Friday, December 6, 2013
World leaders, barrier-breakers react to Mandela’s death
International, national and state leaders express their admiration for Nelson Mandela
LePage points to climate change as plus for Maine
But his opponents and a transportation industry expert see sobering challenges, not just business opportunities as the ice cap melts and Arctic shipping lanes open.
Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes
Maine's poorest county has struggled for years, and some wonder whether the FreeME proposal from the Maine Heritage Policy Center is the answer to overcoming poverty and boosting population.
Obama mourns death of icon Nelson Mandela
‘Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set,’ the president says.
Republicans shaping a 2014 agenda
Some want a bold approach, others moderate, but all want it to be positive.
LePage slams U.S. for missed referrals of MaineCare cases
But Democrats say many of the problems are of the governor’s own making.
Nelson Mandela, peaceful liberator and beloved president, dies at 95
The former prisoner and president used peace to overcome and end Apartheid, and in doing so set a moral example for the world.
Stakes high in farm bill debate
The milk supply may fall and prices would jump if no dairy subsidy deal is reached by year’s end.
Democrat says Maine DHHS stalling on rides broker
Despite pressure to reduce missed pickups or drop the company, Commissioner Mayhew says the decision will not be rushed.
State House calendar, May 10, 2013
Hearings and work sessions for Friday.
Bipartisan panel nearing possible budget deal
With both parties eager to avoid another shutdown, the deal would give a framework for a spending agreement.
Elizabeth Warren: I will not run for president
The U.S. senator vows to serve out her full six-year term in an attempt to end any speculation.
Obama: Income inequality a defining challenge
The president said he will focus the last three years of his term on the growing deficit of opportunity.
Maine DHHS chief: Medicaid expansion 'unsustainable'
Commissioner Mary Mayhew’s visit comes amid continuing controversies at her agency.
LePage administration defends decision to move DHHS offices from Portland
Critics of the move stage a protest by bus, riding to the proposed new site near the airport.
State House calendar, April 30, 2013
Hearings and work sessions for Tuesday.
Changing political landscape: Red fears of a blue tide in Texas
Inroads by Democrats have Republican strategists scrambling with fundraising, rallies and ads.
State deciding fate of troubled MaineCare rides broker
As DHHS reviews data from the troubled broker, a nonprofit group is set to deliver 400 petitions demanding fixes to the deficient system.
Critics of DHHS move out of Portland: Bus route to new site has 72 stops
Senate President Justin Alfond says that’s an obstacle for those who need aid, but the LePage administration says most recipients will have easy access.
Obama’s swoon hurts Democrats
Some facing tight races are keeping their distance from the president and his problems with the Affordable Care Act.
Maine tax panel gives report lacking details
The task force charged with cutting $40 million in tax breaks ultimately fails to reach a consensus.
Year-end signups pose major test for improved health care website
The risk is that some people could end up with a break in their coverage.
Collins may face Republican challenger next year
Erick Bennett founded the Maine Equal Rights Center, a conservative group focused on constitutional issues.
Maine tax breaks panel to unveil recommendations
A special group of lawmakers, economists and business leaders is expected to make preliminary recommendations to the Legislature’s budget-writing committee.
State House Notebook: Alfond denies Medicaid votes-chemical bill trade
The Senate president explains the vote to kill a bill making phthalates a priority chemical.
Officials: Worst tech bugs over for Healthcare.gov but clean bill of health still eludes website
Federal workers and contractors are working on remaining software and hardware problems.
Democrats push minimum wage at state level
Local governments are also forging ahead as efforts in Congress stall.
Election 2014: 2nd District campaign takes shape
The race for the congressional seat is expected to get national attention.
Obama pays visit to immigration protesters
About 20 demonstrators are on a hunger strike over the immigration bill that has stalled in the House.
Budget panel appears to be paralyzed by perennial problems
Working to beat a Dec. 13 deadline, lawmakers have narrowed their goals, but done little else.
Maine tax panel will release suggestions for savings Monday
Lawmakers must cut $40 million to meet the state’s balanced budget requirement and it won’t be easy.
Record of ignoring child abuse damages Arizona governor
Gov. Jan Brewer rejects calls to replace the head of the state’s social services agency.
Democrats distance themselves from Obama
Some worry about their party’s re-election prospects.
Health care website navigators report increased success in Maine
With a deadline looming this weekend, federal officials are cautious to avoid inflating expectations.
Team builds health website workaround
One relaxed requirement will allow insurance buyers to bypass HealthCare.gov altogether.
Winning bidder for new DHHS offices a major donor to LePage
Other builders who competed for the project questioned the process, but they don't think politics swayed the bid award.
Latest Obamacare delay: Marketplace for small business
Until next year, U.S. companies that employ 50 or more will have to secure coverage through brokers, not online, because of website troubles.
Florida GOP officials call on U.S. Rep. Radel to step down
If he refuses to resign, he could only be expelled from the House if two-thirds of the members agree.
Obama fires back at Iran deal critics
Diplomacy will do more for U.S. security than bluster, he says in defending the interim nuclear agreement.
Michaud wins Sierra Club backing
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate secures the endorsement as he seeks to build a broad coalition of progressive voters and donors.
Israel, others call Iran deal historic error
Critics are concerned that the U.S. accord freezes uranium enrichment but does not reduce nuclear capacity.
Obama: Deal blocks Iran’s path to nuclear bomb
Days of talks lead to agreement on preventing weapons development in exchange for easing sanctions.
Change in Senate’s filibuster rules offers hope for personnel gridlock
While a simple majority can confirm nominees, Republicans could use other delaying tactics.
Bill Nemitz: Maine governor’s welfare-cutters are experts at helping conservatives
The Alexander Group will get almost $1 million from taxpayers to make LePage look tough on aid programs.
Washington Notebook: Mainer was historic foe of filibuster
In 1890, House Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed, a Republican, helped pave the way for the current ‘majority rules’ ethic in the chamber.
Maine marijuana backer says allies doomed 2014 bill
Thursday’s vote means a bill to legalize small amounts of marijuana throughout the state won’t be able to be reintroduced before 2015.
Scott Walker’s supporters see him as presidential material
The Wisconsin governor is positioning himself to be part of the mix for 2016, when Republicans say a governor should run.
Collins, King split on filibuster reform vote
Senate Democrats say their hand was forced by unprecedented Republican obstructionism, but Collins calls the change a ‘terrible mistake.’
Defense chief tours ‘stealth’ ship at Bath Iron Works
Secretary Chuck Hagel tells Maine shipyard workers that they will continue to play a vital role in U.S. defense plans.
U.S. Senate votes to curb filibusters
The move comes as Republicans use filibusters at unprecedented rates: Of the 168 filibusters in history against presidential nominees, half have been by Republicans in the last four-plus years.
Obama pays tribute to John F. Kennedy legacy
Wednesday’s day of tributes started at the White House, where Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 prominent Americans.
Illinois becomes 16th state to legalize gay marriage
Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation Wednesday allowing same-sex weddings starting this summer.
Maine legislative leaders to hear appeals of rejected bills
Proposals for next session include revenue-sharing changes and a measure tied to human trafficking.
Senate debates how to cut sexual assaults in the military
At issue is possibly reducing the role of commanding officers in deciding whether to pursue charges.
Cheney family feud mirrors Republican fight on gay marriage
Dick Cheney has jumped into a bitter clash between his two daughters, a fight that reflects a broader debate within the Republican Party.
Maine hires controversial Medicaid reformist
The state will pay $925,000 to The Alexander Group to help with fraud detection and assess the potential cost of expansion.
State lawmaker to take third try at Maine marijuana bill
Rep. Diane Russell is hoping to use the momentum from Portland’s vote, but not everyone’s supportive.
McConnell tells budget negotiators to keep sequester cuts
The top Senate Republican urges taking a hard line.
Senate women speak out on military sexual assault
The lawmakers are trying to make sweeping changes to how the military deals with sexual assault.
Political groups coalescing around Hillary Clinton
They’re building a network without her direct consent, but she’s not objecting.
Michaud slams governor over MaineCare rides program
The response to service chaos has been weak, says the congressman. A LePage aide fires back: Go fix Obamacare problems.
White House tries to pressure LePage on Medicaid expansion
But the governor resists an expansion, saying providing tens of thousands of new Mainers with health care would overburden a system that's always flawed.
Former EqualityMaine leader endorses Cutler over Michaud
Betsy Smith plans to lead a group to elect Eliot Cutler governor next November.
House passes bill to weaken Obamacare
Democrats say that the measure creates a shadow market of substandard health insurance plans.
LePage, Democrats spar over committee hearings
The battle comes as lawmakers prepare and set their legislative agenda for their January return.
Obama discusses choices with insurance executives
The president confers with industry leaders on the effects of a change in the health care law.
From Obama, a blunt acceptance of blame
And in an even rarer admission, the president also acknowledges that health care troubles have hurt his overall credibility with the American people.
Government proposes lowering biofuel production
Amid low demand and low supply, the White House says regulations need to be updated.
Nominee supports low-rates Fed policy
At her hearing on becoming chairman, Janet Yellen says the strategy has risks but is a good tool when the economy needs it.
House Republicans to let immigration reform bill die
The quiet death comes four months after the Senate passed a bipartisan, far-reaching agreement.
Democrats pushing for Obamacare fixes
One concern is that people are losing current insurance policies deemed noncompliant with the law.
Budget leaders talking, but not close to a deal
‘The hard part is figuring out where we agree,’ says Paul Ryan, House budget committee chairman.
Higher costs, same problems for MaineCare rides system
A DHHS official tells legislators that service is better, but admits some low-income patients may have just given up.
Legislators: Maine hospital too slow making fixes
It’s been six weeks since federal officials cut off funding for Riverview Psychiatric Center for ongoing staffing and safety problems.
Hawaii legalizes same-sex marriage
The long-awaited law will allow gay couples living in the state as well as tourists to marry starting Dec. 2.
Sen. King recommends alternative health-care website
While consumers can’t buy coverage on TheHealthSherpa.com, they are directed to private insurance sites where they can enroll.
N.H. lawmakers deliver blow to Maine modified-food labeling bill
Four nearby states have to join in for Maine’s law to go into effect, but a committee just voted down a bill in New Hampshire.
Turkish Cultural Center Maine honors LePage
Speakers point to business and education ties and potential as the governor and two others receive awards.
Republicans block another Obama court nominee
The vote derails law professor Cornelia Pillard’s bid to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Hawaii to become 15th state to allow gay marriage
The bill is a victory for civil rights and the state’s economy, lawmakers say.
Tenacious, three-way tussle is on for Blaine House
Voters advised to brace for hard-hitting campaign.
Citing cultural differences, five rural counties vote to secede from Colorado
Lawmakers are unlikely to sign off on the plan to create a new state near Kansas with a population of fewer than 30,000 people.
NH legislator co-sponsors bill to lower taxes for craft brewers
The proposal would reduce federal excise taxes for breweries that produce fewer than 6 million barrels annually.
U.S. denies visas to Afghan allies
The State Department’s rejection of interpreters who assisted American forces is questioned by military officers and lawmakers.
Washington Notebook: Compromise making welcome return in Senate
Ten Republicans join Democrats and independents in voting to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
President has few options to fix health insurance cancellations problem
Persistent website problems appear to have kept most interested customers from signing up.
'Important gaps’ remain in Iran nuclear deal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushes for an interim agreement despite opposition from Israel.
Maine delegation examines Acadia concession contract
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are asking for answers about the decision to end the concessions contract with The Acadia Corp. and select a new, out-of-state company for the park’s concessions.
Dechaine fights for new Maine murder trial
Thursday’s hearing focuses on DNA evidence and alternative suspects in the death of Sarah Cherry.
Senate approves landmark gay rights legislation
But despite the bipartisan vote, chances are dim that the House will pass or even vote on the bill.
Bill Nemitz: Democrats fumble ball on human trafficking
Let me put this as diplomatically as I can: Maine’s Democratic leaders ought to have their heads examined.
Navy: Cutbacks could have ‘debilitating’ impact on Kittery shipyard
A top admiral warns that sequestration will prompt workers to seek more secure jobs elsewhere.
Carter’s grandson running for Georgia governor
The Democrat will try to return his once-dominant party to power in a state where Republicans claimed every statewide office in 2010.
Portland pot vote seen as a precursor for the state
Meanwhile, a national group that opposes the trend is stepping into the debate to ‘get the facts out about this drug.’
Sen. King’s spokeswoman stepping down
Crystal Canney, who also served as King’s campaign spokeswoman, plans to resume work in the private sector.
Election analysis: Post-shutdown, pragmatism is in
Both New Jersey and Virginia offer overtones for the 2016 presidential race.
Maine voters approve $150 million in bond packages
The biggest bond was a $100 million proposal for road and bridge projects.
McAuliffe elected Virginia governor over Cuccinelli
The Democrat wins the most closely watched race in Tuesday’s elections.
Christie wins big despite voters' economic worries
The tell-it-like-it-is governor immediately began offering his success as a template for broadening the Republican Party's appeal.