Mal Leary

Maine Public Political Correspondent

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.

A lifelong journalist and Maine native, Mal has worked as both a reporter and editor in broadcast and in print, in both Washington, D.C. and in Maine. He has won numerous awards for his reporting on state government issues and politics.

For several years he owned and operated Capitol News Service, which was located in the State House complex providing news coverage to radio stations as well as newspapers.

Mal is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors and has long been an advocate for open government. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition based at the University of Missouri Journalism School and is a Vice President of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

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AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine People’s Alliance, with the support of a coalition that includes the Maine AFL-CIO, has launched an effort to put a minimum wage increase proposal on the ballot next year.

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Angus King, of Maine, says technology will continue to have a major impact on energy development, but no one can reliably predict how.

At a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, King told his colleagues that no one saw how hydro-fracking would improve U.S. energy sources.

"Nobody predicted that even eight or nine years ago, in terms of the impact that it was going to have," King said. "And there may be some kid somewhere who is figuring out how to sequester coal CO2, and it's going to change the whole world."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage is going on the offensive for his tax reform plan, and on Wednesday he showed a bit of strategy, detailing what he considers on and off the table in a possible compromise, and taking Democrats to task.

AUGUSTA, Maine - In the midst of a national debate around so-called freedom of religion legislation, Maine now has its own measure before lawmakers. It was a divisive issue a year ago and promises to be the same this session.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee is closely looking at China's military buildup and intentions in Southeast Asia.

Committee members heard testimony that China is expanding its military at a fast rate, with a goal of more ships than any other nation. China is also flexing its economic muscle, as the largest market in Asia.

Maine Sen. Angus King says that complex situation requires a well-thought-out policy.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage has submitted legislation that would make it easier to site a small nuclear plant in Maine. The administration says it's time to update the law that governs siting of nuclear plants in the state.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Portland polling firm Critical Insights has released its spring 2015 survey of Mainers, and company President MaryEllen Fitzgerald says it's clear the poll respondents were more concerned about pocketbook issues, not politics.

"One of the things that you know that is apparent is that the economy and economic concerns are still paramount," Fitzgerald says. "That's really what Mainers are the most concerned about."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Hydrocodone is a powerful opiate that has been prescribed mostly in a formulation that includes acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain medication.

Rep. Mick Devin, a Democrat from Newcastle, wants lawmakers to set limits on how a purer form of the drug is prescribed because of its strength and the danger of addiction.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Bipartisan legislation to create a new crime of financial exploitation of a senior, and provide the attorney general with staff to investigate and prosecute those crimes, has been introduced in the Legislature.

"We need to put more resources, more effort, into making sure that we prevent, first of all, elder abuse and financial elder abuse," says Republican Sen. David Burns, of Whiting, who is sponsoring the bill, "and also when it does happen, we have the tools to go and track down the people that are responsible for that."

Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - In response to Gov. Paul LePage's sweeping tax reform plan, Democrats today offered their response, a plan they say will be more beneficial to lower- and middle-class families.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage has nominated nine sitting judges to another term on the bench, including District Court Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz.

Moskowitz issued an unlawful order that tried to limit news coverage of open court proceedings, a move that attracted nationwide condemnation from media, civil liberties and government transparency advocates.

Newport attorney Josh Tardy chairs the governor's Judicial Selection Committee.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage's budget calls for four new judges and additional prosecutors, but as the Legislature's Appropriations Committee is considering the budget, concerns are being raised about how the administration arrived at those numbers.

Rep. John Martin, a Democrat from Eagle Lake, says there are 30,000 fewer cases in district court than just a few years ago.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine already allows first responders, law enforcement and family members to administer the drug naloxone to people in immediate danger of drug overdose.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican state Sen. Roger Katz, of Augusta, has introduced legislation to phase out a state law that allows employers to pay disabled workers a wage lower than the state minimum wage. He says the law, which he describes as paying people "pennies on the dollar," just isn't fair.

Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage is renewing his push to reform the state's welfare system with some of the same proposals that have previously failed to win support in the Maine Legislature.

But if the governor and lawmakers start comparing notes, they might find some common ground that will result in a welfare reform package most can support. Many of the provisions included in the governor's latest welfare package are mirrored in bills proposed by lawmakers of both parties.