All posts by 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.

LePage’s return to budget talks hasn’t broken impasse, but he predicts no shutdown

While the Legislature winnows its list of bills left to deal with this year, talks on the budget are totally stalled. Senate Minority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, said the same conflicts exist now as have hamstrung budget negotiations during the past few weeks, and that the situation might have become worse since he and other […]

As adjournment looms, Maine lawmakers have plenty of vetoes but no budget

The end of the legislative session is oh so close, yet so far away. Wednesday marks the statutory adjournment date for the Legislature, which means that’s the day that was set months ago for lawmakers to wrap up their work. To go beyond that day will require a vote of the Legislature, a routine matter […]

House GOP leader: Special Maine budget panel ‘doomed to fail’

The committee that is supposed to find a path out of the budget impasse in Augusta is “too little, too late,” according to House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, who said the panel is “doomed to fail.” The six-member conference committee convened Tuesday with the ambitious goal of finding a budget compromise in time for […]

LePage calls Legislature ‘the laziest bunch I have ever seen’

Don’t expect Gov. Paul LePage to step in as a peacemaker as negotiations over Maine’s next two-year budget — which must be in place by July 1 to avoid a government shutdown — reach critical mass. During a Tuesday morning radio appearance on WVOM, the Republican governor distanced himself from the budget talks, but not […]

There might be a Maine budget vote today. That doesn’t mean there’s a deal

Good morning from Augusta, where not much has changed. The Legislature continues to slog through a mountain of bills but there’s one that’s sucking up most of the attention: the biennial state budget bill. At the Bangor Daily News we say it every other year: “This is the year we’re not going to write 100 […]

When does state government shutdown talk become more than a budget negotiating ploy?

“Nothing much has changed” doesn’t make for a very good lead on a news story but when it comes to the state budget, we’ve been here before. A week after the Legislature’s budget committee gave up on trying to reach bipartisan compromise on the $6.8 billion state spending plan for the next two years, there […]

Candidate Mayhew portrays herself as heir to LePage legacy

To the surprise of few in Maine’s political world, former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew entered the 2018 governor’s race this morning as a Republican. Though her official campaign was just announced, themes that we’ll likely be hearing for the next 17 months emerged this morning during a radio interview. As […]

Maine’s budget panel seems poised to walk away without accord

When it comes to announcements about moving the state budget bill forward, caution is advisable. However, it’s reasonable to assume that the Appropriations Committee might finish its work on the $6.8 billion document based on announcements that they will do just that. The word came Thursday evening from the committee analyst that the remaining lines […]

LePage rips GOP state senator over prison closure dispute

Gov. Paul LePage claimed Tuesday that members of the Legislature are reneging on a deal regarding the closure of the Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport, but didn’t provide many details. Noting that state government sends more aid to Washington County than it receives in revenue from Down East, LePage said during a radio interview Tuesday […]

What’s next for ranked-choice voting in Maine?

Good morning from Augusta, where the implementation of ranked-choice voting hangs in limbo. The system, which election reform advocates have called a “better way to vote,” could be headed back to voters or could die at the hands of the Legislature, depending on what happens with two 11th-hour bills allowed into the legislative process on […]