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.

Joel Page / Associated Press File

This story was originally published Jan. 8, 2017 at 5:22 p.m. ET.

New England electricity customers could get a direct benefit from a cut in federal corporate taxes — lower utility bills.

Consumer advocates in New England are calling on regulators and utilities to turn over to ratepayers any savings from a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, which the recent tax law knocked down by 40 percent.

Darron Cummings / Associated Press

 

The Department of Justice is refusing to release documents compiled during President Donald Trump’s now-dissolved voter fraud commission to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

Front Street Shipyard

When JB Turner opened the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast six years ago, he had a handful of workers and a vision.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press File

Maine’s two U.S. senators say they are opposed to President Donald Trump’s proposal that would open federal waters on the East Coast to oil and gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the proposal this week that would allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all U.S. coastal waters, granting energy companies access to leases off California for the first time in decades and opening more than a billion acres in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard.

The proposal would lift a ban put in place by President Barack Obama a few years ago.

This week, the Trump administration released proposed rules that would make it easier for small businesses and the self-employed to band together to buy association health plans.

Supporters say the plans will provide more affordable coverage. But critics say any savings these plans might offer would come at a cost: namely, skimpy coverage and a weaker individual market.

The proposed new rules are aimed at association health plans — plans in which small businesses in the same industry group together to buy insurance coverage and get cheaper rates.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Starting three years from now, high school students in Maine won’t be able to graduate by just earning enough credits — they’ll need to have mastered a set of standards in subjects including math, English and science. Some schools are taking new approaches to help students meet the new proficiency standards — but some educators are still worried that a large percentage of students may not be able to make the grade.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Activities across Maine nearly ground to a halt Thursday in the face of an intense nor’easter.

On Thursday, the Trump administration announced a draft proposal that would open large swaths of federal waters to potential oil and gas drilling, including the coast of Maine.

The proposal would open most of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling for a five-year lease period to start in 2019. The prospect of rigs churning up the seabed in the Gulf of Maine, alongside struggling shrimp stocks, valuable scallops and the state’s iconic lobster has environmental advocates furious.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

In addition to snow and wind, Thursday’s blizzard brought historic flooding to the southern Maine coast, from Portland all the way into New Hampshire.

Haven Daley / Associated Press File

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it will rescind Obama-era rules that went easy on enforcement of federal marijuana laws. The news dismays supporters of Maine’s law, and opponents say it will reopen the debate.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

Twenty years ago this month, much of the state was coping with an icy disaster: downed power lines, toppled trees, impassable roads, frozen pipes and darkness for nights on end.

Schools turned into shelters, power crews worked feverishly around the clock and Mainers pulled together, offering hot showers and cups of coffee and swapping stories about surviving the Ice Storm of ‘98.

President Donald Trump’s decision to dissolve his controversial voter fraud commission has made Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap something of a hero among progressives and voting rights advocates.

It was Dunlap who successfully sued the commission, forcing it to turnover its working papers — one of several lawsuits the administration says influenced its decision to disband the fraud commission.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

A nor’easter bringing more than a foot of snow, high winds and even colder temperatures to many parts of Maine is posing serious challenges for community agencies trying to connect fuel suppliers with low-income clients.

Police plan to charge a 17-year-old Lewiston High School student with terrorizing following an alleged shooting threat on social media Tuesday night.

Lewiston administrators began hearing from parents and community members about an alleged threat on social media by a student at Lewiston High School on Tuesday night. A screenshot of the message provided by Lewiston school officials suggested that the student’s friend was planning on “shooting up the school.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conference of New England's governors and eastern Canada's premiers to discuss closer regional collaboration, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Boston.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

A federal judge has ordered Gov. Paul LePage to release about $3 million in federal job training funds to one of Maine’s three regional workforce boards.

The decision comes four months after the governor refused to release about $8 million in federal funds that are intended to go to the regional boards, including about $3 million for Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc., based in Brunswick.

LePage has repeatedly tried to consolidate the boards into one to reduce administrative costs, but those efforts have been rejected by federal officials.

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