Political news

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine legislators will vote on a bill this week aimed at protecting the elderly from tax lien foreclosures.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the bill is heading in the right direction, and says he will not give up on making further changes to the bill while it's on the floor in the House and Senate. The Morning Sentinel reports taxation committee members this week debated the language in the bill; some say it would place an unfair burden on municipalities that already help elderly people.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine election officials are deciding how to use up to $3.3 million in federal funds to help increase election security.
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine announced the funding. Both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee that delved into the issue of election security following evidence of attempted tampering of U.S. voting systems by Russian operatives.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state wants public input on an effort to lower individual health insurance premiums for Mainers.
The Legislature last year passed a law to reduce premiums for individuals who don't qualify for subsidies under former President Obama's signature health law. The program would reimburse insurers for some costs associated with high cost enrollees.
Maine is applying for a federal waiver to create the program, which aims to stabilize Maine's individual health insurance market amid premium increases and Anthem's exit.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Congress is in the middle of reauthorizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. The House Agriculture Committee has released its draft bill, but advocates in Maine say they’re worried that President Donald Trump may push for cuts or further conditions that could place a burden on low-income families.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine reports more than $2.2 million in his campaign war chest as Democratic opponents make their case to donors ahead of the June 12 primary.
Democrats, including Assistant Maine House Leader Jared Golden; conservationist Lucas St. Clair; farmer and carpenter Jonathan Fulford; and bookseller Craig Olson recently filed campaign finance reports as they compete to face the congressman in November.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state auditor says Maine should stop following legal advice to use millions of dollars in federal funds for a psychiatric hospital that's lost federal certification.
Auditor Pola Buckley says the state keeps using such funds despite facing a $51 million penalty from the federal government for doing so. Maine lawmakers set aside $65 million last summer in case Maine must pay the fine.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration is appealing the penalty.

Maine voters will decide on an initiative that would provide elderly and disabled people help with daily activities, like bathing and medication management. The Maine Senate Friday voted to hold a public hearing on the measure first, but the House chose to send the issue directly to the public.

Most Senators argued that a public hearing would help to educate the public about the issue they will vote on, but others argued that a campaign before the election would serve that same purpose, and that voters will be educated by the campaign in the fall.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage is backing two new judicial nominations.

The governor this week said he is re-nominating Hampden resident Gregory Campbell as District Court Judge in Bangor. Campbell previously worked in both the Penobscot and Piscataquis County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor.

LePage also nominated Judge Christine Foster of Portland to serve as Active Retired Judge for the District Court.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court held oral arguments Thursday in a rare case that could determine whether Maine's ranked-choice voting system will be used in the June primary. The expedited hearing was in response to a request by Maine Senate Republicans that the court halt state implementation of the new voting system. But during a 35-minute hearing, nearly all seven justices appeared skeptical of the Republicans' arguments, and some wondered why the court was asked to solve a problem that Legislature wouldn't, or couldn't.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro made his first public appearance at a city council budget workshop Tuesday night, one day after several residents began a recall effort against him and after he resigned, under pressure, from his position as a vice president at Skowhegan Savings Bank.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a former mayor of Waterville, weighed in Tuesday on his behalf.

Isgro has been under fire for a recent tweet mocking Parkland School shooting survivor David Hogg. He also has a history of making anti-immigrant and other inflammatory social media posts.

Getty Images

The legal sale of recreational marijuana is one step closer to reality. The Maine Senate is backing a bill to allow retail marijuana sales approved by voters in 2016.

The Maine House and Senate are among the majority of legislative chambers nationwide that refuse to release formal records of sexual misconduct or harassment.

A 50-state review by The Associated Press found that the majority of legislative chambers say they have no publicly available records of formal sexual misconduct or harassment complaints, even when it's known that lawmakers have been accused.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Second District Republican Congressperson Bruce Poliquin says GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan's decision not to seek reelection in November is the latest development in what he termed the nonstop news coverage of the "comings and goings" of people in various positions.

Poliquin said it really won't matter who the next speaker is.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

There’s a new development in the saga over Maine’s landmark ranked-choice voting law: Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy is recommending that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court review whether state election officials have the authority to implement the voting system for the June primary elections.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is appearing on Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings about protecting its users' data.