Political news

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

School walkouts in support of stricter gun laws continued Thursday morning after schools were closed due to weather on Wednesday.

Joel Clement, a scientist from  Maine and the former whistleblower from the Department of Interior, spoke at Bates College Wednesday evening and at Maine Audubon Thursday. He joined Nora Flaherty on Maine Things Considered to discuss his whistleblower complaint and his turn to climate change-centered activism.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

An array of progressive groups and two of Maine's Native American tribes are criticizing Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills for joining a Washington State lawsuit over tribal water rights.

The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next month, and its outcome could affect a long standing legal battle in maine over water quality standards in the Penobscot River.

This new criticism coming from progressive activists comes just as Mills is attempting to convince Democrats to support her run for governor.

It’s not just schools that are worried about falling behind due to snow days, t’s the Maine legislature as well.

Over this week and last, lawmakers have lost three work days to snowstorms. Senate President Mike Thibodeau, a republican from Winterport, says the complexity of some issues, such as tax conformity, also are slowing down the legislative process. He says leaders are trying to find ways to get caught up.

“My guess is that we are going to end up with some Fridays and Mondays…we are going to push these committee five, maybe six days a week,” he says.

Ashley L. Conti / Bangor Daily News/file

AUGUSTA, Maine — Two Indian tribes and several progressive groups assailed Attorney General Janet Mills on Tuesday for her role in a court fight over tribal water rights, highlighting a key challenge from the left that could harm her 2018 gubernatorial bid.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on school safety following the mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The committee is hearing from a Stoneman Douglas teacher as well as from the father of one of the shooting victims, Florida lawmakers and Justice Department officials. Watch the hearing live.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine questioned Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Tuesday on a proposal to open most of the coastal areas of the United States to exploratory drilling for gas and oil.

The U.S. House of Representatives is abandoning their investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to alter the 2016 election.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree says the decision to halt the House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry “was absolutely premature” and could impact how people perceive elections going forward.

Pingree says the committee usually functions along nonpartisan lines but said Republicans seemed intent on protecting the president during this investigation.

Azeez Akunleyen / Associated Press

WASHINGTON  — Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state. President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he's naming CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace Tillerson.

Pompeo is to be replaced at CIA by Gina Haspel, Pompeo's deputy at CIA. She would be the first woman in that role.

Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Trump's announcement. Trump offered no explanation for the change.

An internal memo from the Maine Department of Labor indicates that a new $90 million unemployment claims system is not working properly and should not have ever been put online without considerable testing.

The document, which is marked “confidential,” also says that hundreds if not thousands of Mainers who were eligible for unemployment benefits either did not receive them in a timely manner, or never got them at all.

LEWISTON, Maine — A Republican Maine House candidate has used Twitter to attack two students who survived a shooting at a Florida high school, calling one of them a "skinhead lesbian" and the other a "bald-faced liar."

Leslie Gibson is the only declared candidate for the 57th District and told the Sun Journal it was "not appropriate to single out the Parkland students." But he says he stands firm in his defense of "our constitutional rights." He says he served in the military and took an oath "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Mainers would be banned from sending sexually explicit digital images to some minors under a Democrat's bill.
The Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee unanimously recommended Sen. Michael Carpenter's bill last week. Maine's high court last year reversed some convictions against a Presque Isle man because they said sexually explicit photos he sent to minors online didn't constitute indecent exposure.

A gun safety bill supported by Maine's Republican senator is now progressing in both houses of Congress. 

Sen. Susan Collins says she's on board with Senate legislation that would require the feds to inform states within 24 hours when a person prohibited from buying guns fails the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the bill last week.

Similar legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

Maine Public

The majority of the legislature’s State and Local Government Committee has voted against passage of a resolution that seeks to insert a balanced budget amendment in the federal constitution.

Caitlin Troutman / Maine Public/file

On Friday, the Maine Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee will decide whether or not to further investigate the Department of Health and Human Services' response to complaints after the killing in Stockton Springs of 10-year-old Marissa  Kennedy. Maine Public Radio's Steve Mistler joins Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz to take a look at that potential investigation.