Political news

AUGUSTA, Maine  — The leaders of Maine's higher education institutions are set to address the Legislature.

Maine Maritime Academy President William Brennan is scheduled to speak first during a joint session of the Legislature on Thursday. The heads of the University of Maine System and the state's community college system will speak afterward.

The University of Maine System last fall announced it's seeking a 12 percent increase in state funding over the next three years.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public/file

Maine high schools would have to start later in the morning under a measure before the Legislature’s Education Committee.

Brunswick Democratic Rep. Matthea Daughtry says studies show teens are often not getting enough sleep because of the 7:30 a.m. start time of many high schools. She’s proposing legislation that would delay the start of the academic day till 8:30 a.m. instead.

Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, says he had a "productive" meeting this morning with President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.  

AUGUSTA, Maine - Family members of murder victim Amy Theriault, of the northern Aroostook County town of St. Francis, are pressing lawmakers to enact a measure that would automatically require a life sentence for murder resulting from domestic violence.

In the spring of 2014, Jesse Marquis stabbed and shot Theriault to death the day after she broke off their relationship. 

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday evening at the Capitol, around 9 p.m. Eastern time.

The address comes a day after Trump gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs. Following tradition, House Speaker Paul Ryan invited the president to make the speech to lay out his agenda in the early days of his new administration.

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland is reconsidering naming a busy thoroughfare after Martin Luther King Jr. amid public concerns that many residents were forced to move 50 years ago to make way for the project.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the City Council's Sustainability and Transportation Committee held a public hearing Tuesday evening on renaming Franklin Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

BANGOR, Maine - Maine Sen. Susan Collins is among a group of senators that wants older workers to have more options in battling discrimination at work.

Collins, a Republican, is helping introduce the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. The senators say the proposal would give older workers the ability to take legal action if age discrimination affects their professional opportunities.

Collins is the chair of the Senate Aging Committee. She says the proposal is about ensuring that more senior workers are able to fully participate in the workplace.

PORTLAND, Maine - A young Iraqi immigrant whose return to Maine was delayed by President Donald Trump's travel ban has received a warm welcome from his defense secretary at Tuesday's address to Congress.

Banah Al-Hanfy attended Trump's speech as a guest of Maine U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat.

Pingree tweeted a photo of the 20-year-old college student meeting Gen. James Mattis at the Capitol. She wrote that Mattis told Al-Hanfy, "you are most welcome here.''

Pingree also tweeted a photo of Al-Hanfy shaking hands with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Brennan Linsley / Associated Press/file

Maine and other states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana face a growing cloud of uncertainty following signals of a possible enforcement crackdown from the Trump administration.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A bill that would expand Maine’s 15-cent deposit to miniature liquor bottles could be taken up by rank-and-file lawmakers as soon as next month.

Supporters of the measure, such as co-sponsor Rep. Betty Austin, a Skowhegan Democrat, say the deposit is needed to clear the highways of the discarded 50-milliliter liquor bottles, also known as “nips.” She says current practices suggest that many Mainers need to be more aware of where they’re drinking and what they’re doing with their empty bottles.

Independent Sen. Angus King joined 18 other members of Congress Tuesday to introduce a bill designed to lower the cost of prescription drugs. The bill would allow Americans access to FDA-approved drugs from other countries, such as Canada.

King says the cost of prescription drugs is overwhelming Mainers, particularly those on fixed incomes.

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.