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.

About that $6.8 billion budget Maine needs to keep state government running …

It’s a light day in Augusta after a week of collegial debates and votes in the House and Senate, who held hours-long sessions for three consecutive days. But lawmakers have been working and will work this weekend on the two-year budget, even though there’s no deal in sight. The Legislature has picked up the pace […]

LePage’s flood of late bills includes bid to end Maine Turnpike Authority

With the end of the legislative session drawing near, Gov. Paul LePage continues to submit new bills for consideration. Today was no exception. The governor, who has been known to submit bills just hours before the Legislature is set to adjourn for the year, has offered 34 so far in 2017. Some of his boldest […]

Amid offers to help opiate users, LePage suggests death penalty for dealers

Gov. Paul LePage kept his focus on fighting Maine’s opiate addiction epidemic Tuesday when he said he supports a pending bill that would make dealing drugs that cause an overdose Class A manslaughter. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Scott Cyrway of Benton, has been voted out of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee […]

At crunch time, Maine’s budget talks move to back rooms and dark corners

“PLEASE NOTE: The committee will likely continue to break for caucus during, or in lieu of, scheduled budget work sessions.” Those words appeared Sunday in a summary of the work on the biennial state budget that is left to be done by the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, and they mean the budget crunch is upon us. […]

Why the fight for gender equality in Maine is not likely to end soon

Gender equality is up for debate again in the Legislature and again, it could face a rocky road. On Thursday, the House passed a resolution that could lead to a change in the Maine Constitution guaranteeing equal rights between the genders, but only by a slim 78-65 margin. The vote was purely partisan, with all […]

Does Maine have $150 million of unspent federal cash sitting around?

House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, this week unveiled her wide-ranging Leveraging Investments in Families Today bill, which aims to expand and enhance social service programs with federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant money that she says has gone unspent. Republican Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday that Gideon and the Democrats are wrong about […]

Democrats push LePage to tap unused federal funds to aid poor Mainers

House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, will introduce a new bill today that would expand and enhance Maine’s social services safety net, funded largely with what Gideon says is $150 million in federal funds that Gov. Paul LePage’s administration isn’t spending. Among the elements of Gideon’s wide-ranging bill are requirements for the state to use federal […]

Maine lawmakers start cramming on how to pay teachers

A core priority of Gov. Paul LePage’s proposals to reform Maine’s public education system will face its first big public test this afternoon at the State House when a bill to create a statewide teachers contract is introduced to the Legislature’s Education Committee. LD 864 would establish a single contract for all public school teachers, […]

Maine bids to rename Columbus Day, Clean Election system falter

Good morning from Augusta. What’s in a name? A lot, as history has shown. What we call things has a lot to do with the development of public perception. It’s no accident that President Barack Obama’s administration called his health care bill the Affordable Care Act and that the campaign to label it a failure […]