Political news

Mainers will see a significant increase in their state income taxes unless the Legislature takes swift action this session.

The sweeping tax reform bill passed in December will reduce federal income taxes for most Mainers, but because the state piggybacks its own income tax on the federal code, the changes will result in major increases in state income taxes.

Finance Commissioner Alec Porteous gave the bad news to a joint meeting of the Legislature’s Appropriations and Taxation committees.

Jim Mone / AP Photo

The Maine House has failed to extend a moratorium on the recreational marijuana market, voting 81-65 to oppose a bill extending the moratorium that expired Thursday until May 1.

It has been over a year since Maine voters legalized the sale of recreational marijuana. But state lawmakers continue to disagree about how the retail market should operate, and others don’t want to see it created at all.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District has raised more than $2 million for his re-election campaign, well outpacing his opponents.

Reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission indicate that Poliquin, the sole Republican in the race, has raised nearly $2.2 million.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

Maine school districts learned Wednesday how much state funding they will be getting from the state this year, a crucial factor administrators use to calculate their districts' annual budgets.  

The yearly allocations are based on the state budget passed in July. That bill included an increase of $162 million for education funding, for a grand total of $1.1 billion.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Board of Pharmacy is set to discuss making an overdose-reversing drug available without a prescription.
Maine lawmakers in 2016 passed a bill to make naloxone available without a doctor's prescription, but the law languished as regulators said lawmakers needed to change its wording for it to become effective.
Lawmakers fixed the law last year, but the latest rules have stalled for months.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address to Congress at 9 p.m. Tuesday, which was followed by a response from the Democratic Party.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

At the end of a wide-ranging interview on Maine Public’s call-in show, Maine Calling, Gov. Paul LePage was asked how the history books will depict his two terms in office.

The governor paused briefly before rattling off a series of fiscally-focused accomplishments.

“I believe I’ve done what I said I would do and turn the state around financially. That was my goal. I’ve done it,” he said.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Maine's congressional delegation is expressing mixed reactions to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press File

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union.

In announcing their decision, Democratic leaders in Congress called Kennedy a “relentless fighter for working Americans.”

Maine Public

A regional environmental group is suing Gov. Paul LePage over a moratorium on wind power development he imposed last week.

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is asking a Cumberland County superior court to strike down the moratorium on Constitutional grounds.

"He's totally usurped the legislative process here," says Sean Mahoney, CLF's director for the state. Mahoney says that by suspending the state's existing framework for wind development, LePage is violating the principle of separation of powers.

Gov. Paul LePage said he opposes rules that will allow pharmacists to dispense the overdose revival drug Narcan, because these rules would also allow 18-year-olds to buy and administer the drug, while they are still unable to purchase cigarettes or alcohol.

LePage told Maine Public call-in show host Jennifer Rooks that he'll oppose the new Narcan rules unless “everything else is 18.”

Rooks asked, “But if cigarettes and alcohol stay 21, you're not going to support it?”

Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage told Maine Calling that he has no plans to endorse any of the candidates vying to replace him when his term expires next year.

LePage was asked by the Maine Public call-in program host Jennifer Rooks if he will back Republican candidate Shawn Moody. Lauren LePage, the governor's daughter, is working for Moody's campaign, as are former members of LePage's campaigns, including his top political advisor.

Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage asserted that the deliberations of his new wind energy commission will not be exempt from Maine's public meeting law, even though the executive order he signed Jan. 24 states that it is.

During the Maine Public call-in program Maine Calling, LePage characterized reports that the special commission’s meetings will be shielded from the press and public are "fake news."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Four protesters rallying in support of solar power have been arrested during a demonstration at the Central Maine Power headquarters.
The Kennebec Journal reports members of a group called "Speak The Truth to CMP'' and Quaker Meetings held a protest at the utility company's headquarters in Augusta Monday afternoon. The four refused to leave following trespassing warnings.
Quaker Meetings says in a news release that group was organizing a "Solar Counterlobby'' to protest CMP's involvement with net metering.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage said people who're not old enough to buy cigarettes shouldn't have access to the overdose antidote naloxone at pharmacies.
The Republican governor told New England Cable News that he opposes the 18-year-old age threshold in the rules because Maine has raised the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. LePage said he believed the age for naloxone should also be 21.
The naloxone law was passed last year, but the rules have stalled.