Political news

Abukar Adan / Maine Public

Labor activists rallied Thursday in front of Bank of America in Downtown Portland to urge Maine’s local and state leaders to oppose the Republican tax plan.

Supporters of President Donald Trump’s tax cut proposal say it would benefit the middle class. But rally organizers, including Douglas Born of the Southern Maine Labor Council, say the proposed tax cuts heavily favor the top 1 percent.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

The state has lost its bid to purchase a $1.2 million conservation easement to protect a remote plantation of sugar maples in Somerset County.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is the new honorary co-chair of No Labels, a group of Democrats, independents and Republicans that works for nonpartisan solutions to political problems.

Collins told MSNBC that moderates in Washington need to change the way they do business.

“What I have said we need are fanatical moderates to start speaking out and being as energetic and involved as those on the far left and the far right,” she said.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The ballot campaign to expand Medicaid is over. But making sure roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers actually receive that health coverage? Far from it.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led presidential voter fraud commission, claiming that he and other members of the panel are being shut out of the process. Dunlap, who is a Democrat, says GOP leaders on the commission are excluding him from discussions aimed at shaping the group’s agenda.

Maine Not Likely To Face Penalty For Misspending $13.4M In Federal Welfare Funds

Nov 9, 2017
Troy R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News/file

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services spent more than $13 million in federal welfare funds unlawfully in 2015 and 2016, but the state is unlikely to face a financial penalty for the misuse.

WASHINGTON - The bipartisan group No Labels is getting a boost from Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The senators were selected honorary co-chairs of the group this week.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who's a national co-chairman, says the goal of No Labels is to counter "rising political extremism with an aggressive bipartisan push to solve problems.''

Supporters of ranked-choice voting were back at the polls on Tuesday, just one day after Maine’s secretary of state approved their petitions for a people’s veto of a law that delays implementation of ranked-choice voting until 2021.

“We have 90 days to collect 61,123 valid signatures. Upon submitting those signatures, we freeze the law in place as it was approved by voters in Nov. 2016,” says Kyle Bailey, manager of the campaign.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Faced with a choice of two proposals, Portland voters came out overwhelmingly in support of a $64 million bond Tuesday night to renovate four of the city’s public elementary schools.

Nearly two-thirds of Portland residents supported the project, which will renovate the city’s Longfellow, Reiche, Presumpscot and Lyseth elementary schools. Currently, the schools have problems such as overcrowding and unmet structural issues.

Mainers have approved a $105 million transportation bond issue.

The proposal on the Tuesday ballot will bring an estimated $137 million in matching grants. The bulk of the money would be used to improve secondary roads and bridges.

Money would also benefit ports, harbors, marine transportation, aviation, railroad and bicycle and pedestrian trails. A small amount would also go to improving culverts, stream crossings and wildlife habitats.

Mainers have approved a constitutional amendment dealing with the state pension system.

The ballot question on Tuesday dealt with amortization of pension losses.

Many voters were confused by the wording of the ballot question, but it still won support.

The idea was to stretch from 10 years to 20 years the time required to pay back any unfunded liability that was created by investment losses. The state says the extended timeline would insulate the system from shifts in the economy while still protecting the public retirement system.

The husband of the late state Rep. Gina Mason has won a special election to fill her seat.

Richard Mason, a Republican, beat Democrat Scott Gaiason on Tuesday in the election in House District 56, which includes Lisbon.

The seat was left empty when Gina Mason died on Sept. 5 at age 57. The winner will serve out her term, through November 2018.

The Masons’ son is Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, who’s running for governor.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Lewiston and Auburn voters rejected a proposal to merge the Twin Cities on Tuesday night.

Since April 2017, the issue has been fiercely debated. Supporters of the idea argued merging would eliminate bureaucratic redundancies and spur economic development. But their arguments failed to convince voters, who were skeptical of the projected savings and feared logistical and political challenges that might arise.

Gene Geiger, who has been working on a consolidation plan for three years, said he’s disappointed by the outcome but that he’ll move on.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Voters overwhelmingly approved Question 2, which will extend Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to more than 70,000 people.

Andrew Catalina / Maine Public

For nearly two years, the York county casino campaign and international casino developer Shawn Scott have been undeterred by neither cost nor controversy. But on Tuesday, Scott, who has been roundly criticized for commercializing Maine’s citizen initiative process, ran into the one thing that could stop him: Maine voters.