Good morning from Augusta. We hope this weekend’s time change hasn’t disrupted your sleep schedule too much.
Rep. Ryan Tipping-Spitz, D-Orono, will present a bill today to crack down on the use of tax havens by huge companies that operate in Maine. Tipping-Spitz will be hoping the bill fares better than a version proposed last year by Taxation Committee Chairman Adam Goode, D-Bangor. Goode successfully shepherded that bill through the Legislature last year, only to be stymied by Gov. Paul LePage’s veto pen.
Meanwhile, lawmakers on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold work sessions on two high-profile bills. One would allow for the governor to pardon crimes for the purpose of restoring the rights to own guns to convicts, while the other would allow Mainers to possess switchblades. Committee votes on both bills could come as early as today.
The Legislature’s budget negotiators continue to digest LePage’s budget plan today, as the Appropriations Committee takes up the governor’s spending plan for education. — Mario Moretto
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Collins marks 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma
Maine’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Susan Collins, spent the weekend with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who led a large congressional delegation to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
Fifty years ago, the bridge was the site of a massive exercise of police brutality when officers and vigilantes attacked hundreds of protesters marching for equal rights. The day became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
Collins chronicled the weekend on Twitter.
— SenatorSusanCollins (@SenatorCollins) March 8, 2015
Collins called the pilgrimage a “privilege” in a prepared statement.
“As we walk together, we strengthen our shared commitment to a future of greater understanding, reconciliation, and justice,” se wrote. “On this 50th anniversary, we pay tribute to the courage and conviction of so many who came before us and marched our country towards racial equality.” — Mario Moretto
LePage vs. Walker for ‘most conservative governor’
An analysis of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s electoral record, conducted by FiveThirtyEight, argued that the governor’s electoral record is every bit “as impressive as it looks” because Walker — a staunch conservative — has outperformed his party in a purple state.
“Of all the Republican governors running for re-election in 2014, Walker is the most conservative compared with the type of governor you’d expect was elected based on the 2012 presidential vote,” wrote Harry Enten. “The next closest is Paul LePage in Maine.”
Don’t tell that to LePage, though. He told conservative radio pundit Howie Carr in January that Walker couldn’t hold a candle to his own conservatism. “I’d say Scott is right of center but not as far right as I am. I’m on the edge,” I’d say Scott is right of center but not as far right as I am. I’m on the edge. LePage said.
Maybe they’ll arm wrestle. — Mario Moretto.
- The LePage Doctrine is transforming Maine politics — Christopher Cousins, BDN.
- Top Democratic budget negotiator says governor’s budget would ‘shred’ Maine’s safety net — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal.
- Bill to restrict cell phone use while driving hits hurdle in Legislature — Christopher Cousins, BDN.
- LePage plan for methadone clinics angers health experts, survivors — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal.
BDN photojournalist Ashley Conti recently spent three days covering the annual Can-Am Crown International sled dog race up in the County, and has written about the experience on our visuals blog, Collage. The stories, and the photos, such as the one above, are well worth your time. — Mario Moretto.