Daily Brief: Bills to restrict cellphone use while driving due for votes today

Good morning from the State House, where the busiest room in Augusta this week was probably the Appropriations Committee room. Hundreds of people have come and gone as lawmakers have taken testimony on the portions of Gov. Paul LePage’s biennial budget proposals in the Department of Health and Human Services. Dozens and dozens have testified for the […]

Daily Brief: Fireworks debate bursts open again; LePage’s student debt relief

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Good morning from Augusta, where the debate over fireworks use in Maine is poised to burst open once again as lawmakers consider five bills that would limit the use of the consumer explosives made legal by a Republican-controlled Legislature in 2012.  Since the sale and use of fireworks were legalized, many Maine towns and cities have […]

Daily Brief: Fight to keep toxic chemicals out of kids’ products renewed

Good morning. Today the years-long fight to strengthen Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act continues with a renewed effort to force manufacturers to disclose their use of phthalates in products for children and pregnant women. Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, will introduce what she calls her Healthy Kids Bill this afternoon at a press conference […]

Daily Brief: The state of higher education, and a hard number for Dems

 Good morning, Maine. The troubled state of Maine’s public system of higher education, Maine’s flagging bridge infrastructure and Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to woo veterans to move here are the topics of the day in Augusta.  Leaders from Maine’s besieged university and community college systems will address a joint session of the Legislature about the […]

GOP operative convicted of illegal political coordination has Poliquin connection

Tyler Harber, a 34-year-old GOP campaign operative in the D.C. area who coordinated $325,000 in spending between a super PAC and a Virginia congressional campaign in 2012, became the first person ever convicted of illegal campaign-finance coordination when he pleaded guilty on Feb. 12. That’s a milestone in campaign finance law, for sure, but it’s worth noting Harber’s […]

Daily Brief: Public health advocates headed to Augusta in force

March is coming in a bit like a lion in Augusta, where a public health care practitioners and activists are coming from across Maine to oppose Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposals around public health and anti-smoking programs.  The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee is now weeks into holding public hearings about the governor’s budget and nearly every […]

Open Internet advocates King, Pingree hail FCC decision on net neutrality

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, on Thursday hailed the Federal Communications Commission’s 3-2 decision to classify broadband Internet service as a public utility. The FCC is trying to close the debate between two competing visions for what Internet access should look like. On one side, net neutrality advocates say broadband service should be treated like all […]

Daily Brief: Lawmakers to unveil bill that outlaws ‘revenge porn’ in Maine

Good morning from the state capital, where there’s another lengthy schedule of lawmaking on tap.  The Appropriations Committee continues to slog through budget bills related to the attorney general’s office and the Department of Health and Human Services. The committee is expected to take a series of votes today on supplemental spending for the current year, though […]