Good morning from Augusta. The Legislature has plenty to do here, with 280 bills left to act on and just three weeks left in the scheduled session.
But on Tuesday, many will have their attention on York County, where a special election will decide who will be the 35th member of the Maine Senate representing Biddeford, Kennebunkport, Alfred, Arundel, Lyman and Dayton, after Democrat David Dutremble resigned in January to battle alcohol abuse.
The race is between Democrat Susan Deschambault, a retired social worker from Biddeford, and Republican Steve Martin, a retired Biddeford police officer.
The district has 4,000 more Democrats than Republicans, dominated by Biddeford, a Democratic stronghold. But some of the outlying towns lean Republican. That party won two southern Maine special elections for the Maine House of Representatives in November. — Michael Shepherd
Maine delegation asks Obama administration to fight Sweden’s proposed lobster ban
Maine’s congressional delegation sent a letter to top Obama administration officials on Monday asking them to fight Sweden’s efforts to ban Maine lobster imports from the European Union.
Swedish officials say they’ve found 30 American lobsters with rubber bands in their water over the past few years, fearing diseases and interbreeding that Swedes say could harm smaller, European lobsters.
The European Union will take up the request next month, according to The Guardian. Many of those lobsters have had rubber bands on their claws, leading Swedish officials to think they were released “perhaps for later consumption.”
But the Maine delegation said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials that it doesn’t make for an invasion and the dumping of American lobster in Europe is a problem for local law enforcement. A ban “could have serious ramifications for Maine lobstermen,” they said.
“Our lobstermen have heeded calls by President Obama to build export markets,” they wrote. “We now need your help to ensure that the EU does not erect unjustified barriers to these markets.” — Michael Shepherd
- A bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, which would affirm the legality of medical marijuana testing facilities and provide hospitals with legal immunity if medical marijuana is used there is nearly out of a legislative committee, with an amendment review set for Tuesday.
- Two key state tax changes will take effect on April 1: Maine’s homestead exemption will rise from $10,000 to $15,000 and all active-duty Vietnam War veterans will be eligible for an exemption of $6,000. — Michael Shepherd
- Does anyone know Maine values better than Sawin Millett? — Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
- House passes effort to force LePage to issue housing bond — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- Change to closed primary could cost Maine taxpayers more than $1M — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal
- Tough re-election for GOP moderate Is getting tougher — Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times
- Donald Trump calls for overhaul of NATO alliance — Toni Clarke, Reuters
- Cuba’s Fidel Castro knocks sweet-talking Obama after ‘honey-coated’ visit — Marc Frank, Reuters
- Police shoot man at Capitol complex, say he pointed weapon — Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell, Reuters
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- A nudist man in Lewiston seeks a nudist woman for friendship, but being a nudist isn’t required: “If we can hang out and you can accept that I’m nude and you’re not I’m fine with that. I only put seeking nudist because I don’t find it to be very likely that anyone but a fellow nudist would reply.”
- A man and a woman bonded over “Kalua” in the alcohol aisle at the Hannaford supermarket in Brunswick: “I thought you were so sweet and….did I see a flirty twinkle in your eye as we spoke. or am I reaching?”
- What an offer: A man in Mercer said he and some friends “are getting together to drink terrible vodka haha and just have fun. Who’s in? Must send a face pic. And drive yourself.”
- Someone in Cornish wants a toilet and they’re “willing to pay some, but not millions.” Not looking for solid gold, I guess. — Michael Shepherd