AUGUSTA, Maine - The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine says a Republican's immigration bill capitalizes on anti-immigrant fervor and amounts to racial profiling.
Rep. Lawrence Lockman's bill would prohibit any government from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration law.

A Democratic lawmaker wants to prevent school districts from hiring new employees before performing a background check.

State Sen. Rebecca Millett, a Democrat from South Portland, says she was very upset when a report found that the superintendent of School Administrative District 6 in York County had hired several employees and put them to work before they had the required criminal background check.

RICHMOND, Va. - The top attorneys from 16 states, including Maine, and the District of Columbia say President Donald Trump's revised travel ban would hurt their higher education and medical institutions and have a chilling effect on tourism.
The attorneys general urged the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a brief Wednesday to uphold a ruling that blocked the travel ban targeting six predominantly Muslim countries. The attorneys general say the executive order seeks "to fulfill the president's promise to ban Muslims from entering the country.''

AUGUSTA, Maine - Democrats want to advance a universal sick leave bill despite opposition from Republicans on a legislative committee.
The Legislature's Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee this week voted 5-4 in favor of the bill.
Two other Republicans and two Democrats who weren't present have until Thursday to cast their votes.
The bill is set to head to the Senate for an initial vote.  
Democratic Sen. Rebecca Millett's bill would let employees use accrued sick leave to care for themselves or immediate family.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Two Maine cities are starting a food waste recycling program.

The Press Herald reports that South Portland and Scarborough will debut their weekly curbside food pickup program Thursday at ecomaine's energy plant in Portland. Both cities have partnered with ecomaine, University of Southern Maine and an Exeter dairy farm for the pilot program.

Educators spoke out against a bill Wednesday that would allow computer programming to count as a foreign language under the state’s education laws.

Language teachers from across Maine packed the Legislature to oppose the bill. Charles Hicks, a French teacher at SAD 49 in Fairfield, says that computer coding can’t teach students about human interaction and culture.

“Let me ask you this,” he says. “Can a student go to a coding country and spend a week or two eating coding food and listening to coding music? No.”

Andrew Catalina / Maine Public

This month we’re catching up with the first graduates of STRIVE U, a first-of-its-kind college education and training program for young adults with developmental disabilities, based in South Portland.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Insurers push back against Maine's new birth control bill, saying the bill's language could prove costly.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the bill would help women with birth control prescriptions receive a year's worth of medication. Maine insurers only allow patients to receive up to three months of birth control. Some women are required to refill their prescriptions every month.

Protesters Heckle LePage at Town Hall Event in Portland

Apr 19, 2017
Jake Bleiberg / Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage calmly weathered a torrent of disruptions during a student-organized town hall at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus Tuesday evening.

LePage was interrupted repeatedly during the hourlong event by chants of “black lives matter” from roughly 25 protesters, some of whom shouted profanities at the Republican governor as they were escorted out of USM’s Hannaford Lecture Hall.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine - While experts warn of a "Trump Slump'' in international visitors, one Maine town is already exceeding expectations.
The Portland Press Herald reports that one hotel manager in downtown Old Orchard Beach has already seen a $200,000 increase in bookings from this time last year.

Vinyl Music Gives Record Stores a Boost in Digital World

Apr 19, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - Record stores have not only survived pirated music, digital downloads and online streaming services. They're now growing in numbers, giving music lovers something to cheer as Record Store Day turns 10 on Saturday.
The annual event pays homage to the neighborhood music store, the brick-and-mortar spot where people have long gathered to thumb through vinyl records. Hundreds of them went out of business at the onset of the digital music revolution.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Lawmakers in Maine have proposed a bill that would offer special plates to first responders.
WABI-TV reports that the bill is meant to help EMS workers when they respond to emergency calls. Special plates will notify the public that medical workers or firefighters are on the scene.

Courtesy Greg Emerson

More than 200 Mainers ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. Completing a marathon is a personal achievement by any standard, but 65-year-old Steve Cartwright of Tenants Harbor is one of the few runners who ran all 26.2 miles barefoot. And, when it comes to hot asphalt and loose gravel, that’s no easy feat.

Stephan Savoia / Associated Press/file

MILFORD, Mass. - Massachusetts prison officials say former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has hanged himself in his cell and pronounced dead at a hospital. He was 27.
An official with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections says Hernandez was found hanged in his cell just after 3 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities tried to revive the former New England Patriots tight end, and he was pronounced dead at UMass Memorial - HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster at 4:07 a.m.

How a Maine Community Changed by Refugees Came to Embrace Trump

Apr 19, 2017
David Goldman / Associated Press

LEWISTON, Maine - Richard Rodrigue stood in the back of a banquet hall, watching his blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter mingle among her high school classmates. These teenagers speak dozens of languages, and hail from a dozen African nations.