Political news

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage is going to deliver his final State of the State address next month.
His office confirmed that he'll address a joint session of the Maine Legislature on Feb. 13. That's the date proposed by Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau.
This will be LePage's last State of the State since he can't seek re-election because of term limits.
LePage gave his address in person last year after a one-year hiatus from the longstanding tradition.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine’s Congressional Delegation is criticizing vulgar remarks President Donald Trump made during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday during a discussion of immigration policy, reportedly using an expletive to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

WINSLOW, Maine - The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has declared a winner in a municipal election that was stalled because of a disputed ballot.

The Kennebec Journal reports Jerry Quirion defeated challenger Lee Trahan Thursday in the Winslow Town Council election. The election had resulted in a 173 to 173 tie after Trahan requested a recount. Quirion had asked that a sloppy ballot be invalidated in a lawsuit.

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

Major Shift As Trump Opens Way For Medicaid Work Requirement

Jan 11, 2018

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration says it's offering a path for states that want to seek work requirements for Medicaid recipients.
And that's a major policy shift toward low-income people.
Seema Verma heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and she's announcing the new approach. She says work and community involvement can make a positive difference in people's health.
But the plan probably will face opposition and legal challenges over concerns that people would lose coverage.

Collins, King Back Bill To Reverse FCC Vote Against Net Neutrality

Jan 11, 2018
Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Maine Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins said Tuesday they’ll support new legislation to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s vote last month to scuttle Obama-era net neutrality standards.

Lawmakers in Vermont have approved legalizing recreational marijuana, and the bill soon goes to the state’s Republican governor, who says he will sign it.

The bill soon goes to the state’s Republican governor, who says he will sign it.

The bill allows possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, or two mature plants. It does not allow a regulated retail market, such as California’s or Colorado’s.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage says he would like to ask voters to approve a bond measure designed to attract new industries to Maine.

The governor appeared at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. He spoke against two bond proposals to subsidize the biomass industry, which he calls a losing proposition. And though two years ago he signed a bill creating a one-time program to provide over $13 million in state funds to subsidize biomass plants, LePage says they are simply not economically feasible.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Donald Trump is holding a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House. The two leaders are taking reporters’ questions.

Their meeting touches on the topics of NATO defense, global security and trade. The meeting is taking place as President Trump is trying to work with Congress on issues of immigration and border security.

The Western European relationship with Russia is also important to Norway, and new developments in the investigation of the Trump campaign’s Russia connections may also figure in the conversation.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is suing the Trump administration for documents compiled from the president's now defunct voter fraud commission.

The Department of Justice is attempting to block Dunlap's receipt of working papers from the voter fraud commission, of which Dunlap was a member.

A federal judge already said Dunlap is entitled to the documents, but the Justice Department says that because the commission is dissolved - and Dunlap is no longer a member - the documents should remained sealed.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

For the first time in 20 years, the Bangor city council has voted to launch an ethics investigation against one if its own, for failing to disclose that his public relations firm was doing business with an agency that received money from the city.

Bangor City Councilor Cary Weston said he was simply unaware of the arrangement, but that response didn’t satisfy the majority of his colleagues.

It was, according to one city hall watcher, one of the most contentious Bangor City Council meetings in years.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public File

A coalition of supporters and opponents of recreational marijuana says it has come up with a framework to regulate the drug in Maine. The announcement marks a possible path forward as legislators restart the process to create rules that affect how marijuana is tested, taxed and sold. But it also comes amid questions about the possibility of a federal crackdown.

Dozens of people crowded the hearing room Tuesday as the Legislature’s Marijuana Implementation Committee began work on a bill that could set up the regulatory structure for recreational cannabis.

PORTLAND, Maine - Brewers in Maine could save about $1 million this year, thanks to a special tax break.
The Portland Press Herald reports brewers will benefit from the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act that was included in tax reforms passed last year. Under the act, federal taxes on barrels of beer will be slashed in half to $3.50 for the first 60,000 brewed barrels. After 60,000 barrels, brewers will pay $16 per barrel, instead of $18.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press


The Department of Justice is refusing to release documents compiled during President Donald Trump’s now-dissolved voter fraud commission to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Legislature is back to the drawing board on rules for implementing retail sales of marijuana.
Lawmakers who're trying once again to sort out details of the voter-approved law legalizing recreational marijuana are holding a public hearing Tuesday afternoon in Augusta.
Recreational marijuana use became legal for adults last year, but there's no way to legally buy it because Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill created by a bipartisan task force.