Maine Public

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Tuition and room and board at Maine's public universities could be going up by almost 3 percent next fall. That's according to proposed budget numbers reviewed by the University of Maine System's finance committee on Tuesday.

Under the new budget, in-state students would pay almost $18,000 in tuition, fees, room and board, about $500 more per student than last year. University spokesperson Dan Demeritt says the proposed increase is needed to maintain programs and keep up with inflation across the university system's seven campuses.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is supporting a lawsuit brought by three of its affiliates against the Trump administration. The lawsuit is trying to block proposed changes to the Title X program, which provides funding for birth control and reproductive health care to low income patients.

The legislature is back in session, but whether they will extend the session to consider dozens of bills is uncertain.

Lawmakers dealt with twenty vetoes from Governor LePage in a few hours, overriding some and sustaining others. But then the House stalled over extending the session to consider a number of bills still before lawmakers.

House Speaker Sarah Gideon offered a four-day extension, and an attempt to reduce that to a single day failed, and now further votes are expected.

Two photographs of the man accused of killing a Sheriff's Deputy last week in Norridewock have gotten numerous comments on social media and otherwise.

One picture shows John Williams laying on his stomach at the time of his capture with a hand lifting his head by his hair. State Police say Williams was in this position because he was uncooperative and authorities had to facilitate the picture.

In the second photo, taken when he was booked, Williams has a black eye which authorities say happened as Williams was being arrested.

Democratic candidate for governor Adam Cote and Republican candidate Shawn Moody continue to lead their respective primary opponents in campaign cash, but two candidates utilizing Maine’s public financing system are also in a strong position heading into the final 40 days before the June 12 election.

This fall, Maine voters will be asked to vote on a new tax for those with incomes over $128,000. Money from the tax is intended to pay for a variety of home-based care programs for seniors and others. More than two dozen various business groups are opposing the ballot initiative.

Nearly 18,000 acres of forested land in Hancock and Washington counties have been acquired by the Virginia-based Conservation Fund.

Tom Duffus, vice-president and northeast representative of the group, said Wednesday that the land will be conveyed to several Maine conservation groups once they have raised the money to purchase the parcels. The spokesperson said the acquisition will protect wildlife habitat, ensure future recreational access, and support the economies of nearby coastal communities.

All of Maine's metro areas had unemployment rates last month below the national and state averages. The unemployment rate in Bangor was just 3.1 percent in March, in Lewiston Auburn, the figure was 2.8 percent and in Portland-South Portland, the jobless rate was just 2.4 percent.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in all three metro areas, the unemployment rates are lower than the national average, 4.1 percent. Bangor matched the state's 3.1 percent rate; Lewiston-Auburn and Portland-South Portland were lower.

Mark Plummer / Flickr/Creative Commons

This summer’s annual Lobster Festival Parade will have its usual share of firetrucks, floats and marching bands — but you won’t see any politicians or political parties making their way down Main Street in Rockland. It’s the first time in the event’s 70-year-history that organizers have imposed such a restriction, citing concerns raised by other parade entrants.

Noah Berger / Associated Press

Whether Maine will join the handful of states with a functioning market for recreational marijuana could be determined Wednesday when lawmakers vote on a bill vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage. 

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

A new fare structure from the Maine Department of Transportation is being challenged by Islesboro residents, who have been informed that their tickets to the mainland will more than double on May 21.

Some disgruntled islanders allegedly responded with threats of retaliation against DOT workers assigned to the state ferry service. That has prompted DOT Commissioner David Bernhardt to make some threats of his own.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA research permit #15488

A group of New England senators is calling on the U.S. government to speed up an analysis of Canada’s efforts to protect the endangered North American right whale, and to consider trade action if Canada’s rules do not prove as strong as in the U.S.

Family photo

The father of a 5-year-old boy who drowned last week says he and his wife plan to use proceeds raised from online fundraising to improve safety at an Auburn park that’s on the Androscoggin River.

“See about setting up some type of life buoy system so anybody, trained or not, can throw something out to try to rescue anybody,” says Jason McFarland, whose son Valerio fell into the river at Bonney Park.

McFarland’s 10-year-old son Maxim jumped in to help, but also had to be rescued. He’s now in fair condition at Maine Medical Center and is expected to make a full recovery.

The ACLU of Maine has filed a lawsuit in federal court against U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security.

The ACLU claims that the agencies have ignored a Freedom of Information Act request for records into the agencies’ investigations into the citizenship status of bus passengers in Maine. ACLU of Maine staff attorney Emma Bond says the organization filed the FOIA request in January after learning that Customs and Border Protection agents were questioning passengers boarding a Concord Coach Lines bus in Bangor.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Several health care advocacy organizations in Maine are suing the state over its refusal to expand Medicaid. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court, seeks to compel the Department of Health and Human Services to implement Medicaid expansion after it missed a deadline to file an application with the federal government.