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Maine's top health and human services official says Maine's struggling child welfare system needs staffing, a new computer system and changes to mandatory reporting and family reunification policies.

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton told the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee that Republican Gov. Paul LePage will propose such ideas in upcoming legislation. The governor's office didn't immediately respond to request for comment.

The fate of a Maine father who was deported to Haiti for a 10-year-old conviction rests in the hands of a pardon board.

The Morning Sentinel reports 35-year-old Lexius Saint Martin, of Waterville, was deported earlier this year after he was arrested by immigration agents on his way to work. Martin was convicted of drug trafficking in 2008, but his deportation was stalled when Haiti suffered an earthquake two years later.

Maine Public staff/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - A LePage administration official is set to testify before a legislative watchdog investigating Maine's struggling child welfare system.
 
Republican Sen. Tom Saviello said that the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton to appear before the panel Tuesday.
 

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Independent gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes is urging legislators to correct a typo that's preventing Clean Election funding from being released to qualified candidates.

Hayes, who is Maine's state treasurer, was joined today at a State House press conference by other publicly funded candidates who are urging that the funding be released.

"I think probably the most nefarious outcome, the most negative outcome, is that it signifcantly erodes the trust that people have in the people who are doing the governing," Hayes said.

Paul J. Richards / Getty Images

"Tonight it is my honor and privilege to announce that I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. "

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Maine Legislature has gone into recess, leaving such major issues as tax conformity and Clean Election funding unresolved. House Republicans rejected a proposal from Democrats to break the impasse.

Tempers are short at the State House, and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau is calling on leaders to work on finding a solution.

“I am hopeful that in the next two or three days that leadership will get in this building, find a solution to this problem, and complete the work that the people of this state sent us to do,” Thibodeau said.

Among the vetoes overridden by Maine lawmakers Monday is one that supporters are calling a "significant victory for criminal justice reform." The Legislature is putting an end to the practice of automatic drivers' license suspensions for failing to pay fines for most non-driving-related violations.

Advocates for the poor have long complained that the current system punishes low income and rural Mainers with no access to public transportation most of all: failure to pay a fine for a criminal offense and your driver's license is automatically suspended.

Maine Public

With President Trump's announcement of his U.S. Supreme Court nominee just hours away, health care advocates are stepping up pressure on Senator Susan Collins to protect abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act

Maine Forest Rangers

By wide margins, lawmakers have overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of legislation allowing forest rangers to carry firearms, ending a long legislative fight.

Rep. John Martin a Democrat from Eagle Lake, opposed the measure in the past, but voted against the veto.

“I know it is a difficult change for many of us who have taken the position that I have over the years,” says Martin. “But in this day and age. I’m convinced the right thing to do today is override the Governor’s veto.”

By a large margin, lawmakers voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to fund Maine’s county jails.

The measure is aimed at helping the jails address the demands caused by more inmates, and by inmates who need costly medical or mental health care. It provides an ongoing $3 million appropriation and a one-time use of another $3 million from surplus funds in accounts of the state’s professional licensing boards.

House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette, a Republican from Newport, had urged the house sustain the veto.

UNE.edu

Most students applying for admission to the University of New England will no longer need to submit standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT, beginning in the fall of 2019.

The Biddeford-based school follows in the footsteps of dozens of others that have adopted "test-optional" admissions policies over the past four years.

Dean of Admissions Scott Steinberg says UNE has found that high school grades predict college success far better than standardized tests.

A bill to prevent therapy aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity has died after the Maine House failed Monday to override GOP Gov. Paul LePage's veto of the legislation.

The measure would have banned so-called "conversion therapy" in Maine. The governor said the ban would be bad public policy and that there is no evidence that any medical professionals in Maine are even using the therapy.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House of Representatives Monday upheld Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that would have funded voter-approved Medicaid expansion in Maine.

MYSTIC, Conn. - A replica of a Viking longship that sailed across the Atlantic Ocean is scheduled to leave its current home in Connecticut.
 
The 115-foot Draken Harald Harfagre is scheduled to sail out of Mystic Seaport Museum on Monday. The Day reports that the Draken has been at the museum since 2016, where it has undergone maintenance while raising funds for the next leg of its voyage to Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
 
The vessel is scheduled to return to Mystic in October.
 

SCARBOROUGH, Maine - Public works employees say they found two truckloads worth of fireworks debris at a Maine beach in apparent contempt of current prohibitions on beach fireworks.
 
Spent fireworks canisters, busted beach chairs, plastic bits and other remnants were found strewn across Pine Point Beach in Scarborough early Thursday. The Portland Press Herald reports town officials say they have a perennial problem around the Fourth of July trying to enforce the fireworks ban.
 

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