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

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is moving to acquire a $1.2 million conservation easement to protect a remote plantation of sugar maples — meaning it could soon become a stakeholder in Maine’s maple syrup industry.

Progress for Maine

A controversial campaign to build a York County casino is touting an analysis that says the project will bring millions of dollars in state revenues, thousands of jobs and a boost to the region’s household earnings. The analysis was paid for by Progress for Maine, the political action committee leading the campaign to approve Question 1.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

Roughly three dozen projects are expected to apply for approximately $3.2 million in state funding through Maine’s premier conservation program. And one of the projects — a bid to conserve a remote, 23,600-acre swath of timberland and its plantation of sugar maples in Somerset County — is seeking $1.2 million.

Law enforcement agencies in eastern Maine are criticizing a decision by Verizon Wireless to terminate cell service due to excessive cost. Police say the company’s decision will have an adverse effect on their work, and on the ability of residents to call 911.

Verizon officials remained tight-lipped Wednesday regarding the actual number of dropped customers, which some sources say could be as high as 2,000.

Holly Ramer / Associated Press

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap blasted the vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission for claiming there’s proof that thousands of illegal votes were cast in New Hampshire last year.

Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

Mainers could pay a 20 percent sales tax on purchases of recreational marijuana if a bill proposed by the Legislature’s marijuana implementation committee becomes law.

The tax is double what was proposed in a ballot initiative approved by voters last year. But it’s similar to the effective tax rates in the seven other states that allow for the retail sale of recreational marijuana.

David Boyer, who helped lead the ballot campaign last year, said he’s OK with the proposed increase as long it doesn’t encourage continued use of Maine’s robust illicit market.

One ad for a 2018 congressional candidate shows him wearing a T-shirt with an unofficial Marine Corps motto, "Pain is weakness leaving the body." Another ad shows a candidate boasting, "I was the first woman Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat. And I got to land on aircraft carriers."

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says she’s confident that Congress will preserve and modify an Obama-era program that protects young, undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Collins told reporters after an event at York County Community College that lawmakers should act to protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Maine Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins outlined the two factors she's weighing before making a decision about a run for a governor during a question-and-answer session at York County Community College Friday.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has altered the wording of two ballot questions that will appear before voters in November. He released the final wording of the questions on Thursday.

Question 1, which will allow a single casino developer to build a gambling facility in York County, has been changed to remove the words “out of state” before the words “certain company.”

Department spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski says the wording was changed to alleviate concerns that the initial wording could be viewed as biased against out-of-state companies.

Rod Hiltz, the executive director of the Maine State Employees Association, has resigned.

Hiltz’s resignation was announced to the state’s largest public sector labor union on Thursday, the day after members voted to accept a two-year contract that eliminates a requirement that all employees pay union fees, even if they’re not members.

The state’s two largest public sector labor unions have voted for a two-year contract that will eliminate the requirement that all employees pay union fees even if they’re not members.

The vote, tallied Wednesday night, has been billed as a big political win for Gov. Paul LePage because it could weaken the political might of the Maine State Employees Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees if future contracts contain the same provision.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

The sister of controversial gambling developer Shawn Scott says she’s stepping down from the embattled campaign to convince voters to allow a casino in York County.

 

Miami resident Lisa Scott announced in a press statement that she’s disengaging from the campaign “given that it appears my past involvement has become a distraction from the real issue at hand: Construction of a facility that will provide the residents of Maine with new economic growth, jobs, and funding for K-12 education and other vital programs.”

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Ethics Commission voted 3-2 to fine the assistant majority leader of the Maine Senate a total of $9,000 for failing to disclose using campaign funds, in some instances to provide short-term loans for a business he owns.

The vote by the commission follows a probe into Cushing’s finances that began in November of last year. The fine is lower than the one Cushing could have been assessed. Under Maine law, the Newport Republican could have been hit with a penalty of $105,000.

Lawmakers should scuttle a costly economic development initiative and use the savings to pay for Maine's public campaign finance program, according to the Maine Citizens for Clean Elections.

The group's acting director says doing so will fulfill a voter-backed directive to do away with ineffective tax giveaways and bolster the Clean Elections program.

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