Political news

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - After an hour-long meeting with President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Maine Sen. Susan Collins said she's "impressed."

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Sen. Susan Collins is going to meet with President Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Collins is scheduled to meet with Judge Neil Gorsuch at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in Washington.

There is a vacancy on the high court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.

Collins, a Republican, had met last year with former President Obama's pick for the seat, Merrick Garland. She had urged her Republican colleagues to give Garland consideration, but most said Scalia wouldn't be replaced until the next president picks a nominee.

Sen. Angus King of Maine says he will vote against President Donald Trump's picks to lead the departments of Treasury and Health and Human Services.

Georgia Rep. Tom Price, nominee for Health secretary, supports eliminating the Affordable Care Act and privatizing Medicare, two positions that King opposes. And King doesn't think Steven Mnuchin, nominee for Treasury secretary, will champion the interests of "hard-working Mainers.''

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson says lawmakers and the LePage administration are discussing an $8 million proposal to expand medication-assisted treatment to roughly 700 Mainers suffering from opioid addiction.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public/file

It has been almost a year since a state task force finalized recommendations to address Maine’s opioid crisis.

A state education task force wants Maine to increase teacher pay, expand preschool programs and change the state’s funding formula to improve education.

The state’s blue ribbon education commission laid out those recommendations in a report adopted on Wednesday. The report also includes recommendations to explore a statewide teacher contract as well as create new programs to recruit teachers for poor and rural schools.

The special select committee on marijuana legalization has begun the enormous job of implementing Question 1, approved by voters this past fall. Panel members expect their work to go through most of the year.

Dozens of bills have already been targeted to go to the committee for its consideration this session. At the the panel’s first meeting, chairman Sen. Roger Katz, a republican from Augusta, cited a broad range of issues to be tackled.

Unenrolled voters in Maine can cast ballots in party primaries, but they have to join a recognized party to do so. Lawmakers are considering a bill that will remove that requirement.

The measure drew broad support with both Democrats and Republicans. Former Republican U.S. Rep. David Emery told the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee it’s a good idea.

“I think that the time has come for the Legislature to start thinking about ways that we can make the process more inclusive and allow independent and unenrolled voters to participate,” he says.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage used his annual State of the State address to urge lawmakers to approve his $6.8 billion budget and to alter what he sees as flaws in two laws passed by voters in November.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has accepted the Legislature’s request to explore the constitutionality of a dramatic election overhaul approved by voters in November.

The court released a schedule for written and oral arguments on Tuesday in response to a request by the Maine Senate to review several aspects of a ranked-choice voting.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Maine's two U.S. senators were united today in opposing the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee for secretary of education.

The billionaire charter school advocate barely squeaked through the U.S. Senate, winning confirmation only after Vice President Mike Pence cast an historic vote to break a 50-50 tie. 

As expected, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins voted against confirming DeVos, one of only two Republican senators to break with the party. (Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, was the other one.)

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public/file

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine is joining other states in urging a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court judge’s stay on President Donald Trump’s immigration order.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

The proverbial “sausage making” is underway at the State House as lawmakers begin the long, often contentious process of crafting a two-budget. Gov. Paul LePage appeared before two legislative committees to make a case for his $6.8 billion plan, which he says is aimed at improving Maine’s economy.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Gov. Paul LePage is likely to highlight some of the key elements of his two-year budget plan in his annual State of the State address Tuesday night.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Twittersphere is having fun at the expense of supporters of President Donald Trump in Maine.
A handful of supporters rallied Saturday in support of Trump's attempt to ban residents from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Twitter users quickly poked fun at the humble assemblage. One wrote that more people showed up for her birthday party and that she's "realllly unlikeable.'' The Huffington Post had this headline: "World's saddest Trump rally draws just eight supporters.''