Political news

Maine Public

With President Trump's announcement of his U.S. Supreme Court nominee just hours away, health care advocates are stepping up pressure on Senator Susan Collins to protect abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act

Maine Forest Rangers

By wide margins, lawmakers have overridden Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of legislation allowing forest rangers to carry firearms, ending a long legislative fight.

Rep. John Martin a Democrat from Eagle Lake, opposed the measure in the past, but voted against the veto.

“I know it is a difficult change for many of us who have taken the position that I have over the years,” says Martin. “But in this day and age. I’m convinced the right thing to do today is override the Governor’s veto.”

By a large margin, lawmakers voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to fund Maine’s county jails.

The measure is aimed at helping the jails address the demands caused by more inmates, and by inmates who need costly medical or mental health care. It provides an ongoing $3 million appropriation and a one-time use of another $3 million from surplus funds in accounts of the state’s professional licensing boards.

House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette, a Republican from Newport, had urged the house sustain the veto.

A bill to prevent therapy aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity has died after the Maine House failed Monday to override GOP Gov. Paul LePage's veto of the legislation.

The measure would have banned so-called "conversion therapy" in Maine. The governor said the ban would be bad public policy and that there is no evidence that any medical professionals in Maine are even using the therapy.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine House of Representatives Monday upheld Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill that would have funded voter-approved Medicaid expansion in Maine.

Maine lawmakers are back at the State House this week to handle dozens of vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage and to take up several unresolved issues.

OGUNQUIT, Maine - A former Maine town manager has made a deal with prosecutors to have charges that he was illegally charging for parking dismissed.
According to the agreement signed June 27, Tom Fortier will see his case dismissed if he completes 100 hours of community service and stays out of trouble by April 2019.
Fortier, the former Ogunquit town manager, was charged with theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and official oppression.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a hotly debated measure to ban a type of therapy intended to change a patient's sexual orientation.

The governor says the ban on "conversion therapy" is bad public policy and that there is no evidence that any medical professionals are even using the therapy in Maine.

LePage also expressed concern that the bill could infringe on religious freedom. Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, says LePage is wrong.

J. Scott Applewhite / Maine Public

Originally published 12:23 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is running a television ad campaign in Maine asking Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to demand that the next U.S. Supreme Court nominee take a public position on a landmark abortion ruling.

Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed six more bills, including two measures that rewrite the state’s marijuana laws.

LePage lists nearly a dozen objections to a measure that would change the medical marijuana law. He targeted another marijuana bill that he says would jeopardize public health, and he called on lawmakers to send him legislation that would provide more oversight of the medical marijuana program as the state implements adult recreational use.

AP Photo

In his campaign and first year in office, President Donald Trump promised a major infrastructure program to address the nation’s backlog of needed repairs. 

Ed Morin / Maine Public

PORTLAND, Maine - The police chief in Maine's largest city is resigning and becoming the city's assistant manager.
Michael Sauschuck has served as the police chief in Portland since 2012 and has been with the department since 1997. City officials say he will earn $140,000 per year as an assistant city manager.
Officials say assistant police chief Vern Malloch will serve as interim police chief. They say Sauschuck will work with Mona Bector, another assistant city manager, and with City Manager Jon Jennings on oversight of city government.

Ed Morin / Maine Public

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned while under investigation for serval ethics violations.

Maine Rep.Chellie Pingree is happy to see him go, tweeting “good riddance.”

As President Trump prepares to name the second Supreme Court nominee of his presidency, a group of advocacy organizations in Maine - including Maine Women's Lobby, Maine Conservation Voters, AFL-CIO and others - are urging the state's two U.S. senators to reject generic assurances during the confirmation process.

"An assurance that someone will 'follow precedent' is of course standard - and close to meaningless. We really need answers," said Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director for the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAD, in a press call Thursday.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor is publicly laying out a proposed tax hike on hospitals to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Paul LePage's office says Medicaid expansion will offset a tax hike by decreasing charity care and bad debt. Maine's hospital tax rate is 2.23 percent, and Rabinowitz said Maine could go up to six percent.
Maine Hospital Association lobbyist Jeffrey Austin previously told The Associated Press that Maine hospitals pay $100 million in annual taxes and would oppose an increase.