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Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Maine Lawmakers Consider Local Version Of Green New Deal

Maine lawmakers and the Sierra Club are beginning their push for a local version of the Green New Deal, currently under consideration in Congress.

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This weekend, members of the Maine Greens will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their party, which now includes more than 30,000 members.  It was started by a small group of people who were disenfranchised with the Democratic Party, in part, because of the difficulty they faced trying to get presidential candidate Jesse Jackson on the Maine ballot in 1984. The Greens embraced what were considered fringe values at the time.  And while many of their positions have since gone mainstream, the party is still working to gain broader acceptance.  Susan Sharon has more.

The Food and Drug Administration recently issued a statement clarifying its position on proposed federal rule that had concerned brewers and farmers in Maine and across the country. However, whether that statement is a "clarification" or a "climb-down" depends on who you talk to. The issue revolves around "spent grains," a by-product of the brewing process that many farmers - including some in Maine - rely on. Tom Porter has more.

According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects about 100 million U.S. adults - more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.  Opioids are a commonly-prescribed treatment, but addiction and abuse of these narcotics is skyrocketing.  A new pilot program in Maine aims to help primary care practices better help their patients manage chronic pain and safely prescribe opioids in what some call the "wild west of chronic disease."  Patty Wight reports.

Program and job cuts at some University of Maine campuses have failed to close the overall budget deficit facing the seven school system system. So this afternoon, a committee of the system's board of trustees gave administrators the OK to use more than $11 million in reserve funds to make up the shortfall. The full board will vote on the budget at its meeting in two weeks. Jay Field has more.

Maine House of Representatives

A progressive advocacy group has apologized for a campaign flier that targeted dozens of Republican lawmakers for opposing the expansion of Medicaid in Maine. The Maine Peoples Alliance had sent out the letter to voters in those districts characterizing those legislators as "spineless" for refusing "to stand up" to the governor on the issue. As A.J. Higgins reports, that mesage offended one GOP lawmaker who uses a wheelchair.

Courtesy photo / Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power

One of the lead opponents of a wind energy joint venture has reversed its opposition to the project, and says it's OK to go ahead under certain conditions. Maine's Office of the Public Advocate - or OPA - issued a brief on Friday regarding plans by Canadian utility Emera - owner of the companies formerly known as Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service Company - to enter into a joint venture with Boston-based First Wind.  Tom Porter has more.

FILE: A Panhandler on the side of a street in Portland
Patty Wight/Maine Public

The city of Portland has been at the center of the storm over the issue of panhandling, but other Maine communities are also grappling with it and discussing whether to put limits on people soliciting money from passers-by. In Portland, a ban on panhandling from median strips was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year and now the city is appealing that ruling. In Augusta last week, the police chief made news by using a cardboard sign to stage his own anti-panhandling protest.

Tonight, city councilors in Saco will consider adopting a plan that would let seniors defer property tax payments.  The idea is to help long-time residents stay in their homes as they struggle to keep up with climbing taxes.  But as Patty Wight reports, critics say the plan merely moves the financial burden to the next generation.

NSA, Google, Apple, Yahoo!, Skype, Facebook logos

The issue of striking the proper balance between privacy and security is topic of increased discussion among the citizenry in the U.S. The revelation that classified, systematic, domestic surveillance by the NSA has been taking place has made this issue front-and-center as of late. A panel discussion between renowned jurists, scholars and authors illuminate how we got here, emerging court battles and the broad range of implications.

The panel included:

On this last day of the legislative session, Gov. Paul LePage submitted a bill he says will provide Maine's nursing homes with the money they need to keep their doors open for the remainder of the budget cycle. But the problem for Democratic legislative leaders is that the bill would take millions from the state's Fund for a Healthy Maine that underwrites substance abuse programs.  And as A.J. Higgins reports, they also think it's being proposed too late in the session.



DNA Testing

Thursday—Genetic testing is increasingly used in medicine, genealogy and forensics. We learn what it can reveal, and what to do when you receive genetic information.