hate speech and to assure that teachers can speak freely about political issues in class.

The Maine Republican Party has followed through with an unusual public records request to Portland’s three high schools.

The GOP’s Freedom of Access request covers any email, texts or written correspondence between central office staff and members of the city council, the school board, the Legislature and certain individuals that concern several Casco Bay High School students who were harassed while waiting for a bus on Jan. 27 as well as the schools’ response to the incident.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine -  Several hundred people turned out at Hannaford Hall on the University of Southern Maine campus Sunday evening for a "listening session" with independent Maine Sen. Angus King about the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The crowd was so large that an overflow room had to be set up outside the auditorium.

State lawmakers are considering a move that could draw the backers of a controversial casino proposal out of the shadows.

The leading Democrat and Republican on the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee say they hope a public hearing on the York County casino referendum will help answer several questions about the campaign and a gambling developer with a checkered past.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state ethics commission says it will keep investigating a Democratic lawmaker who didn't return roughly $2,600 in unspent public campaign funds for two months.
The Portland Press Herald reports that Rep. Dillon Bates ended up returning the funds after the commission contacted him 11 times between December and February.
The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices on Friday said Bates didn't misuse the funds but voted to continue investigating him.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine-issued driver's license won't be enough to board a domestic flight next year without legislative action.
A public hearing is scheduled Tuesday for a bill that would have the state comply with federal requirements that have raised privacy concerns in past years. The state Secretary of State's office says compliance could cost at least $1 million to $3 million.
Maine passed a 2007 law barring compliance with a 2005 federal law that created security standards for driver's licenses.