Steve Mistler

Chief Political Correspondent and State House Bureau Chief

Steve has been a journalist for nearly two decades, specializing in the coverage of politics and state government. His work has been recognized by the Maine Press Association and the New England Newspaper and Press Association for investigative projects and accountability journalism. He was named the MPA’s Journalist of the Year in 2011 for his coverage of municipal government for The Forecaster in Falmouth and, later, for his coverage of state government for the Sun Journal in Lewiston.

Steve became the state house bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram in 2012. After four years with Maine’s largest daily newspaper, Steve made the leap to radio journalism, joining Maine Public in May 2016.

Steve is married with one child and has two crazy dogs. His family lives in Brunswick.

Ways to Connect

Marcel Oosterwijk / Flickr/Creative Commons

Next week the Maine Ethics Commission will take up a proposal designed to put some distance between lobbyists on the one hand and elected legislators and state officials on the other.

The proposal stems from a complaint against a former Democratic legislator who was hired by the Maine AFL-CIO.

Maine Public political correspondent Steve Mistler explains the controversy, and more importantly the purpose of, what are often called revolving door laws.

Q: Can you explain what a revolving door is in state government?

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's decade-long resistance to a controversial federal identification law is drawing closer to an end following a vote in the House of Representatives Tuesday. The House voted 115-30 on a bill that would comply with the Real ID law, while also allowing Mainers to individually opt out.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A new poll by the Morning Consult finds that Maine's two U.S. senators are among the most popular in the country, while Gov. Paul LePage's favorability is as high as it's ever been.

The poll of more than 770 Maine voters found that 67 percent of respondents viewed Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King favorably.

It's a slight dip for Collins and a slight jump for King since the Morning Consult polled Mainers last summer.

A popular campaign tool used by aspiring legislative leaders in Augusta could be taken away, under a new bill being considered at the State House. Those behind the measure say it will reduce the exchange of money for influence between lawmakers and the industries they’re supposed to regulate.

Tom Porter / Maine Public file

Maine’s two major airports want to regulate and charge ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft that pick up passengers at the terminals. Airport officials are backing legislation that would allow those changes, which they say are needed to prevent chaos outside the baggage claim area.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press/file

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Thursday joined 51 other Republicans to change a rule designed encourage bipartisan agreement on high court nominations.

A Republican state lawmaker known for controversial statements about transgender people and immigrants says Mainers’ views on climate change should be protected against discrimination.

Rep. Larry Lockman of Amherst says people who don’t believe in climate science are treated like heretics. Testifying before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee Thursday, Lockman quickly addressed the national headlines generated by his bill.

“This bill is not about creating a new protected class for people who believe that the earth is flat,” he said.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Senate has voted 31-4 to endorse a bill that will make Maine comply with the federal Real ID law. 

The bill is designed to make Maine drivers' licenses align with the  federal identification law, which was passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and established minimum security standards for state-issued identification cards.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is hoping to force the authorization of $15 million in voter-approved bonds for senior housing with a bill that removes Gov. Paul LePage from the process.

The governor has refused to release the bonds, which nearly 70 percent of voters authorized two years ago.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz told the Legislature’s budget-writing committee that lawmakers need to act if the governor won’t.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Legislative leaders in both parties are vowing to enact a constitutional amendment designed to give victims of violent crimes the same legal standing as those accused of committing them.

Gov. Paul LePage pointed the finger at the Maine Legislature and secretary of state Thursday for Maine’s continued noncompliance with the federal REAL ID law. LePage says it’s preventing veterans in southern Maine from accessing certain VA services.

But the governor plans to veto a bill that would ensure veterans access to health care, while another bill that brings Maine into full compliance with REAL ID could land on his desk as early as next week.

AUGUSTA, Maine -  The Maine Ethics Commission is looking into the finances of a controversial casino campaign backed by an offshore investment firm.

The backers of a controversial ballot campaign to build a casino in York County had little to say during at a public hearing being held at the State House Wednesday. However, the hearing did reveal that an offshore investment company with a checkered history is backing the proposal. 

The leading Democrat and Republican on the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee had hoped a public hearing on the York County casino referendum will help answer several questions about the campaign and a gambling developer who has left a trail of litigation in his past.

Maine’s congressional delegation has split over a proposal that halts internet privacy regulations set to go into effect later this year.

The bill on its way to President Donald Trump would allow internet providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to monitor their customers’ online behavior, such as browsing history, financial information and location information. The providers could mine the information and sell the data or use it for highly targeted online ads — an industry worth an estimated $83 billion.

Dozens of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers may have violated a law requiring them to update their public income disclosure when they or their spouse change jobs.