Political news

LEWISTON, Maine - A Congressional Budget Office report released Monday confirms Emily Brostek's concerns that the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act will leave Mainers worse off.  Brostek is executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care. 

BANGOR, Maine - Some teenagers could be allowed to work in the Maine forestry industry if a bill co-sponsored by Maine 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin gains traction.

Poliquin and Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador have reintroduced the "Future Logging Careers Act" to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision.

That's an option available to farming families that Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, says should also be available to families engaged in the forest products industry.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The director of the Maine Ethics Commission says a state lawmaker likely violated the state's ethics law when he failed to swiftly disclose income earned from work he did on behalf of a political action committee.
Ethics Commission Director Jonathan Wayne issued a clarification about Rep. Ryan Tipping, an Orono Democrat, on Friday, a day after he said he didn't believe the violation was willful.
He says the commission is now discussing how to use its enforcement discretion.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Demonstrators gathered at the Maine State House Friday to oppose the North Dakota Access Pipeline and show solidarity with the Native American tribes trying to block it. 

The demonstration in Maine was part of a series of similar protests across the country as the controversial proposal moves forward.

Katherine Rhoda, of Hiram, participated in the demonstration. "This country was founded on the genocide of Native Americans and I think Native American wisdom holds a key to us finding our way out of the mess we're in," Rhoda said.

PORTLAND, Maine - Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree, of Maine's 1st District, says a Trump administration plan to trim the Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency budgets is "illogical'' and "reckless.''
Pingree made the statements on Thursday in response to reports that Trump's budget proposal calls for a 14 percent cut to the Coast Guard and an 11 percent cut to FEMA.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine union workers and their advocates vowed to defend a citizen-initiated law that raised the minimum wage during a gathering at the State House Thursday.

Ali Monceaux, a restaurant server, said lawmakers should defeat any effort to reinstate a lower tipped wage for workers get tips.

"Tipped workers were included in Question 4 and everyone means everyone. And that question passed," Monceaux said. "We cannot exclude some people and so many workers in Maine, a majority of them women."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers put off a vote on a proposal to create a lottery system for permits to fish for baby eels, which are used in the global sushi market.
The Marine Resources Committee is considering creating such a system to replace fishermen who leave the elver fishery. The committee decided to table its vote on the issue on Wednesday.
The proposal appears to have the support of state leaders and members of the industry.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says he's returning to Washington D.C. with his health commissioner to lobby against the GOP's newly unveiled healthcare proposal. LePage has repeatedly bashed the proposal.

The governor told Portland radio station WGAN that he's especially displeased with a provision that would allow states to continue expanding Medicaid.

"There's whole lot of talk about repeal and replace but we have to reform this," he said. "This system ... you can't go from Obamacare to RINO-care. You gotta go and fix it."

Patty Wight / Maine Public

LEWISTON, Maine - Supporters of Planned Parenthood held simultaneous rallies Wednesday night outside the Maine offices of Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree to denounce a bill that would defund the health care provider.

Tom Coon of Portland joined the crowd outside Rep. Pingree's Portland office. "I'm very much a supporter of access to good health care, and safe and legal health care, and in my mind, that's a pro-life position."

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

PORTLAND, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage apologized to an African-American Mainer Wednesday night for past remarks that identified people of color with drug-dealing in Maine, and suggesting that a civil rights leader should thank white people for advancing the cause.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland's Board of Education approved three resolutions Tuesday night that members hope will ease fears among students and teachers around immigration and politics.

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.