Maine Things Considered

4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

Weekdays at 4 p.m. join host Nora Flaherty and hear Maine’s only daily statewide radio news program. Maine Public Radio's award-winning news staff brings you the latest news from across Maine and the region, as well as in-depth reports on the most important issues.

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.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Scores of Democrats filled the staircase in the State House Hall of Flags today as their leaders outlined a proposed budget package. They laid out the major goals of the plan — but not many of the details — in this gambit for crafting a two-year state budget.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Maine still has lots and lots of trees, but the decline of the paper industry has devastated rural communities that depend on forest products.

Kevin Bennett

The continuing debate over whether to change how Maine’s new minimum wage law affects tipped workers raged on in Augusta Wednesday, as stakeholders on both sides filled three overflow hearing rooms and crowded the hallways of the State House.

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.

Maine Audubon File Photo

PORTLAND, Maine - The number of loon chicks in southern Maine's lakes and ponds has increased dramatically over last year's count.

The count by Maine Audubon used almost 900 volunteer counters who looked at 304 lakes and ponds across the state.

They found a 76 percent increase in the estimate of chicks - to 384.

But Audubon wildlife biologist Susan Gallo says, contrary to appearances, the trend for chicks is flat.

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.

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

The man once dubbed “the high priest of Republican tax cutting” is speaking in Maine tonight.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, a group he created in 1985 to oppose all tax increases and advocate for a simpler, flatter structure.

More recently Norquist has been talking about how the conservative House Freedom Caucus could still play a role in repealing the Affordable Care Act, and also in reducing taxes.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

If there were too many mice in Milbridge, Dr. Cathleen London might have built a better mousetrap. Instead, the rising numbers of uninsured patients with allergy conditions inspired her to adapt an emergency auto-injector at a fraction of the $600 cost offered by the company that manufactures EpiPens.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Editor's note: Since being interviewed for this story, the Maine Medical Association has updated its position as neither for nor against the Death with Dignity bills.

This week Maine lawmakers will consider two similar bills that pose the same question: Should terminally ill patients have the right to end their lives?

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says he will vote against the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public file photo

Under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, the federal Department of Education would see a drastic cut in almost every area except for one: it would add more than $1 billion in funding for “school choice.” That new emphasis has many educators in rural Maine concerned.

Several Maine District Attorney’s offices say they’ll stop using a private prisoner-transport company after an investigation by the Lewiston Sun-Journal into allegations by a Lewiston woman, who was being brought from Florida to Auburn to face probation violation, that the company seriously mistreated her during the ride.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A team of state and federal investigators is trying to pinpoint who’s behind two separate fires that destroyed six tractor trailer cabs owned by the same company in Scarborough and Poland Sunday night causing close to a million dollars in damage.

Steve McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety says what appear to be coordinated arsons are unusual for Maine.  The first one was reported at 8:16 in Scarborough by a truck driver who was sleeping in his rig on-site.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

This story was originally published Friday, March 31.

This month about 70 women inmates formerly held in York County moved into the Southern Maine Women’s Re-entry Center in Windham, a brand-new facility designed to house close to 100 minimum-security prisoners who have less than four years remaining on their sentences.