Political news

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A petition drive has been launched to recall Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro after calls for his resignation over the past week.

Courtesy Grohman campaign

Marty Grohman, an independent state representative from Biddeford, announced Tuesday that he's running for the 1st Congressional District seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree.

Grohman, a businessman and second-term legislator in the House, unenrolled from the Democratic party last year.

Grohman said he's running to become a voice of reason in a Congress paralyzed by partisan gridlock.

Parents, teachers and students packed the seats of a legislative hearing Monday to voice their opinions about two bills that would drastically change — or even repeal — Maine’s move toward proficiency-based diplomas.

Six years ago, legislators passed a law saying that for students to receive a diploma in Maine, they must reach proficiency in up to eight content areas ranging from English and math to health and art. This year’s freshmen are expected to be the first to graduate with the diplomas.

Health groups and providers were out in force to urge lawmakers to fund the expansion of Medicaid in Maine as approved by state voters last year.

There are currently about a quarter of a million Mainers covered by Medicaid, and voters approved an expansion to cover about 80,000 more. At a hearing on the bill to implement the expansion, health care providers joined some uninsured Mainers in urging lawmakers to support funding for the measure.

Maria Pineo of South Portland says she needs expensive medications every day and Medicaid has been a lifesaver for her.

The Maine Senate has upheld Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of bipartisan legislation that would ensure that Mainers are covered for some basic health insurance benefits should the Affordable Care Act be repealed by Congress.

The measure would have required health insurers in Maine to cover pre-existing conditions. Sen. Brownie Carson, a Democrat from Harpswell, argued to override the veto.

“It prevents health insurance companies from declining or cutting off people because of a pre-existing condition," Carson said.


A Superior Court judge has declined to weigh in on how a Washington County prison should be operated, after Gov. Paul LePage emptied the facility in February. 

David Webbert, an Augusta attorney representing laid-off workers at the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, filed the request for clarification with Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Republicans are criticizing Democrats for blocking an effort to hold a public hearing on a ballot question to raise taxes to provide home care for elderly and disabled people needing help with daily activities.
The referendum is now headed for the November ballot after lawmakers failed to pass it.
Republican Assistant House Leader Ellie Espling says voters deserve a public hearing to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the effort. She says the cost of the effort was downplayed in early signature-gathering efforts.

AP Photo

It was a chaotic week for those attempting to follow developments of Maine's ranked-choice voting law. And it's still unclear how all of this is going to shake out.

Political correspondent Steve Mistler joined Nora Flaherty on Maine Things Considered to get us up to date and tell us how we got here.

WATERVILLE, Maine - A Maine mayor is receiving backlash for a tweet making fun of a Parkland, Fla. school shooting survivor.
The Morning Sentinel reports some Waterville officials are calling for Republican Mayor Nick Isgro to resign. Isgro wrote in a tweet earlier this week that Parkland student David Hogg should "eat it.''
The post was in response to an article about Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who mocked Hogg online and lost advertisers. The tweet has since been deleted.

Max Linn campaign

The Secretary of State says Republican U.S. Senate candidate Max Linn has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, even though more than 200 of them were ruled invalid, including several of people who are dead. 

The findings followed a challenge filed by the campaign of state Sen Eric Brakey, a Republican hoping to unseat independent U.S. Sen Angus King in the fall.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public/file

Maine's transition to "proficiency-based" high school diplomas is under increasing scrutiny from parents, educators - and now, lawmakers.  The state Department of Education is proposing a bill that it says would repeal pieces of the law and grant more flexibility to local districts. 

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, former Republican lawmaker Meredith Strang Burgess, of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, and Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in Augusta as an independent. They spoke with Keith Shortall.

A proposal designed to remedy Republican objections to implementing Maine's landmark ranked-choice voting law has died after a tie vote in the Maine Senate.

The Republican-led Senate is currently suing the secretary of state because it says it doesn't have the authority, or the funding, to set up the system for the June primary elections.

During Thursday's floor debate, Republican Sen. Roger Katz, of Augusta, said the legal complaint raises constitutional issues that could be headed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

A Superior Court judge has ruled that state election officials should continue implementing Maine's landmark ranked-choice voting law for the June primary elections. The ruling, by Kennebec Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy, is a victory for supporters of the voting system, who have been battling with lawmakers in the courts and in the Legislature ever since voters approved ranked-choice nearly two years ago. But the legal battle is far from over.


The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday to approve a $1.2 million taxpayer subsidy to an embattled biomass company operating two plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro.