LePage proposes 6-month license suspension for convicted drug dealers

Good morning from Augusta, where judging by the online schedules, it looks like an especially quiet day under the dome. The House and Senate are not in until Tuesday and only the Judiciary Committee is in session for a public hearing on a single bill.

The schedule is different on Tuesday, including the introduction of a new bill by Gov. Paul LePage, LD 1647, which would require a six-month suspension of the driver’s license of anyone who is convicted of violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.

If a person convicted of trafficking or furnishing illegal drugs does not have a driver’s license or his or her license is already suspended, under the governor’s bill the courts would be required to delay issuance or reinstatement of a driver’s license for at least six month. LePage’s bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Scott Cyrway, R-Benton, a retired law enforcement officer, would also increase the minimum license suspension for a first operating-under-the-influence conviction from 150 days to 180 days.

The end of the legislative session is growing near so LD 1647 is on an extreme fast track. It is on Tuesday’s schedule for the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for a public hearing at 1 p.m., followed by a work session at 1:15 p.m.

Here’s your soundtrack.  — Christopher Cousins

Minimum wage ballot group asks competing measure to ‘cease and desist’

A coalition called Mainers for Fair Wages, which has forced an effort to raise Maine’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, has scheduled a news conference today to push back against a competing measure introduced last month that would bring the wage to $10 an hour by 2020.

The coalition claims that the competing measure’s proponents have used faulty mathematics to justify their case for the lower minimum wage. A news conference at 1 p.m. today at the State House will feature a poster-sized cease-and-desist letter and an appearance by a California labor expert who according to the release, will say his research is being misrepresented. I’m guessing this media event will have approximately zero effect on the alternative measure folks, but it keeps the minimum wage in the news. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

I am somewhat responsive to flattery

As you’ve read, some third-graders from Brewer Community School made a bit of a splash in Augusta last week when about 100 of them turned out for a legislative committee hearing to make the lobster Maine’s official crustacean.

It worked! The committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill, which makes it likely that the proposal will scuttle through the Legislature and across Gov. LePage’s desk to enactment.

“A wonderful story about those Brewer kids,” wrote Joe Pickering Jr. of King of the Road Music. “You might get a chuckle of my Lucky the Lobstah song, who is wicked proud he is from Maine.”

Thanks, Joe. I did get a chuckle out of Lucky the Lobstah, thanks to you and your musical partner, Phil Coley. I’d never thought of lobster as a cholesterol-lowering “nature’s heart pill,” but I guess it’s my fault that I like my side of garlic butter.

And, I’ve discovered I sort of have a thing for slide whistle solos. — Christopher Cousins



Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.