Friday, March 7, 2014
Maine's senators split on military sex assault measure
Susan Collins was a co-sponsor of the bill, while Angus King supported a competing but less-sweeping measure.
Ky. bill would let Rand Paul run for 2 offices at same time
The Republican senator and tea party favorite is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016.
Maine treasurer urges LePage to release bonds
In a letter to the governor, Neria Douglass says not selling the bonds will hurt the state’s finances.
LePage vetoes state-run virtual school bill
The governor, citing a provision halting virtual charter schools, rejects the proposal within hours of its final passage in the Senate.
Legislative committee rejects Maine mining rules
Democrats and environmental groups applaud the vote, citing pollution concerns.
Bill revived to allow slots at Scarborough Downs – and maybe a resort casino
A bid to spike the proposal was defeated, 78-62, in a preliminary vote.
Senate blocks change to military sexual assault cases
The decision leaves in the hands of commanders the power to prosecute rape and other serious crimes.
Maine’s Sen. Collins submits nominating petitions
A campaign official says Collins’ ability to collect signatures in all 16 counties was an early test of her field organization.
Details emerge for LePage plan to replenish Maine's rainy day fund
The governor said he hopes lawmakers will back his idea for replenishing the fund, which is set aside to cover budget shortfalls or other unplanned expenses.
Maine lawmakers vote to cancel LePage consultant’s contract
The Alexander Group won a $925,000 no-bid contract to look at a number of issues, with its first report recommending against Medicaid expansion.
Obama turns up heat on minimum wage
With the governors of four New England states behind him, the president rallies a crowd in Connecticut.
Early-voting measure falls short in Maine House
Lawmakers voted 87-57 in favor of the bill, but united Republicans prevent the issue from being sent to voters.
Clinton again blasts Putin after her Hitler remark
Russian President Vladimir Putin is a tough but thin-skinned leader who is squandering his country’s potential, she says.
Senate blocks Obama civil rights nominee
Debo Adegbile is doomed, even among Democrats, by his ties to the defense of a ‘cop killer’ in 2006.
Senate showdown looms on bill to curb sex assault in military
The legislation would take away the authority of senior commanders to prosecute rapes and other serious offenses.
Consumers can keep substandard health plans into 2017, administration says
The announcement will affect about 1.5 million people who have insurance plans that currently don't meet the minimum standards.
Maine House fails to pass in-person early voting amendment
The House votes 87-57 in favor of the bill, but falls short of the two-thirds majority needed.
Maine rejects bill banning replica guns in schools
Critics said creating a new crime isn’t the answer and would funnel young people from schools to jails.
Davis, Abbott set to face off for Texas governor
George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, easily won the nomination for land commissioner in his political debut.
Obama’s budget focuses on jobs, income gap, higher taxes on wealthy
Economic programs drive the $3.9 trillion plan, but many will go nowhere in a congressional election year with a Republican House.
LePage slams Democrats over revenue-sharing bill
The majority of Republicans also supported the bill. The governor promises a new bill to replenish the rainy day fund.
Republican group shows support for gay marriage, citing freedom
The group of 20 is led by former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum.
Maine bill would ban companies from selling student data
The proposal would prevent cloud computing services from using private information.
Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith announces bid for his old N.H. seat
He is among several Republicans competing for a chance to unseat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
Obama budget: An agency-by-agency breakdown
Some gain, some lose in the president’s proposal.
MaineCare expansion compromise limps to floor votes
Despite being sponsored by two Republicans, the Democrat-supported bill can only muster a 7-5 party-line vote in committee and may struggle to win a veto-proof majority.
Michaud, Cutler, LePage offer differing views on virtual charter schools
The three candidates for governor wade in on expanding online educational opportunities in Maine
Maine’s members of Congress eye next steps in Ukraine crisis
Both senators and both representatives call for caution in the U.S. response to Russia’s military involvement.
Bill won’t allow Windham prison guards to use deadly force to halt escapes
A legislative committee removes a provision that would have allowed Maine Correctional Center officers to shoot fleeing prisoners.
LePage wants to get rid of state’s wind-power goals
A bill introduced by the governor recently would do away with Maine’s megawatt targets.
State House Notebook: Legislature to fly solo in drafting budget solutions
Also: Medicaid expansion vote on tap / Jackson, LePage at it again.
Washington Notebook: Sen. King follows in footsteps of Smith, Muskie, Washington
The Maine senator delivers George Washington’s 'Farewell Address' in the Senate chamber.
LePage takes advantage of bully pulpit in governor's race
On the trail or not, the governor uses the power of the incumbency to control the message. Meanwhile, his rivals look for other ways to muscle into contention.
Bill Nemitz: Shawn Moody still has appeal, especially to candidates
The former independent candidate for governor keeps his friends from 2010 guessing about whom he will support this year.
Maine panel split over federal probe criticizing LePage
Lawmakers divide by party in their responses to the federal probe of Maine’s unemployment appeals.
Bill Clinton aides raised concerns about health fight
Previously confidential documents offer insight into first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s role in the failed overhaul.
Dan Demeritt: EPA’s proposed wood-heater rules a hot issue for Maine
Republicans could milk them in the run-up to November’s election.
Gay marriage ban divides old friends
Texas’ attorney general is defending the state’s ban, which his gay friend challenged in court.
Bill Nemitz: MaineCare cannibals on the loose. Run for it!
Gov. LePage fights expansion of health care for the poor with scare tactics worthy of Alfred Hitchcock.
Maine panel to probe DHHS inaction on child-abuse reports
Legislators respond to accounts of day care reports being ignored by managers for months.
Federal review: LePage put fair hearings at risk
A federal official says a Blaine House meeting and other state actions could be viewed as efforts to sway jobless aid rulings. The governor says that has ‘no basis in fact.’
Bill Clinton presidential documents released by National Archives
Papers related to his failed health care reform proposal could provide insight into Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Christie aides joked about using traffic jams against local rabbi
The revelations are the latest in an ongoing controversy involving the governor's staff.
Political rivals blast LePage over federal findings
They call him a bully and intimidator, but the governor's allies say he was trying to fix problems and suggest political motives.
Disputes derail veteran benefits bill in Senate
Republicans object to paying for the bill with funds saved by the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Maine panel endorses changes to troubled MaineCare rides system
The bill would make it easier for local nonprofits to win contracts in hopes of fixing the rides-for-poor program.
Singer Clay Aiken files paperwork for congressional run
He must first try to win the Democratic primary in North Carolina's 2nd District.
Arizona governor vetoes bill seen as attack on gays
Cheers erupt as she announces her decision on SB 1062, saying the religious-freedom bill ‘could divide Arizona.’
Maine lawmaker says he regrets comments on rape, gays
Republican Lawrence Lockman is under fire after a liberal activist’s blog post details his comments on AIDS, rape and abortion.
LePage officials: Medicaid expansion will hurt state
The governor's anti-expansion campaign continues with testimony from agency chiefs on Wednesday.
Trump: Christie will move past scandals
Trump says he's seen no evidence that Republican donors are shying away from the governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate.
Rep. Pingree leads national drive to stop Comcast/Time Warner merger
She says the merger of Comcast and Time Warner makes her worry that consumers will pay higher prices and get fewer choices.
Texas judge strikes down state's gay-marriage ban
He says that the ban is unconstitutional but will let the law be enforced pending an appeal.
No LePage veto means no cut in Maine municipal aid
The governor has withheld bonds over the controversial bill, but he lets it become law.
Broad veterans’ benefits debated in U.S. Senate
The bill would expand services and includes a provision named for Maine veteran Ruth Moore.
New MaineCare expansion plan seeks consensus in Augusta
A key Republican says his proposal is bipartisan, covers 60,000 more people, provides an economic boost, takes advantage of federal funding and includes cost controls through managed care.
Obama, Boehner meet for hour at White House
Issues included manufacturing, immigration, Obama’s health care law and Afghanistan, among others.
Proposal for state-run virtual school wins preliminary approval
The House backs a measure that would also place a moratorium on private online schools.
Panel: MaineCare expansion no conflict for House speaker
Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, sought the opinion after 26 Republicans asked him to recuse himself from votes and debate.
Dingell, longest-serving congressman, to retire
The Michigan Democrat, who was elected in 1955, quickly earned a reputation for being one of Washington's sharpest government watchdogs.
Let police, public give lifesaving drug, Maine panel says
In a party-line vote, the panel endorses a bill to expand who can administer naloxone in an opiate overdose emergency.
Governors erupt in partisan dispute at White House
After meeting with Obama, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal criticizes the president and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper calls Jindal a ‘cheap shot artist.’
Governors to offer alternative to shrinking Army National Guard
Led by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, the group hopes to lessen the losses.
Governors: ‘Obamacare’ here to stay
Governors of both parties shared a more pragmatic outlook on the controversial program known as “Obamacare” as millions of their constituents begin to be covered.
Maine bills seek clarity on hospitals left out of insurance networks
The sponsors want patients who sign up for Obamacare and the providers to be fully informed of exclusions like those not in Anthem’s network.
Collins challenger among candidates who see potent weapon in surveillance issue
Opposition to domestic spying appeals to a range of congressional hopefuls, from progressives to tea partiers.
Washington Notebook: Sens. Collins, King could cast key votes on release of secret report
The document has been described as a scathing indictment of the CIA’s use of ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.
Legislature to subpoena CDC officials in document shredding probe
The Government Oversight Committee votes to issue subpoenas after administration officials decline to answer questions about ordering an employee to shred documents relating to a grant program.
GOP drafting bill to ease flood insurance hikes
Projections of premium increases in the current law have panicked coastal residents.
Nugent backlash reveals rare misstep for Texas Republicans
The brash gun-rights guitarist’s comments about Obama and immigrants have put Republican Greg Abbott on the defensive in the race for governor.
Maine House follows Senate in rejecting ‘religious freedom’ bill
The bill sought to affirm constitutional protection for the right to worship, but opponents say it was unneeded and would open the door to legal discrimination.
Trade bills divide Obama, fellow Democrats
The president seeks fast-track authority to approve trade deals, powers that Democrats have historically opposed.
Marijuana groups endorse Bellows in Maine Senate race
The Democrat challenging Republican Susan Collins supports legalization and regulation of marijuana.
Democrat wants to ‘right a wrong’ on Maine property taxes
His legislation would increase refunds under the program that replaced the popular ‘circuit breaker’ credit.
Michaud outlines strategies for economic growth
The multifaceted plan calls for a higher minimum wage and new spending on business and education. His rivals for governor are unimpressed.
Gubernatorial candidate Michaud to outline plan for Maine economy
It’s aimed at sparking discussions with voters on how to move the state forward, a spokeswoman for the Democrat says.
Maine Senate rejects ‘religious freedom’ bill
In a party-line vote, the Democratic majority opposes a measure that supporters said would reaffirm constitutional protections.
What can unite liberals and tea party? Snooping by NSA
Those outside the political mainstream often think alike in their objections to surveillance, a survey finds.
State House Notebook: Maine DHHS argument against Medicaid expansion pivots from Alexander study
Also: Republicans charge House Speaker with conflict of interest.
In Indonesia, Kerry blasts climate change deniers
The U.S. Secretary of State says climate change may be the world’s most fearsome’ weapon of mass destruction.
Obama signs debt ceiling measure into law
The bill restores benefits for younger military retirees.
Washington Notebook: Maine shipyard’s nemesis conspicuously missing in Coast Guard cutter race
Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding of Newport News, Va., did not make the cut.
Obama: U.S. must rethink water as climate changes
Obama draws a clear connection between California’s troubles and climate change.
MaineCare rides to be reviewed in legislative work session on Wednesday
Legislators could proposal changes that affect the two largest providers of rides for MaineCare members
Sen. King on trip to Middle East to study Israeli peace process
A member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, he plans to visit Israel and the West Bank.
Maine House overrides veto of expanded summer food program
Gov. Paul LePage said the proposal was an unfunded mandate on local school districts, while Democrats said the bill would address student hunger.
Tea party tees off on McConnell after debt vote
The vote was a fresh reminder that while Republicans see a legitimate chance of grabbing the majority in the Senate, fissures within the party could trip them up.
Maine regulators’ deal with native tribes over elver fishery collapses at key stage
The state says constitutional concerns prevent it from supporting a tribal accord crucial to its management plan.
Senate passes bill to raise U.S. debt limit
Both of Maine’s senators vote to approve the measure, which passes on a near party-line 55-43 vote.
Obama raises minimum wage for contract workers
The executive order, which raises the hourly wage from $7.25 to $10.10, only applies to a small percentage of the more than 2 million federal contractors.
Senate overrides LePage veto to expand summer food program for schoolchildren
The bill would require certain schools to offer a federal program, which reimburses districts for the cost of food.
Maine Senate backs early voting, but likely not enough to send measure to voters
The bill to expand in-person voting before Election Day would require a constitutional amendment, which must first be approved by voters.
Boehner: Republicans to advance ‘clean’ debt limit hike
He says there’s not enough support for a plan to tie the hike to the reversal of military pension cuts.
Democrats plan bill to kill embattled welfare study contract
They say the first Alexander report was a skewed analysis the state can’t afford, but the DHHS chief insists it was accurate and useful.
Maine CDC officials duck legislative panel’s inquiry on shredding
All five decline to answer questions from an oversight committee about controversial health grant awards. Subpoenas may be next.
State House Notebook: Filling the gaps in the Republican attack on Michaud’s farm bill vote
Also: Gov. Paul LePage and Sen. Troy Jackson tangle again.
N.J. panel approves 18 more subpoenas in 'Bridgegate'
Members seek to force two key aides to Gov. Chris Christie to turn over documents related to traffic gridlock near the George Washington Bridge.
Washington Notebook: Maine's congressional delegation ranks in center and left
Sen. Susan Collins ranked as the most moderate Republican in 2013; Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud ranked as fourth most liberal in the nation.
Republicans create ‘trick’ websites
The party has made sites appearing to be pro-Democrat that actually attack candidates.
Married same-sex couples get federal equal protections
General Eric Holder says same-sex spouses will qualify for the Justice Department’s employee benefit programs and the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples.