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

Joel Page / Associated Press/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Miami woman who has been leading a controversial ballot campaign to build a casino in York County says the campaign did not intentionally mislead the Maine Ethics Commission when it failed to report its true funding sources.

Lisa Scott released a press statement Friday saying the Horseracing Jobs Fairness Campaign did not fully understand Maine's disclosure law.

In a rare move, a representative of Maine’s judicial branch appeared before a committee in Augusta today to speak against a proposal before state lawmakers.

The bill would grant the Maine Supreme Court the power to block citizen-initiated ballot questions before they even get to the voters. The judiciary believes that the bill, though designed to stop potentially unconstitutional initiatives from reaching the ballot, will result in a serious breach of the separation of powers.

Gov. Paul LePage is under fire for his characterization of how a new 3 percent surcharge to fund education will affect wealthy Mainers.

LePage was challenged on his facts by an audience member during his town hall meeting Monday in Fort Kent, his latest stop in a campaign that he hopes will convince state lawmakers to repeal the surcharge approved by voters in November.

Maine’s two members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence defended the pace of a probe into Russian election interference and alleged collusion between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of acknowledged news reports in which some members of the committee complained about staffing and unbooked interviews with key witnesses. But he says the investigation is proceeding methodically for a reason.

The Maine Legislature could force shadowy groups bankrolling Maine political campaigns to reveal their top donors.

Lawmakers are reviewing a bill from the Maine Ethics Commission that would require organizations contributing more than $100,000 to Maine-based political action committees, party committees and ballot campaigns to report their top five funders.

The proposal would have affected 13 organizations that donated a combined $14 million to Maine-based PACs in the last election.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A proposal by the Maine Department of Transportation to generate more money for roads and bridges is receiving a mixed reaction by lawmakers and municipalities.

The bill imposes annual fees on hybrid and electric vehicles, while also diverting excise taxes on tractor trailers from cities and towns to the state highway fund.

The proposal would also compel municipalities to spend motor vehicle excise tax collections only on local transportation projects.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The visceral emotions fueling the national immigration debate were in full view at the State House Thursday. Both sides converged for a public hearing on a contentious bill designed to punish what are often called sanctuary cities.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage is blasting state lawmakers for overriding his veto of a bill that allows police departments to use red emergency lights on their vehicles.

Speaking on Portland radio station WGAN Thursday, the governor said the bill is dangerous because motorists are less likely to pull over for red lights than blue ones. The governor based his assertion on his observations while riding in his executive protection vehicle.

Cal McKenzie

Sanford attorney and National Guardsman Adam Cote says he’s running for governor next year.

Cote hopes an economic-focused message, a decorated military career and his outsider status will appeal to Democratic primary voters — and eventually general election ones. He also hopes his candidacy will re-energize a Maine Democratic Party that has not fared well in recent statewide elections.

Democrats have suffered big losses in areas hit hard by mill closures while also losing ground in typical Democratic strongholds.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says Maine should regionalize education services to fight what he described as a costly and redundant administration statewide.

The governor unveiled a draft proposal during a press conference in which he again blasted school superintendents.

In addition to his proposal to provide incentives for school district consolidation, the governor says he wants to create about a dozen school management districts to share administrative costs, such as food service planning, transportation and special education.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage has nominated a former Democratic lawmaker to become the state’s next public advocate for utility customers.

Saco attorney Barry Hobbins has been tapped for the post currently held by Timothy Schneider, whose chances of getting another four-year term were doomed after he angered the governor for attempting to broker a deal on a landmark solar bill.

The governor picked Schneider for the public advocate post four years ago and seemed pleased with the Portland attorney’s work on behalf of Maine utility customers, until last year.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Maine’s ranked-choice voting law had its day in court Thursday.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments that could determine the fate of the citizen initiative passed by voters in November. The court’s views on the constitutionality of the law will likely influence legislators to either keep the first-in-the-nation system, ditch it altogether or try to amend the constitution.

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.