Political news

AUGUSTA, Maine - Police and other first responders would be allowed to bill overdose patients for the cost of administering naloxone under a bill that's being considered in Augusta.

Republican Rep. Trey Stewart, of Presque Isle, says while he supports allowing police and others to  administer naloxone, he is worried about the cost of the drug.

"We don’t want to deter law enforcement agencies from carrying this, or being trained to carry this, all of which has a very steep cost. At the same time, we want to make sure the taxpayers' interests are represented in this issue.”

PORTLAND, Maine - Almost 200 asylum seekers living in Portland may face another hurdle to getting financial aid for food and housing:  New state legislation limits to two years the length of time asylum seekers can receive general assistance benefits.

City officials in Portland say federal law may prevent the city from stepping in to provide that aid.

"The problem is at the federal level, their law says unless the state allows it, the local municipality may not be able to provide that assistance on their own," says Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's two members of the U.S. House are expected to vote today on a controversial bill to repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act and replace them with provisions that could have wide ranging impacts on Mainers. 

Debate is underway for the American Health Care Act, also dubbed Trumpcare and Ryancare. The proposal is designed to fulfill a seven-year promise by Republicans to unravel President Obama's signature legislative achievement.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill to make Maine comply with federal identification standards is gaining key committee support.
Two state senators want Republican President Donald Trump to issue an executive order repealing the standards, which they say jeopardize privacy.
The Legislature's Transportation Committee on Friday voted 12-1 in favor of an amended version of the bill.
The committee will now work on an amendment to allow Mainers to obtain licenses that don't comply with federal standards.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is urging local sheriffs and chiefs of police to resist pressure from the Trump administration to participate in immigration enforcement. And the ACLU is warning law enforcement that if they do participate, they’ll face legal liability.

Under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, local towns and cities are expected to provide direct support to U.S. immigration policy. If they don’t, the order threatens to strip them of federal grant funding.

LePage Reverses Position on GOP Health Plan, Urges Support from King, Collins

Mar 24, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage switched his stance and came out publicly in favor of the national Republican health care plan on Thursday, but Maine’s U.S. senators doubled down on their opposition to the endangered bill after the governor asked them to back it.

LePage has lobbied for changes to the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that have now been added to the law, but it’s still struggling amid conservative opposition and a planned Thursday vote in the U.S. House of Representatives was postponed until Friday.

It's Thursday and we are talking politics on Across the Aisle. This week, Dick Woodbury, an economist and former independent legislator; Mike Cianchette, an attorney and former chief counsel to Gov. Paul LePage; and public affairs consultant David Farmer, who served as deputy chief of staff for Gov. John Baldacci.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would give them, and the public, more time to review a state budget before they are asked to vote on it.

For years, lawmakers have complained about receiving the hundreds of pages of a state budget often just hours before they vote on it. Rep. Steve Woods, a Republican from Greene, says that needs to change.

“This is my fourth term, and every year we get the budget the morning before we have to vote on it. It does not give you time enough to review the budget thoroughly,” he says.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Republican governor says he'll testify before Congress against a national monument in his state.
 Then-President Barack Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last summer on nearly 90,000 acres of donated forestlands. Maine Gov. Paul LePage opposes the designation.
 LePage said during a Thursday appearance on WGAN-AM that he's continuing the fight. The governor says he believes Obama misused the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create the monument.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Today is the 4th and — what is scheduled to be — final day of the confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch. Testifying about the Supreme Court nominee will be experts and outside groups. Gorsuch himself will not be taking questions, or in the hearing room.

Those expected to speak on his behalf are judges and former law clerks he has worked with, along with some law school professors and other attorneys. Witnesses called by Democrats, who have concerns about Gorsuch, include other law professors, and representatives from women's and environmental groups.

Local property taxes are too high, and the state should do more to relieve that burden. That was the message from some who testified today before the Legislature’s Taxation Committee, which is considering several proposals aimed at providing more state aid to local government.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A police office diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder could have an easier time accessing worker's compensation under a Democrat's bill.

The bill would create a presumption that a first responder's diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder came about from their job. The presumption would be taken as true unless proven otherwise.

Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden's bill would apply to law enforcement officers, firefighters, corrections officers or emergency medical services workers.

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Even in this politically polarized era, there is one issue on which most state policymakers agree: Maine’s roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair. The only debate is how to pay for it, in a time of declining gas tax revenues.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Wednesday that he did not sign a bill last year that diverted over $13 million to several ailing biomass facilities, though he actually did.

At his town hall forum at Spire 29 in Gorham, the governor was asked by a woman in the audience why he vetoed a hotly debated solar bill, but signed a controversial biomass bailout.

“Well ma’am, I will tell you, both of them were disasters and I didn’t sign off. I did not sign that bill. It went into law without my signature,” LePage said.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

The NPR Politics team is blogging the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The live blog includes streaming video, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.