Political news

For the third time in six years, state lawmakers are poised to defeat a bill designed to exempt large containers from Maine’s landmark bottle law. The Environmental and Natural Resources Committee voted 8-0 Thursday to kill a bill that would exempt containers larger than 46 ounces from the law.

Pete Didisheim of the Natural Resources Council of Maine says the bill is the latest attempt by the beverage industry to erode a bottle law that has encouraged Mainers to recycle empty beverage containers.

Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Reaction in Maine to President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.15 trillion budget has been swift - and critical.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers are preparing for a day full of hearings on gun legislation that includes a bill to prohibit the creation of a registry of firearms owners.

The Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Friday will consider bills sponsored by Republicans and Democrats with ideas ranging from lowering the age requirement for a concealed handgun, to requiring gun locks with every new firearm purchase.

One Democratic legislator's bill would allow municipalities to ban guns at voting booths.

Legislators Want Trump to Repeal 'Draconian' ID Standards

Mar 16, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - Some Maine lawmakers want Republican President Donald Trump to issue an executive order repealing ID standards they say jeopardize privacy.

Democratic Sen. Shenna Bellows and Republican Sen. Eric Brakey say they're asking legislators nationwide to sign a letter requesting the order.

The federal Real ID Act of 2005 set security standards for driver's licenses and required the use of facial recognition technology and state retention of copies of documents like birth certificates.

Bellows said storing documents is a one-stop shop for identity theft.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine residents are holding "Congressional stakeouts'' outside Republican Sen. Susan Collins' Portland office to call for the preservation of their health care.

Organizers say activists are holding similar stakeouts at 32 Congressional offices across the country. The stakeouts at Collins' office are taking place on Thursday and Friday.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage's office says he didn't sign a $29 million spending package because of concerns with allocations to an energy efficiency program.

Spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said LePage agrees with elements of the budget. But she said he's deeply concerned that Maine now is 11th highest in the nation in energy costs and says that rank has worsened in the last year.

Maine's costs are the lowest in New England.

A proposal that would take away health insurance and retirement benefits from state lawmakers had a quick hearing at the State House on Wednesday. It didn’t get much support in committee.

Rep. Brad Farrin, a Republican from Norridgewock, is proposing that members of the Legislature, who work part time, no longer receive paid health insurance or retirement benefits. He says few other Mainers who work part time get those kinds of benefits.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A $29 million spending package that bolsters Maine’s rainy day fund and expands access to drug treatment has become law.

The supplemental budget for the fiscal year ending in June became law Wednesday without GOP Gov. Paul LePage’s signature.

Lawmakers are continuing to hold hearings on the governor’s separate $6.8 billion, two-year budget proposal.

PORTLAND, Maine - A subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee is objecting to the way President Barack Obama created a national marine monument off the coast of New England last year.

BANGOR, Maine - A group of senators is calling on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to keep a pipeline of foreign doctors open to benefit rural communities.

The senators want premium processing to continue for doctors participating in the Conrad 30 waiver program, which makes it easier for foreign doctors to come to underserved parts of the U.S. to work.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Gov. Paul LePage predicts that the Trump administration will re-certify the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, a move that would protect $20 million in federal funding. The governor also reiterated his unsubstantiated claim that the Obama administration’s decertification of the hospital nearly four years ago was politically motivated.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The top leaders of the Marine Corps faced hostile questioning by members of the Senate Armed Services Committee over the posting of sexually explicit photos of female Marines to social media sites.

Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent, told Marine Commandant Robert Neller that he was at first angry as he read reports of the scope of activity, "Anger and disappointment to, really, sadness. This is a sad day for the Marine Corps and for our armed services," King said.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Harpswell lawmaker is proposing a system for boaters to safely dispose of maritime flares.  But state Fire Marshal Joe Thomas says it’s not needed.

Rep. Joyce McCreight, a Democrat from Harpswell, introduced the bill after local lobstermen told her of boxes of old flares that have been stored in garages and barns that they didn’t know how to dispose of.

“ 'What am I supposed to do with my expired flares?' " McCreight says one lobsterman asked her. "He told me he and other lobstermen have sheds, garages, basements, full of these explosive devices.”

PORTLAND, Maine - The U.S. attorney for Maine, Thomas Delahanty II, is out of a job.
Delahanty is among 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama who were told to tender their resignations.
Delahanty was out of the office when Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Friday and he will be cleaning out his desk instead of prosecuting cases upon his return. Officials announced in Delahanty's absence Monday that his first assistant, Richard Murphy, will serve as acting U.S. attorney in Maine.

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.