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Alex Brandon / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he's dubious about state-led efforts to legalize marijuana.

Maine’s two U.S. senators are expressing concerns about reports that officials in the Trump administration attempted to enlist senior intelligence officials and members of Congress to push back against news reports focusing on President Donald Trump associates’ links to Russia.

A bill that would set a firm cap on the number of elver fishing licenses issued each year in Maine received broad support at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee. The bill would also allow a small number of new fishermen into the fishery.

The elver, or baby eel, fishery is one of the most lucrative in Maine. Considered a delicacy in several Asian countries, elvers were fetching close to $2,000 dollars a pound last year. But because of the pressure on the resource, the fishery has been closed to new fishermen since 2013.

AUGUSTA, Maine -  Maine firefighters and their families turned out in force Monday to support legislation banning the use of flame retardants in new furniture. 

Former state Sen. Linda Baker, of Topsham, believes her husband, a firefighter, died from cancer caused by flame retardants.  Baker urged passage of the bill.

“This bill will help ensure that the remaining manufacturers remove these toxic chemicals from their products being sold in Maine,” Baker said.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage says "tough management'' has produced a $1 billion cash pool and that he favors repealing former President Barack Obama's health care law and letting states craft their own solutions.
 
The Republican governor spoke on the Fox News program "Fox & Friends'' Monday after President Donald Trump hosted the nation's governors the night before.
 
LePage said he wants to get rid of "Obamacare'' and replace it with block grants so states can design programs to meet their specific needs.
 

What's Going on With Your Maine ID? Legislators Scramble

Feb 27, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - Mainers will be grounded next year if legislators don't update driver's licenses to comply with federal requirements.

A state-issued driver's license can no longer get you into military bases, nuclear power plants and other federal facilities. And starting next year, the IDs won't allow you to board commercial flights.

Airports would still accept passports, which cost $135 for first-time applicants.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has voted unanimously to recommend a $64 million supplemental state budget to meet needs in state government through the end of June.

Some of the money will go to programs that are short on cash, but most of it is going into the state’s so-called rainy day fund.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's two U.S. senators, independent Angus King and Republican Susan Collins, are expressing concerns about reports that officials in the Trump administration attempted to enlist senior intelligence officials and lawmakers to push back against  several stories that attempt to shed light on Trump associates' links to Russia.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Democratic House speaker says she won't convene a committee to investigate whether the House chairman of the taxation committee violated ethics rules for working for a ballot referendum campaign.
 
Republican Rep. Heather Sirocki asked House Speaker Sara Gideon to convene the House ethics committee to consider whether Democratic Rep. Ryan Tipping has a conflict of interest for accepting at least $9,000 from a group that successfully pushed for a new income surtax to fund public schools.
 

LePage Asks Sessions to Boost Drug Prosecution

Feb 24, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Republican governor has asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ramp up prosecution of drug crimes and says the U.S. Attorney's Office isn't actively pursuing drug dealers.
 
The Associated Press obtained a copy of a Jan. 26 letter in which Gov. Paul LePage tells the former U.S. senator that slow federal prosecution is straining Maine's resources. LePage says the small state is forced to prosecute and imprison most of the people who break "the most serious'' federal laws.
 

White House Adviser Asked FBI to Refute Russia Story

Feb 24, 2017
Susan Walsh / Associated Press

WASHINGTON  — A White House official says chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to help dispute media reports that President Donald Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election.

The official says Priebus' request came after the FBI told the White House it believed a New York Times report describing Trump advisers' contacts with Russia was not accurate. As of Thursday, the FBI had not stated that position publicly.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A trio of Maine transportation projects is on a wish list that governors have sent to President Donald Trump.
 
The Sun Journal reports that Maine is seeking $460 million worth of projects to improve bridges, rail lines as well as barge service between Portland and mid-Atlantic ports.
 

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

LEWISTON, Maine - Ben Chin, the political engagement director for the Maine People's Alliance, has become the first candidate to announce he's running for mayor of Lewiston this November.

Speaking to a crowd at Museum LA in Lewiston Thursday night, Chin said he won't be alone in the race.

Members of two legislative committees heard more details Thursday about a plan to expand treatment for opioid addiction to several hundred more Mainers. The surge in overdoses last year to an average of one death a day helped drive the proposal.

It's Thursday and time for the Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on politics. This week, Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in the Legislature as an independent; Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising, a former Republican lawmaker; and Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in Augusta as a Democrat.

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