Politics

In the summer of 2019, a nonprofit group headed by a Democratic political operative began its sustained campaign to help Democrats unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

Maine Momentum was part of an elaborate effort to take down Collins, who was already considered vulnerable because of controversial votes she took during the Trump presidency. It was well staffed and clearly well funded, but the source of its funding was a mystery because it was legally allowed to shield its donors.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The new Maine Legislature convened this week and formally elected their leaders.

One of them, House Minority Leader Kathleen Dillingham, spoke with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about her party’s priorities.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Gratz: You’re a veteran lawmaker, so I’m curious what it was like meeting this week on the floor of the Augusta Civic Center.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

As a new legislative session begins this week, legislative leaders have decided to continue rules passed last summer to combat the pandemic at the State House — with a few modifications.

The bottom line is the general public is banned from the building with access limited to legislators and their staff and essential third parties.

Maine Public reporter Mal Leary spoke with All Things Considered host Nora Flaherty about the start of the session.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Flaherty: Who are essential third parties?

Michael C. York / Associated Press

Lawmakers on Wednesday elected Democratic state Sen. Shenna Bellows as secretary of state for the next two years — the first woman ever to hold that post in Maine.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public photo illustration

The inaugural convening of the 130th Maine Legislature was a day of firsts.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is quarantining after likely exposure to COVID-19.

State lawmakers will be sworn in Wednesday as the 130th Maine Legislature takes office. But the session will be like none in recent history.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine have joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday in proposing a $908 billion pandemic relief package that would not include a stimulus check to households.

Mal Leary / Maine Public fil

Democrats who will control the new Maine House have chosen Ryan Fecteau as their candidate for speaker. He’s destined to become the first openly gay legislator to hold that position and, at 28, the youngest speaker in the country.

Funding for most federal agencies runs out next week, and there are concerns on Capitol Hill that President Donald Trump will not support the spending bills being negotiated between the House and Senate.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public file

The bipartisan leaders of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee are calling for the quick appointment of the new committee members and say work on the budget should start next month.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says he’s involved in a bipartisan effort to craft a pandemic relief package for consideration in December.

The state’s revenue forecasting committee says Maine’s economy is improving more quickly than expected, and that’s translated into higher-than-projected tax revenues. But the state is still facing red ink, and without additional federal stimulus aid that will require budget cuts.

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine, who reportedly was under consideration by President-elect Joe Biden for director of national intelligence, is praising Biden’s choice of Avril Haines to serve in the nation’s top intelligence post.

A broad group of health care programs and tax provisions will run out next month unless Congress takes action. Many will have a big impact in Maine if they are allowed to expire.

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