Maine Public

Fred Bever / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine — When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday, his audience in the House chamber will include a number “Dreamers” who could face deportation as early as March — including one who grew up here.

The Maine Legislature is considering a proposal that would increase the possible jail time for a second offense of “visual sexual aggression” aimed at a child.

Under current law, the maximum penalty for exposing oneself to a child in Maine is one year in jail even with a prior offense. Sen. Eloise Vitelli, a Democrat from Arrowsic, is sponsoring a bill that would increase that sentence to five years in prison.

She says she sponsored the proposal at the request of a mother of a 13-year-old victim.

The University of Maine System Board of Trustees is still working on refining its policy on political activity by employees.

The recently unveiled draft policy has drawn criticism from faculty and others because of fears they'd be prohibited from expressing their views and engaging in the political process.

A new system for filing unemployment claims remains broken, according to some state lawmakers.

State Rep. Ryan Fecteau says he and other elected officials continue to receive complaints about problems with signing into accounts online, and reaching system administrators by phone.

Fecteau says those problems are directly impacting people's financial stability. "The issue now is that folks who should have been receiving a benefit quite a while ago, they aren't receiving a benefit, and therefore haven't been paying bills, because they just can't."

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Whether it's lobsters bound for Beijing, Shipyard beer being sold in Sheffield, England or tongue depressors turning up in Thailand, Maine products are making inroads into world markets. For some entrepreneurs, there can be a big payoff. This is the first in a series we're calling, "It CAN Get There From Here."

Jennifer Mitchell visited the Shipyard Brewery in Portland where she found out that international beer success is driven largely by relationships.

Shipyard founder, Fred Forsley, is busy canning a beer that isn't even his.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

The progressive advocacy group the Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) has a filed petition with the Secretary of State to force consideration of a citizens’ initiative that outlines a major expansion of home-based care for seniors and the individuals with disabilities. The initiative also seeks to increase pay to the providers of those services. The proposal immediately drew criticism from business groups.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Republican Party is denying involvement with a secretive website that’s attacked progressive candidates, including one defeated in the recent Lewiston mayoral race.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

As the winter Olympics approach in February, athletes are being named to final rosters, including four athletes from Maine. But some are still waiting to hear if they will be chosen for the games that come after that. 

Wikimedia Commons

The mayors of Bangor, Maine, and Bangor, Pa. have placed a wager on the upcoming Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Bangor, Maine Mayor Ben Sprague is placing a host of Maine-centric items on the line, including a box of whoopee pies, a blueberry pie and a collection of Stephen King books.

Bangor, Pa. Mayor Brooke Kerzner is wagering two slate boards for the game quoits, which is similar to horseshoes, as well as beer, chocolate and coffee.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has formally reprimanded a former York County probate judge who has been punished a number of times for ethical violations.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the ruling involves a decision Robert Nadeau made in a child custody case. Nadeau had ordered a woman to pay $23 a week in child support payments. She claimed Nadeau was retaliating because of posts she had made about his candidacy in an upcoming election. The paper says the woman had asked Nadeau to recuse himself, but he declined.

Central Maine Power (CMP) is forging ahead with plans to build a major transmission line in western Maine to bring wind and hydro power from Canada into New England's electricity grid. This is despite losing its bid for a big renewable energy contract from Massachusetts this week, which was instead provisionally awarded to a New Hampshire-based transmission project, called Northern Pass.

Mindy Saint Martin

A Waterville family is asking Gov. Paul LePage and members of Maine's congressional delegation to intervene on behalf of a Haitian man who was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this month for reasons that are not clear. The man, Lexius Saint Martin, is now being held at a New Hampshire jail awaiting deportation.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The U.S. Border Patrol is running daily citizenship checks on buses traveling from Fort Kent toward the state's interior and making periodic checks on buses originating in Bangor. Civil rights advocates say these checks may be in violation of protections outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Daniel Heibert, chief patrol agent for the Houlton sector, says the agency has the authority to make such checks anywhere within 100 miles of the border, a standard which encompasses the entire state of Maine.

A few weeks ago, Augusta police were inundated with hundreds of complaints that a convicted sex offender in the community was taking pictures of children in public places. Lawmakers will consider a proposal to make that a crime.

Augusta Republican Rep. Matt Pouilot said he was surprised and disgusted when parents told him about the incident, and again when police said there was no law being broken.

Bill Dickinson / Flickr

A year-long effort to remove obstacles in the state's building code for Mainers interested in pursuing a so-called "tiny home lifestyle" has been deemed a success by a Maine lawmaker who originally sponsored a bill to address the issue.

"The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code has in fact been amended and as of yesterday, it went live and we now have specific definitions and allowances for tiny homes here in Maine," said State Rep. Seth Berry, a Bowdoinham Democrat.

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