Saturday, April 19, 2014
Maine politicians turn to voters with welfare pitches
Medicaid expansion and welfare reform figure prominently in both parties’ plans for fall.
Maine conservative think tank CEO heading to Virginia
J. Scott Moody will lead a group that helps states develop budgets.
N.H. senate death penalty vote ‘gut wrenching’
A pair of Democrats from the same city split their votes and showed a deep divide remains.
Maine to put ID photos on welfare benefit cards
The LePage administration says the action will prevent fraud and abuse, but advocates for the poor say such plans potentially harm those who rely on benefits.
Final-hours push for Maine Medicaid expansion appears headed for another LePage veto
A new proposal would use federal money allocated to expand the program to help low-income Mainers buy private insurance coverage.
Obamacare sign-ups reach 8 million, boosted by young adults
That 35 percent of those enrollees are under age 35 is crucial to the health care law’s success.
Maine may be fined $7 million over welfare work shortcomings
The U.S. wants $7 million for non-compliance that Gov. Paul LePage says he tried to fix, but others say a big fine is unlikely and the non-compliance is from 2011.
Poll shows LePage, Michaud in virtual tie in Maine race for governor
The survey gives the governor a slight lead -- his first in public poll -- but margin of error, other surveys indicates dead heat.
Ex-senator in Maine: Health care going from illness to wellness system
Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle told a Colby lecture series audience 'We can do this.'
State House calendar, May 10, 2013
Hearings and work sessions for Friday.
Maine approves bill to hold OUI offenders more accountable
The measure allows prosecutors to consider a driver’s lifetime felony offenses, rather than being limited to looking back 10 years.
Lawmakers send overdose antidote bill to Gov. LePage
The bill is amended slightly in an effort to win the governor’s approval.
U.S. earmarks $600 million to update job training
The grants unveiled by President Obama are aimed at getting schools and businesses collaborating to support skills employers need now or will need in the future.
Maine Senate upholds LePage veto of solar rebate bill
The governor objected to the bill because it would’ve added 60 cents a year to residents’ electric bills.
Maine congressional candidates Cain, Poliquin close in fundraising
Cain, a Democrat, and Poliquin, a Republican, are well ahead of their opponents in the June 10 primary.
State House calendar, April 30, 2013
Hearings and work sessions for Tuesday.
Shenna Bellows gets boost from pro-choice EMILY’s List
The organization's fundraising messages will feature the Democratic candidate who is challenging Sen. Susan Collins.
Maine Legislature enacts $32 million budget fix
The proposal includes a provision to help hundreds of developmentally disabled Mainers waiting for home- and community-based support services.
Maine bill to halt virtual charter schools fails in House
The bill falls short of the two-thirds support that emergency measures, or bills that take effect immediately, need for final passage.
Maine House OKs bill to expand preschool programs
The bill now faces a final Senate vote before being sent to Gov. Paul LePage.
Cutler releases Maine tax reform plan
Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler’s plan would reduce property taxes by up to 40 percent, and pay for it by expanding the sales tax.
Maine House supports more access to lifesaving overdose antidote
Gov. LePage says he’ll veto the bill because of a last-minute change, but the 147-0 vote signals it’s likely to be overridden.
House also rejects LePage’s 'Open for Business' zones
The governor’s proposal to offer businesses tax breaks and ‘right-to-work’ zones had earlier been rejected by the Senate.
Waterboro Republican says he won’t seek third term in Maine House
Rep. Aaron Libby, 31, says the legislative schedule makes it difficult to work on his family’s Limerick farm.
LePage’s plan for special ‘Open for Business Zones’ rejected by Senate
The governor calls the vote ‘the latest attack by job-killing liberal politicians.’
Medicaid expansion bill dies, can’t overcome LePage veto
The bill would have extended care to more than 60,000 low-income Mainers. LePage said he didn’t trust the federal government to follow through on its promise to pay for it.
Congressman’s infidelity leads to accusations of hypocrisy in Louisiana
Calls for Rep. McAllister to step down are very different from the support Republicans showed Sen. Vitter when he was linked to prostitutes in 2007.
LePage vetoes solar power rebate bill
The bill would have provided $1 million for a program for people who buy solar-powered systems.
Maine bill to expand state control of county jails wins widespread support
A legislator says the proposal would give the Board of Corrections tools to combat inefficiencies.
Obama praises Sebelius, nominates successor
The president nominates his budget chief, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to replace Sebelius, calling her ‘a proven manager’ who knows how to get results.
Angus King vote fuels talk of a switch to Republicans
But the independent Maine senator says he’ll decide after the elections based on what’s best for his state.
Bill Nemitz: For once, the Big Guy really is a big guy
Gov. Paul LePage changes his mind on the heroin overdose antidote Narcan – for the right reason.
Bellows raises $433,000 for U.S. Senate bid
The Democrat still trails incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins in the money race by a large margin.
House passes entitlement-slashing budget blueprint
The non-binding measure passes with Republican-only support.
LePage vetoes Maine Medicaid expansion bill
The bill received bipartisan support but not enough to override LePage, who says Maine cannot afford it and federal promises can't be trusted.
Sebelius resigning after contentious HHS reign
The Health and Human Services secretary is leaving after five years of battling over health care.
Senate Republicans block bill to narrow pay gap for women
They say the proposal would do more harm than good. Democrats will use their opposition as an election issue.
LePage renews his plea for welfare reform
Meanwhile, a new hotline enables law enforcement to directly report EBT card fraud to the state DHHS.
House backs modified version of LePage drug war
A legislative panel adds treatment funding while reducing the governor’s request for drug agents.
Maine panel proposes $30 million budget fix, adding services for disabled
The deal to reduce waiting lists for home- and community-based care for hundreds of developmentally disabled residents is a key element of the agreement.
LePage relents a bit on lifesaving heroin overdose antidote
After fighting wider access to naloxone, LePage says he would allow it for certain family members, but some ask why not police and EMTs.
House bill makes LePage’s welfare reforms unlikely
Democrats squeak through a compromise different from one passed by the Senate, making a deal a long shot.
Pingree bill would continue to let farm animals eat spent brewery grain
The legislation would create an exception to a federal proposal that was criticized by Maine brewers and farmers.
Obama signs orders aimed at closing gender pay gap
The executive actions are part of his drive to act on his own when Congress stalls on his policy initiatives.
Updated Maine beer law allows bars to display alcohol content
A new portion of state law reverses a 1937 statute that made it illegal for a bar or restaurant to display the ABV of a beer.
Maine senator’s bill aimed to help one constituent
Some say Sen. Troy Jackson’s proposal would have overstepped the Legislature’s authority.
LePage signs bill to help Maine paper mill reopen
The law encourages, but does not force, Great Northern’s power provider to share certain profits with the paper-maker in East Millinocket.
Maine House OKs penalizing companies that outsource jobs
Supporters of the bill say it will protect Maine jobs. But Republicans say that the measure is a job killer.
President Obama’s aunt, who lived in U.S. illegally, dies in Boston at 61
Zeituni Onyango, who came here from Kenya, was denied asylum in 2004, then allowed to stay in 2010.
LePage pushes photo IDs for Maine welfare cards
A DHHS spokesman says the administration is preparing to launch a pilot project to include photo IDs on electronic benefit transfer cards.
Vermont’s Sanders considers run for president, heads to N.H.
He’s particularly focused on liberal priorities such as economic inequality and global warming.
Maine Democrats back fixes to welfare
But the amended version of a LePage bill to restrict usage lacks Republican support, and more votes are scheduled.
Scott Brown to officially start Senate bid Thursday
Brown says he will kick off his campaign in Portsmouth, N.H., where he once lived as a child.
Sen. Angus King 'stunned' by ex-Vice President Cheney’s remarks on torture
The Maine independent criticizes Cheney's endorsement of the Bush-era use of waterboarding.
NH senators press for more heating funds
Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen say that the Obama administration’s budget proposal requests too little for the Low Income Home Heating Assistance Program.
Maine Republicans rally for welfare bills, Democrats consider a compromise
The Senate will vote on Gov. Paul LePage’s welfare proposals on Monday.
Lawmakers reject LePage plan for more logging of public forests
The bill would have diverted some of the proceeds to boost home energy efficiency.
George W. Bush puts his paintings of world leaders on display
The exhibit includes more than two dozen portraits, including the Dalai Lama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Heavily debated welfare reforms go nowhere in Maine House
Legislators do endorse one revamped bill on EBT card use but turn down other proposals from LePage, who is ‘appalled’ by the outcome.
Supreme Court ruling on campaign contributions may force Maine to change its law
The state’s $25,000 aggregate cap on donations to Maine candidates and committees may now be unconstitutional.
Report blasts CIA's actions after 9/11
The spy agency’s actions after the terror attacks are the subject of a still-secret, 6,300-page report.
Susan Collins steps up fundraising efforts
The Maine senator steps up her fundraising after her Democratic challenger surprised many by outpacing Collins during the final three months of 2013
New PAC's support of Michaud draws criticism from his opponents
Thursday’s filing by union-backed Maine Forward ignites criticism from the campaigns of Eliot Cutler and Gov. Paul LePage.
House Republicans vote to change health care law’s definition of full-time work
The change would raise full-time work week hours from 30 to 40.
Panel endorses LePage nominee for Maine rail board
The state Transportation Committee unanimously recommends Robert McEvoy to the Senate.
Maine House rejects LePage’s energy bill
The bill would have taken $1 million in timber harvest revenue to help Maine residents buy things like heat pumps to lower their heating costs.
Maine finance Commissioner H. Sawin Millett to retire
A public servant for nearly 55 years, he has helped Gov. LePage institute a variety of budget initiatives.
LePage lets Maine budget fix become law without signing
The measure closes a $40 million budget gap this fiscal year and an $18 million shortfall in the one that ends June 30, 2015.
Republicans like campaign money ruling, Democrats don’t
Either way, it’s likely to benefit the two major political parties and their candidates for Congress.
Analysis of Maine data raises questions on out-of-state welfare card misuses
Gov. LePage says cash withdrawals outside Maine show reforms are needed, but they made up fewer than 2% of all cash transactions.
Supreme Court loosens limits on campaign donors
Though individual donations may still be capped, the rich are free to spread their wealth.
Maine lawmakers override two vetoes by Gov. LePage
One bill would create a study group to improve the state’s response to child abuse and neglect.
In poll, most Americans say legal marijuana inevitable
That’s the view of 75% of respondents in a survey that also found support for shorter drug sentences.
Maine appeals reversal of DEP chief’s wind farm decision
Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy had nullified the DEP chief’s decision about noise complaints.
Maine’s workers comp chief says media, politics created controversy
At a hearing marked by claims of election-year maneuvering, he denies having a pro-business bias in removing a hearing officer after a complaint.
Collins, King support release of CIA ‘torture’ report
The senators’ support appears likely to have tipped the balance in favor of disclosure.
LePage criticizes rejection of bill to allow minors to work
The bill would have made it easier for children younger than 16 to apply for jobs in the summer.
Bill to aid idled Maine paper mill advances
It would change state law in hopes of restarting a mill and restoring jobs in East Millinocket.
Maine wants recognition of Agent Orange exposure
A bill that focuses on potential exposure by Maine Army National Guard members will be signed into law today.
Maine businesses, towns condemn bill to remove some highway signs
They worry it will be harder for drivers to find them, but state officials say the changes are needed to meet federal standards and retain funding.
Bill Nemitz: Welfare war story doesn’t match reality
South Portland Detective Sgt. Steve Webster has stared into the abyss of 'welfare fraud' in Maine and, trust him, it’s unbelievable.
Maine House OKs studying single-payer health care system
Proponents say such a system would cut costs, but critics say the state can’t afford it.
Eliot Cutler focuses on transportation infrastructure in policy rollout
The gubernatorial candidate lays out 21 priorities, including cellphone and broadband upgrades, and say borrowing is key.
LePage board nomination angers pro-rail group
Robert McEvoy, LePage’s choice for a rail agency, opposes a proposed train facility in Brunswick.
Maine legislative panel endorses market study of gambling
The bill would direct the state to hire a consultant to determine whether there is demand for more slots here.
Maine lawmakers approve bill to block foreign tax havens
Supporters say the bill would bring millions more in tax revenue to the state and level the playing field for small businesses, but some Republicans say it would discourage business investment.
LePage official pushes ban on out-of-state use of welfare cards
She says $14 million in 2013 transactions outside Maine show why legislators ought to pass the governor’s reform proposals.
Former Israeli premier guilty in bribery case
Ehud Olmert was charged for acts committed years before he became prime minister.
Maine House votes to toss out proposed mining rules
The bill calls for a new set of regulations, which are likely to be less friendly to open-pit mining of minerals at Bald Mountain.
More than a million sign up for health insurance in last dash
Technical problems cause two interruptions on HealthCare.gov, where applicants sign up for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.
LePage's views add wrinkle to debate on Maine rail facility site
His letter about the planned Brunswick location comes just as a U.S. agency is set to decide on ordering a new impact study.
Guilty plea a warning that Maine is committed to protecting elvers
Officials are watching harvest numbers, as one Mainer found out when he hid some of his $770,000 income.
LePage pushing welfare reform ahead
The administration is expected to discuss the use of EBT cards in other states on Monday.
Bill Nemitz: Patriots who sit out the Pledge of Allegiance know where they stand
A YouTube video fuels outrage against Hampden town councilors who refuse to join in a narrow interpretation of service to country.
Powerful Republicans turn to Jeb Bush
The former Florida governor hasn’t decided to run for president, his advisers say, but he looks to be gathering support.
Kerry reverses course to meet Russian diplomat
The Secretary of State turns his plane around for a trip to Paris to discuss a diplomatic solution in Ukraine.
Maine lawmakers send Medicaid expansion bill to LePage
The bill to cover more than 60,000 uninsured Mainers faces a certain veto from the governor.
Maine agency reviewing contradictions in document-shredding testimony
Some of the explanations for some of the things that were done make you ask, ‘Does that make sense?’ says one official.
Texting banned for Maine state business
The LePage administration orders the change after it was revealed that some might be skirting public-records law.