Political news

Stephan Savoia / Associated Press

The NPR Two-Way blog will provide live coverage of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on the investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The live blog will include streaming video of the proceedings, with posts featuring highlights, context and analysis from NPR reporters and correspondents.

The live blog appears below the PBS News Hour video.

Courtesy Suzanne Massie

PORTLAND, Maine - The phrase "trust, but verify," springs from Russian, a language Suzanne Massie, of Blue Hill, knows well.  She has been a frequent visitor to the country, written books about its culture and, in the 1980's, became a bridge between the superpowers.

Massie has just returned from her latest trip to Russia, and speaks about it with Maine Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

The Maine Legislature is considering a bill that prohibit the keeping of any kind of list or registry of gun owners in the state. It has some backing, but even supporters say the current version goes too far.

The measure, as drafted, would ban the keeping of any list of Maine gun owners in any form, including any computer database or paper document. Windham Republican Rep. Patrick Corey introduced the measure.

“The release of information about gun ownership has the potential for the discrimination, retaliation, harassment and victimization of gun owners,” he says.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Legislators are set to consider once again whether to approve rules to jumpstart mining of Maine's deposits of copper, zinc, gold and silver.
Officials approved a law in 2012 calling for an overhaul of mining rules. But companies like J.D. Irving say they can't mine in Maine because lawmakers have twice failed to approve rules proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Public hearings on several bills are scheduled for Monday.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - Nearly 400 people packed a health care town hall Sunday in Portland, convened by Maine 1st District U.S. House Rep. Chellie Pingree, to weigh in on the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins reiterated her concerns with a House Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.


Collins also said President Donald Trump owes Americans an explanation for his still unverified claim that President Obama ordered a wiretap of his phones at Trump Tower.


Maine already allows people 21 and older to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, and now lawmakers are considering a measure that would lower that age to 18.

Supporters, like Rep. Rich Cebra, a Republican from Naples, say 18-year-old Maine citizens should have the same rights as those over 21.

“Law-abiding, responsible young people who fit in that category should be allowed to exercise their rights as any other adult in Maine,” he says.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The legislative committee implementing Maine's new recreational marijuana are considering switching the oversight of retail sales from the state agriculture agency to the one that regulates alcohol.

The legalization law approved by voters in November originally tasked the Agriculture Department with the licensing and testing of retail pot. But Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon and Gov. Paul LePage believe the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages & Lottery Operations is a better fit.

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

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.