Author: Libby Palanza

Libby Palanza is a reporter for the Maine Wire and a lifelong Mainer. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government and History. She can be reached at palanza@themainewire.com.

Maine’s child welfare system has frequently come under fire in recent months for its failure to protect the state’s most vulnerable children. The Child Welfare Ombudsman’s 2023 Annual Report describes these continued shortcomings and offers recommendations for improvement. The results of this report were shared with the state legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday and are scheduled to be presented to the Government Oversight Committee this coming Friday. Contracted with the Governor’s Office and overseen by the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, the Child Welfare Ombudsman is responsible for assisting Mainers in resolving “concerns and complaints” with Maine’s…

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The Maine Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs (VLA) Committee held a work session this afternoon to discuss the possibility of having Maine sign onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that could bring about sweeping changes to how the U.S. elects presidents. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, if approved by Maine lawmakers, would award the state’s four electoral votes to whichever candidate garners the most popular votes nationwide, irrespective of who the majority of Mainers voted for at the ballot box. LD 1578 — An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the…

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The First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling last Friday declaring that Maine’s laws governing the use and dissemination of the state’s voter rolls are contradictory to — and preempted by — existing federal law. As it is currently written, state law largely prohibits those who obtain a copy of the voter file from sharing and publishing the data it contains, but according to the First Circuit’s ruling, these restrictions violate the federal National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). Centered around these statutes as they relate to the dissemination and use of Maine’s voter rolls, is the legal…

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Nearly six months after the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) held its first public hearing on the proposed California-style vehicle emissions standards, a second opportunity for public comment is set to come to a close on Monday, February 5. The controversial policy will advance through the rulemaking process on the heels of a “State of the State” speech in which Gov. Janet Mills touted taxpayer-funded investments in Electric Vehicles (EVs) as a key tool in her fight to lower the planet’s temperatures. According to a BEP spokesperson, the rule will once again receive a public hearing in March. Last…

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Lawmakers in Augusta are set to consider a bill that would provide additional funding to reimburse municipalities for the short-lived Property Tax Stabilization for Senior Citizens program. LD 646 — sponsored by Rep. Melanie F. Sachs (D-Freeport) — was a “placeholder” concept draft carried over from the first legislative session, according to an email sent over the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee’s public listserv Wednesday. An amendment has been proposed that would retitle LD 646 from “An Act to Provide Appropriations and Allocations for the Operations of State Government” to “An Act to Fully Reimburse Municipalities for Lost Revenue Under…

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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has joined twenty-three other governors in submitting an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recent decisions to loosen restrictions on mifepristone — a drug used in medication abortions — to stand. According to the FDA’s website, mifepristone “blocks a hormone called progesterone that is needed for a pregnancy to continue.” “Mifepristone, when used together with another medicine called misoprostol, is used to end a pregnancy through ten weeks gestation,” the FDA explains. Mifepristone was first approved by the FDA in 2000 for use in medication abortions…

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Policies governing speech on Maine’s campuses need improvement to protect students’ freedom of speech, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). In the 2024 Spotlight on Speech Codes report released Wednesday, Bowdoin College, Colby College, the University of Maine (UMaine), UMaine at Fort Kent, and UMaine Presque Isle all received a “yellow light” rating for their policies, while Bates College was rated as a “red light” campus. Schools to which FIRE assigned a red light rating were described as “maintain[ing] at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech…

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The Maine State Legislature’s Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs (VLA) is split on a resolution calling for a national convention under Article V to consider proposing amendments to impose term limits on members of Congress and address issues related to campaign finance. SP 705 — Joint Resolution Making Separate Applications to the Congress of the United States Calling Constitutional Conventions to Consider Representational Integrity and Propose Amendments Establishing Term Limits for Congress and Addressing Campaign Fiance Reform — was introduced during the state’s first legislative session and carried over into this year. The public hearing for SP 705 was…

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A group of Maine lobstermen have asked the United States District Court for the District of Maine to temporarily block state officials from enforcing the controversial requirement that lobstering boats be equipped with a 24-hour location monitoring system. At the beginning of January, five Maine lobstermen filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher, alleging violations of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. A new set of rules that went into effect this past December require all federally permitted lobster boats to be equipped with a 24-hour electronic location monitoring system. These mandated devices…

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U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is supporting the effort to approve a $7 billion extension of the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP — enacted in Nov. 2021 as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — represented a $14.2 billion modification to the existing Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program). Under the program, eligible low-income households can receive up to $30 per month off of their internet bill, while households on qualifying Tribal Lands may receive as much as $75 per month. One-time grants are also available for the purchase of laptops, desktop computers, or tablets. Current…

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The College Board has weighed in on two data privacy bills currently under consideration by the Maine Judiciary Committee, urging lawmakers to exempt non-profits from the scope of these provisions. These bills — LD 1973 and LD 1977 — both seek to protect Mainers’ data, but attempt to do so in slightly different ways. In their communications to the Judiciary Committee — which were shared on the Committee’s public listserv — the College Board took issue with both proposals, as neither provided an explicit exemption for non-profit organizations. Both LD 1973 — sponsored by Rep. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford) — and…

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The United States Supreme Court vacated an injunction Monday that blocked federal border patrol officials from cutting or removing the razor wire installed by Texas along portions of the Rio Grande River. The Court was split 5-4 on the ruling, with Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh voting in favor of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DPS) request to vacate the injunction. The Supreme Court’s order vacating the injunction was short and offered no explanation of the Justices’ reasoning behind the ruling. Although the Supreme Court has weighed in on this injunction, consideration…

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Gov. Janet Mills (D) and Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey have introduced legislation to grant subpoena power to the commission tasked with investigating the mass shooting that occurred last October. The Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston was established by Executive Order on November 9, 2023. At the Commission’s first public meeting on November 20, the members unanimously agreed to proceed with asking the governor to request subpoena power from the legislature in order to “ensure [their] effectiveness and advance [their] goal of transparency.” [RELATED: Mills’ Secretive Lewiston Shooting Commission Has First Meeting] That same…

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[UPDATED: Wednesday evening, the Maine Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say on whether former President Donald Trump is eligible to appear on Maine’s presidential ballot.] https://twitter.com/EdTomic/status/1750323689936085150?s=20 Secretary of State Shenna Bellows filed a memorandum Tuesday with the Maine Supreme Court defending her right to appeal the Superior Court’s decision ordering her to revisit the removal of former President Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballot after the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. The memorandum also asks the Maine Supreme Court to consider the merits of the case at this stage in…

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Gov. Janet Mills (D) has officially come out in support of an amendment to the state’s constitution that would codify the right to abortion access in Maine, a move that comes less than a year after she signed legislation permitting late-term abortions in the state. Gov. Mills embraced both changes to Maine’s abortion laws despite promising multiple times during her re-election bid against former Republican Gov. Paul LePage that she would seek no changes to Maine’s abortion restrictions. If approved, the proposed amendment would declare that “every person has a right to reproductive autonomy” that may not be “den[ied] or…

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Many Mainers turned out to the State House Monday to make their voices heard at the Judiciary Committee’s public hearing on a resolution proposing an amendment to Maine’s State Constitution that would enshrine a right to abortion in the state. The Committee’s hearing for the bill coincided with the 51st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, a key opinion for the constitutional protection of abortion that was overturned in 2022 with the Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which returned the issue of abortion regulation to the states. The bill proposing the amendment…

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On Monday, January 22, lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing for a proposed amendment to Maine’s constitution that would enshrine a right to abortion in the state. As currently drafted, the proposed amendment would guarantee that “every person has a right to personal reproductive autonomy” and would prohibit the state from “deny[ing] or infring[ing]” upon that right. The bill proposing the amendment — LD 780, sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc) — was introduced during the 131st Legislature’s first session and carried over into this year, the session that typically deals with emergency measures. The full…

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Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has appealed the Kennebec County Superior Court’s ruling in the case concerning former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to appear on the state’s primary ballot to the Maine Supreme Court. The Superior Court ruled Monday that Secretary Bellows must revisit her December decision blocking former President Trump from the ballot after the Supreme Court weighs in on Trump v. Anderson, a case concerning the former president’s eligibility to appear on Colorado’s presidential primary ballot later this year. [RELATED: Maine Court Orders Secretary of State Bellows to Revisit Trump’s Ballot Eligibility After SCOTUS Decides Colorado Case] Friday,…

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The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Thursday that it will be making “structural changes” to the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS). DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew appointed Bobbi Johnson — who had served as the Acting Director of OCFS following the resignation of Todd Landry last November — to serve as the office’s permanent Director, According to a Thursday press release from DHHS, Director Johnson will launch a “management review” of the Child Welfare Division of OCFS that will “examine the organization of the Child Welfare Division’s Central and District Offices, its communication processes, culture,…

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A bill aimed at decriminalizing drugs and related paraphernalia, as well as expanding support for and access to addiction treatment services, was at the center of a public hearing held Wednesday by the Maine Legislature’s Committee on Health and Human Services. More than four hours worth of testimony concerning the legislation was offered by lawmakers and members of the public, while even more testimony was submitted to the Committee after the fact. Support for and opposition to the legislation largely came down to a fundamental disagreement over the most effective way to reduce the prevalence of drug addiction in Maine…

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The Maine Superior Court on Wednesday ordered Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to revisit her decision blocking former President Donald Trump from Maine’s primary ballot pending the Supreme Court’s issuance of an opinion in a similar case out of Colorado. Secretary Bellows will need to release her updated ruling within thirty days of the Supreme Court publishing its ruling in Trump v. Anderson, a case concerning former President Trump’s eligibility to appear on Colorado’s presidential primary ballot later this year. [RELATED: Trump Asks Maine Superior Court to Postpone Proceedings Until SCOTUS Issues Ruling] “Because many of the issues presented in…

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The United States Supreme Court is set to consider Wednesday a pair of cases that have the potential to redefine the standards for judicial review of rules and regulations adopted by government agencies. Since 1984, judicial deference has been given to government agencies in their interpretation of ambiguous statutes guiding their rulemaking under a standard known as the Chevron doctrine. The Court is now poised to either overturn, curtail, or clarify this doctrine, determining how this frequently cited and oft relied upon framework will be understood by those throughout the government going forward. Depending how the Justices approach their ruling,…

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Lawmakers in Augusta are considering Wednesday a bill that would decriminalize the possession of drugs and related paraphernalia, including LD 1975 — “An Act to Implement a Statewide Public Health Response to Substance Use and Amend the Laws Governing Scheduled Drugs” — was sponsored by Rep. Lydia V. Crafts (D-Newcastle) last year and carried over into this session. Most notably, this bill would repeal state statutes criminalizing the possession of schedule W, X, Y, and Z drugs as defined by Maine state law, as well as drug paraphernalia. Schedules W, X, Y, and Z cover all controlled substances in the…

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Former President Donald Trump quickly emerged as the winner of Monday night’s Republican caucuses in Iowa, while entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy suspended his presidential campaign after finishing fourth in the state. At 8:31pm Monday night, the Associated Press (AP) declared former President Trump as the winner of the caucuses, determining that he had an “insurmountable lead” after receiving more than half of the votes cast across eight of Iowa’s ninety-nine counties. According to the AP, these eight counties were “demographically and politically similar to a large number of counties” that had not yet reported their results. As votes came…

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The Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) announced Thursday that Maine will be receiving a $15 million taxpayer-funded grant from the Biden Administration to install electric vehicle (EV) chargers throughout the state. The funding for the Maine DOT’s “Recharge Maine Project” comes from the federal government’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, a new $2.5 billion initiative included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This newest batch of grants, which were awarded to forty-seven projects throughout the country, totaled $622.57 million and were spread across twenty-two states, as well as Puerto Rico. According to the project narrative published by…

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The Supreme Court is scheduled next month to hear a pair of cases concerning the constitutionality of laws in Florida and Texas prohibiting social media platforms from censoring users’ content. In February, the Justices will hear oral arguments for both Moody v. NetChoice, LLC and NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton. NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association– parties in both of these cases, referred to jointly as NetChoice — are trade associations that represent social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google (which owns YouTube), and TikTok. Following a district court decision in favor of NetChoice — and a subsequent affirmation…

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The three citizen initiatives approved by voters in November of 2023 officially went into effect last Friday, all of which were approved by a fairly substantial portion of Mainers at the ballot box. In Maine — under Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 of the Maine Constitution — voters are able to directly petition the Legislature to consider bills and resolutions, and unless passed by lawmakers “without change,” citizens are given the opportunity to decide on its fate at the polls. When these bills go before the Legislature, they are referred to as initiated bills (IBs) and are assigned both…

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Former President Donald Trump has asked the Maine Superior Court to consider evidence that Secretary of State Shenna Bellows allegedly had undisclosed “personal and professional” relationships with Ethan Strimling and Thomas Saviello — two of the individuals who initiated challenges against his eligibility to appear on the ballot in Maine. According to former President Trump, these connections served, at a minimum, to give the “appearance of impropriety” surrounding her decision to remove him from the state’s primary ballot. [RELATED: Shenna Bellows Once Worked for Non-Profit Run by Portland Socialist Who Filed Trump Complaint…] Trump filed a Jan. 8 motion to…

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The majority of Mainers feel that “partisan politics” factored into Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ decision to disqualify former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s primary ballot, and half of the state has expressed opposition to her decision, according to a poll conducted recently by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Survey Center. When taking a closer look at the data, Mainers appear largely divided along partisan lines in their responses, while Independents and self-described moderates are closely split. On many of the key questions included in the survey, such as support for Bellows’ ruling and the perceived…

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Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, as well as Kimberly Rosen, Thomas Saviello, and former Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, have responded to former President Donald Trump’s motion to stay filed with the Maine Superior Court on Monday. On January 5, the Supreme Court granted cert for former President Trump’s appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to block him from the state’s ballot. In light of this, the former president requested that the Maine Superior Court postpone its consideration of Secretary Bellows’ decision on the same question until after the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. [RELATED: Bellows Boots…

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The Maine House of Representatives today voted 60-80 against initiating an impeachment inquiry into Secretary of State Shenna Bellows for barring former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot. UPDATE:The effort to impeach Maine's Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has FAILED, with the House voting 60-80 in opposition. pic.twitter.com/Vfw0RsMK3B— The Maine Wire (@TheMaineWire) January 9, 2024 Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) filed a resolution last week that, if approved, would have initiated an impeachment inquiry into the Secretary. Sponsored by Rep. Andrews, the resolution stated that impeachment action was being brought against Secretary Bellows due to “grave and serious…

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On Friday, the Supreme Court granted cert for former President Donald Trump’s appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to block him from the state’s ballot. In light of this, the former president has now requested that the Maine Superior Court postpone its consideration of Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ decision on the same question until after the Supreme Court weighs in on the matter. Filed Sunday, the motion to stay argues that because the issues currently pending before the Supreme Court closely mirror those set to be considered by Maine’s Superior Court, the state court ought to postpone consideration…

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Maine’s electoral college votes may soon be poised to go toward the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections — regardless of who Mainers choose to support at the ballot box. LD 1578 — An Act to Adopt an Interstate Compact to Elect the President of the United States by National Popular Vote — sponsored by Rep. Arthur L. Bell (D-Yarmouth) was introduced during the first legislative session and carried over to this year. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, if approved by Maine lawmakers, would award the state’s four electoral votes to whichever candidate garners the most…

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday granted former President Donald Trump’s request to review the Colorado Supreme Court’s December ruling that he is ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot. On January 5, just two days after the former president filed his writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court granted cert. In a brief memo, the Court announced that oral arguments in the case are scheduled for February 8, 2024. Former President Trump’s brief and any amicus briefs in his favor case — as well as those in support of neither party — are due to the Court by Jan.…

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Town clerks in Maine have raised concerns about the practices employed by No Labels in their effort to register voters in the state, and at least one voter — a selectman in Clifton — has said his signature was forged on registration documents. On Friday, No Labels was officially recognized as a “qualified party” in Maine — opening the door for them to host a candidate on the state’s ballot. Allegations that No Labels has deceived voters into switching their registration to the fledgling party, however, have resurfaced on an email listserv used by Maine’s municipal employees, according to copies…

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No Labels has officially gained access to Maine’s ballot after surpassing the state’s registration threshold for certification. The group has gained recognition in recent months for pledging to offer its ballot line to a “Unity Ticket” this November should the two major parties “select candidates the vast majority of Americans don’t want to vote for.” In order to be recognized as a “qualified party” in Maine — a prerequisite to appearing on the state’s ballot — a group must enroll at least 5,000 registered voters statewide. According to a press release issued by No Labels on Friday, the party currently…

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A group of five Maine lobstermen are suing Maine Department of Marine Fisheries (MDMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher over new rules mandating that all federally permitted lobster boats be equipped with a 24-hour electronic location monitoring system. These mandated devices — provided by the MDMR — identify a vessel’s location every sixty seconds while in motion and once every six hours when stationary. Using one of these devices, a boat’s position is able to be accurately determined within 100 meters, or 328.1 feet. According to the lobstermen, this new requirement violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, as they allege that it…

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Several lawsuits have been filed against OpenAI — the developer behind ChatGPT — and Microsoft for their allegedly unlawful use of copyrighted work to train generative artificial intelligence (AI). Generative AI is a technology that is able to produce content such as prose, images, and audio files. To do this, generative AI programs rely upon large-language models (LLMs) that are trained using vast amounts of existing data until it is able to correctly predict what comes next in a given piece of source material with a high rate of accuracy. Whether or not the use of copyrighted materials in this…

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Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) has filed a resolution that, if approved, would initiate an impeachment inquiry against Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on account of her ruling last week to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot. Sponsored by Rep. Andrews, the resolution states that impeachment action is being brought against Secretary Bellows due to “grave and serious allegations” concerning her conduct. The resolution orders that a House Special Investigative Committee be “established to investigate allegations of misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and other misconduct” by Bellows. “The committee shall conduct a comprehensive review of allegations of…

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As of January 1, private health insurance providers in Maine were no longer allowed to subject abortion coverage to cost-sharing requirements such as deductibles and co-pays. Signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills (D) over the summer — alongside a number of other abortion-related bills — LD 935 prohibits private insurers from imposing “deductible, copayment, coinsurance or other cost-sharing requirement” on those seeking an abortion. Sponsored by Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland), LD 935 was approved by a roll call vote of 75-67 in the House and 22-12 in the Senate. “The reality is that few people have the savings to…

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Former President Donald Trump has appealed the ruling issued last week by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to remove his name from the state’s primary ballot in 2024. Secretary Bellows argued in her decision that former President Trump engaged in insurrection on January 6, 2021 and is thereby disqualified from serving as President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment reads: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who,…

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The United States Navy has appropriated $34 million for six new workforce initiatives at Bath Iron Works (BIW) as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Appropriations bill. This inclusion came at the request of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) as part of a larger effort to improve the infrastructure at shipyards responsible for building the Navy’s destroyers. “The crews of the Bath-built DDG-51 destroyers defending commercial shipping in the Red Sea today serve as vivid reminders of how important it is that the United States maintain a robust shipbuilding capability to support the U.S. Navy,” Sen. Collins said in a…

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The Republican candidates vying for a chance to run against U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in Maine’s conservative 2nd Congressional District are calling on Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to resign or be impeached following her controversial decision to rule former President Donald Trump ineligible for election in Maine. Rep. Michael Soboleski (R-Phillips) and Rep. Austin L. Theriault (R-Fort Kent) have both come out in staunch opposition to Secretary Bellows for her ruling on the challenges to former President’s Trump’s eligibility to appear on Maine’s ballot, as both look to capitalize on a decision that angered Trump voters through northern…

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The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Maine DEP) has told the Maine Wire that reporting from the Portland Press Herald about a pending emissions mandate is inaccurate. According to the Maine DEP — and contrary to Wednesday’s report from the Press Herald — Maine lawmakers will not have the opportunity to vote on whether Maine should adopt a set of controversial rules that will mandate electric vehicle sales in Maine. Deputy Commissioner of the Maine DEP David R. Madore told the Maine Wire that, “regretfully,” the article published by the Press Herald earlier this week “is inaccurate.” “The Board of…

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Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has blocked former President Donald Trump from appearing on Maine’s primary ballot next year. Secretary Bellows argues in her decision that former President Trump engaged in insurrection on January 6, 2021 and is thereby disqualified from serving as President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. On these grounds, the Secretary concluded that the former president’s “primary petition is invalid,” consequently preventing him from appearing on the 2024 Republican presidential primary ballot in Maine. “Specifically, the Secretary ruled that the declaration on his candidate consent form is false because he is not qualified to…

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The Colorado Republican Party has officially asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to appear on the Colorado Republican primary ballot next year, a request that sets the table for the highest court to settle a debate unfolding in several states, including Maine. The Colorado Republican Party filed a writ of certiorari Thursday asking the SCOTUS to overturn the state Supreme Court’s decision to block former President Trump from appearing on the ballot in the Colorado presidential primary. As a result of this appeal, the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision has been stayed — meaning that…

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The South Portland Board of Education is considering ways to improve “diversity” and reduce racial and socioeconomic “segregation” across the City’s five elementary schools. During a Board meeting earlier this month, the Elementary Boundaries and Configurations Steering Committee presented several suggestions aimed at achieving this goal, most of which would involve a significant restructuring of the City’s elementary school system. At the beginning of this year, the Committee was tasked by the School Board with conducting “a transparent, collaborative community process to review current school grade-level configurations, school catchment areas, and the possibility of Pre-K expansion.” Meeting for the first…

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Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has delayed issuing a decision on former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to appear on the state’s presidential primary ballot following the Colorado Supreme Court decision earlier this week. Originally, Secretary Bellows was expected to make a determination by the end of the day on Friday, December 22, but according to a statement shared with the press, she will now be announcing her decision early next week. During an eight-hour hearing held this past Friday, the Secretary heard arguments from the three parties challenging the former Pres. Trump’s ability to appear on Maine’s presidential primary…

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The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Maine BEP) has delayed voting on the set of controversial California-style vehicle emissions regulations until sometime next year. These rules — known as the Advanced Clean Cars II Program — were set to mandate that 43 percent of new cars sold in Maine be electric vehicles (EVs) by model year 2027 and 82 percent by model year 2032. Wednesday night, the BEP announced that it would be postponing their meeting Thursday — during which they were scheduled to vote on the proposed EV mandate — due to Gov. Janet Mills’ Civil State of Emergency…

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Almost half of Mainers — 44 percent — say they will spend less on Christmas presents this year than they did last year, according to a new poll from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Survey Center. The gloomy survey result is yet another indication that Maine’s economy, despite the persistently low unemployment rate, isn’t exactly prospering. Forty-three percent of respondents indicated that they would be spending about the same as last year, while only 8 percent of Mainers said they would be spending more this Christmas. Southern Mainers had the most positive expectations for spending this season — with…

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Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced this week that six educational institutions in Maine will be receiving a combined total of nearly $1 million to “recruit, train and retain” educators. The institutions set to receive these grants include: Brunswick School Department ($105,000); MSAD 1 ($75,000); RSU 34 ($249,000); Portland Public Schools ($250,000); University of Maine Farmington ($144,000); and University of Southern Maine ($162,000). All together, these six schools were given a total of $985,000. $375,000 of this was funded by the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan — Gov. Mills’ plan to invest nearly $1 billion in federal funding that was intended…

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The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Maine BEP) has postponed its expected vote on the controversial California-style vehicle emissions regulations, a package of rules that would eventually all but ban the sale of new traditional gas-powered cars and trucks in Maine. This comes as a direct result of Gov. Janet Mills’ (D) Civil State of Emergency declaration on December 19 that was issued in response to the deadly and destructive storm that took place on Monday. Originally scheduled for Thursday, December 21, the Maine BEP has postponed its meeting to an as-of-yet unknown date. More information on the new date…

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The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot in 2024, marking the first time in United States history that Section Three of the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate. Section Three of the 14th Amendment states: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of…

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Google has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed by all of the attorneys general in the U.S. — including Maine’s Attorney General Aaron Frey — concerning allegations of anti-competitive policies surrounding the Google Play Store, the company announced Monday. Although the parties reached this settlement back in September, the details of the agreement are only now being made public as the result of filings submitted by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. The $700 million settlement with the tech giant consists of $630 million in restitution payments to customers who were impacted by the practices under scrutiny in the lawsuit. An…

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Maine has received more than $17 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve data on the North American Right Whale (NARW) that is used to set industry regulations, according to a press release published earlier in December. This federal funding comes just months after the federal court of appeals ruled in favor of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) in their lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) — a subagency of NOAA — for adopting improperly-founded regulations against the industry. In September of 2021, the MLA filed a lawsuit against the agency alleging that their…

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The Maine Secretary of State’s Office held an eight-hour hearing last Friday concerning former President Donald Trump’s (R) ability to appear on the state ballot in 2024 after receiving three challenges last week, including one from former Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. Also challenging the former president’s ability to appear on Maine’s primary ballot in 2024 were Portland attorney Paul Gordon and resident Mary Anne Royal. In response to these challenges, Rep. Mike Sobeleski (R-Phillips) filed a letter of intervention in defense of the former president, allowing him to speak at Friday’s hearing in favor of former President Trump’s eligibility to…

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Following a period of public confusion, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officially announced on Friday that the “winter energy relief payments” received by Mainers earlier this year will be exempt from federal taxation. During a scheduled phone call between the IRS and the Maine Revenue Service (MRS) on December 7, the IRS reportedly indicated that these $450 payments would be subjected to federal tax — an apparent reversal of their previous guidance. Several months earlier, the MRS submitted Ruling Requests to the IRS while these payments were still being deliberated by the legislature in order to better understand whether or…

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The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Maine BEP) has now officially responded to the thousand-plus public comments it received on the controversial, California-style vehicle emissions regulations currently up for adoption by the Board. Known as the Advanced Clean Cars II Program, these rules would require that 43 percent of new cars sold in Maine be zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) by model year 2027 and 82 percent by model year 2032. After receiving 1,084 pieces of public comment concerning these proposed regulations, the Maine BEP published an extensive 36-page document responding to all the arguments that were made and the concerns that…

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Walk a Mile in Their Shoes (WAMITS) — a non-profit founded by former Democratic state senator Bill Diamond — released an extensive report Tuesday detailing how the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (Maine DHHS) is failing the state’s most vulnerable children — and what can be done about it. This report is the culmination of a series of listening sessions held throughout the state in recent months with those know first hand what’s happening on the ground in these situations — including “current and former caseworkers, foster parents, childcare providers, educators, law enforcement officials, and others who interact…

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Both members of Maine’s delegation to the House of Representatives have signed onto a partisan letter requesting a $1.6 billion increase in funding for the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Signed by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), alongside 113 other members of Congress, the letter asks the House leadership to include an extra $1.6 billion in funding for LIHEAP “in any government funding package, to reflect the President’s FY24 emergency supplemental funding request.” No Republican members of the House signed their name to the request. Managed by…

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Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has signed onto an amicus brief in favor of upholding California’s long-controversial ban on large-capacity magazines. As part of the most recent development in a legal saga dating back to 2017, Attorney General Frey has joined a cohort of nineteen states, plus the District of Columbia, in advocating for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of California’s ban. California’s Large-Capacity Magazine Ban The California state law at the heart of this legal controversy creates a “criminal liability” for “any person…who manufacturers or causes to be manufactured, imports into the state, keeps for sale,…

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Last night, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate emissions standards for new vehicles — and Maine’s delegation was split. The bill approved by a margin of 221 to 197 would specifically prohibit the EPA from (1) mandating the use of any specific technology and (2) approving rules that would result in the limitation of new vehicles based on engine type. The EPA would also be blocked from “finalizing, implementing, or enforcing the proposed rule titled Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and…

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The Maine Public Utilities Commission (Maine PUC) is scheduled to hold two public witness hearings this month concerning Central Maine Power’s (CMP’s) alleged overspending on storm cleanup efforts in 2022. According to testimony filed earlier this year by the Office of the Public Advocate, CMP has been accused of overspending on staffing for twelve of the twenty-three storms that took place last year. By failing to follow the staffing guidelines in its Emergency Response Plan when managing storm costs in 2022, CMP “imprudently incurred” excessive costs that should not need to be reimbursed by ratepayers, Jesse Houck — an economic…

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The Supreme Court is currently considering a case that has the potential to stop the implementation of a “wealth tax,” as well as to reshape certain aspects of the existing United States tax code. Oral arguments in the case of Moore v. United States — which asks whether Congress has the power to tax unrealized sums of money — were presented before the Court on Tuesday. Back in 2005, the defendants in this case — Charles G. Moore and Kathleen F. Moore — invested around $40,000 in an India-based company called KisanKraft in exchange for 11 percent of their shares.…

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The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Maine BEP) is expected to discuss the proposed controversial, California-style vehicle emissions regulations at a meeting held four days before Christmas, on December 21. Earlier this fall, the Maine BEP took a straw vote of 4-2 in favor of adopting California’s Advanced Clear Car Program — a set of rules requiring that 43% of new cars sold in Maine be ZEVs by model year 2027 and 82% by model year 2032. A final vote could not be taken by the board until members had officially responded to the more than a thousand public comments…

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The Supreme Court will not be settling the Circuit Court dispute over the legal standing of self-proclaimed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “testers,” leaving unresolved the Circuit Court split on the issue. On Tuesday, the Court released its decision to vacate judgement in the case of Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer and direct the lower court to dismiss the case as moot in light of the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the case due to the misconduct of an attorney with whom she has worked on other lawsuits. Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson each offered separate concurring opinions.…

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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has officially come to Maine. The Imagination Library — first founded by Parton in 1995 — “is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income.” To date, the Imagination Library has given more than two-hundred million books to young children around the world. During an event today at the Bangor Public Library, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced the program’s recent expansion and played a pre-recorded video from Parton. “My mother introduced me to the library, encouraged me to read books of every kind,…

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The Cape Elizabeth Town Council has voted to approve a slate of changes to bring their zoning ordinances into compliance with the state’s new affordable housing mandates. Originally passed in 2022, LD 2003 — An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions — required that municipalities across the state make a number of amendments to their local ordinances in the name of improving access to affordable housing. One of the most notable changes imposed upon municipalities by LD 2003 was the unconditional allowance of accessory dwelling…

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A Maine woman has sued Dollar Tree over injuries she suffered when a pick-up truck crashed through the front entrance last December. Diane Martin, a 67-year-old woman from the Sullivan, was shopping at the Dollar Tree located in on Route 3 in Ellsworth when Joseph LaFrance — an 80-year-old man from Ellsworth — crashed into the building after accidentally hitting the accelerator in his pick-up truck. Four other shoppers also suffered non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the incident. Martin alleges in the lawsuit that Dollar Tree was aware prior to the crash that the bollards installed outside of the…

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Last week, Sen. Angus King (I) announced that he intends to push Congressional leaders to include a provision in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would help prevent foreign entities — and the Chinese government in particular — from obtaining access to sensitive American technologies. Sen. King explained in a November 21 press release that he — alongside a number of his colleagues — hopes to convince members of the Congressional leadership to include language in this year’s NDAA addressing the acquisition of “dual-use” American technologies by our adversaries as a result of business investments. Dual-use technologies are…

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The University of Maine System (UMS) announced Wednesday that they will be offering free tuition to those who were physically injured in the Lewiston mass shooting, as well as to the surviving family members of those who lost their lives. The Lewiston Strong Tuition Waiver will allow those eligible to pursue a bachelor’s degree for free at any school within the UMS. The new program also establishes the Lewiston Strong Scholarship Fund which will be used to help cover these students’ non-tuition costs associated with obtaining their degree. The Lewiston Strong Scholarship Fund will be managed by the University of…

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Maine is set to receive millions of more dollars in federal funding to continue making eco-friendly changes to the Lincolnville and Isleboro ferry terminals. A $7.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Ferry Service for Rural Communities Grant Program has been awarded to the Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) for the purpose of upgrading and updating the terminals. This money comes in addition to a $33 million federal grant received by the Maine DOT in January for the same project. Current estimates suggest that each year, roughly 180,000 passengers use this route to travel between the…

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Americans on average now need an additional $11,434 a year to afford the same standard of living they enjoyed in January 2021, according to CBS News. While government data has shown that the average hourly rate of pay has increased 13.6 percent since January 2021, inflation has risen a whopping 17 percent during this same time period. The impact of this wage-inflation gap is especially pronounced for low- and middle-income Americans, who spend a higher portion of their paycheck on basic necessities in comparison to those from higher income brackets. Although the rate of inflation has slowed to 3.2 percent…

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When the Legislature reconvenes early next, lawmakers are poised to consider several bills related to Mainers’ property taxes. According to Wallet Hub — a personal finance website — Mainers have the highest property tax burden nationwide, coming in at 5.33 percent of personal income. Recently, several cities and towns throughout the state have announced their intentions to raise residents’ property taxes, primarily as a direct result of increased municipal and local school spending. [RELATED: Property Taxes Have Been at The Top of Mainer’s Minds Recently — Here’s A Taste of What’s Been Going On] Earlier this month, the Legislative Council…

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The Director of Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) — Todd Landry — has resigned amidst scrutiny over the agency’s repeated failure to protect Maine’s most vulnerable children. In an all-staff email to employees at the Department of Health and Human Services, Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said Landry was making his exit for “personal reasons.” Landry is the first official associated with the child welfare crisis to resign. According to state payroll records, Landry’s total compensation for 2022 was worth $172,620.74. For more than a decade, the number of child fatalities that have occurred on the Department of Health…

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Several brands of cinnamon apple sauce pouches — typically served to children — have been recalled by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to potential lead contamination. The FDA has officially recalled: WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree Pouches Schnucks-Brand Cinnamon-Flavored Applesauce Pouches and Variety Pack Weis-Brand Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches Image from the FDA Press Release Concerning Elevated Levels of Lead in the Depicted Products WanaBana pouches are available through multiple retailers, including Amazon, Dollar Tree, and other online outlets. Schnucks-brand pouches may have been purchased at Schnucks or Eatwell Markets grocery stores. Weis-brand pouches are found at Weis…

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With the Maine Wire’s recent investigative reporting on the “Triad Weed” operations that have overtaken rural Maine, there has been an increased interest in developing a better understanding of the state’s cannabis industry and how it has evolved. [RELATED: Triad Weed — How Chinese Marijuana Grows Took Over Rural Maine] Although medical marijuana has been available in Maine for more than a decade, the legalization of recreational marijuana is relatively new. On election day in 2016, Maine voters approved a referendum question legalizing the sale, use, and taxation of recreational cannabis throughout the state. Following a lengthy rule making process…

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The Mainer who won $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot earlier this year has now filed a lawsuit against his daughter’s mother for violating a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). The winner — identified only as John Doe in the filing — has accused his minor daughter’s mother of breaking the terms of an NDA she signed on February 8, 2023. It is alleged in the lawsuit that by violating the NDA, the mother has caused “immediate and imminent danger” for the winner. According to the NDA, which was attached as an exhibit to the lawsuit, the mother was only allowed to disclose…

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Go. Janet Mills (D) and Maine State Attorney General Aaron Frey announced Monday that they will work with the Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy, the government committee investigating the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston, to secure them subpoena power. This announcement came the same day that the Commission announced its request for the administration to secure them the power to issue subpoenas during the course of their investigation. Established by Gov. Mills via an executive order on November 9, 2023, the Commission was charged with the responsibility of determining “the facts surrounding the tragedy in…

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With the Maine Wire’s recent investigative reporting into the “Triad Weed” operations that have overtaken rural Maine, there has been an increased interest in the regulatory regime governing the growth, sale, and use of cannabis in the state. Understanding the state’s statutory landscape for recreational marijuana cultivation and consumption is a key starting point for understanding how such a sprawling operation was able to develop relatively uninhibited for so long throughout rural Maine. [RELATED: Triad Weed — How Chinese Marijuana Grows Took Over Rural Maine] When it comes to the regulation of marijuana production, possession, and consumption in Maine, the…

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The Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy met publicly today for the first time. Established by Gov. Janet Mills (D) via an executive order on November 9, 2023, the Commission was charged with the responsibility of determining “the facts surrounding the tragedy in Lewiston on October 25th, including relevant facts and circumstances leading up to it and the police response to it.” They are also directed to investigate the shooter’s mental health history and access to firearms, as well as any contact he had with State, Federal, or military authorities. In a joint letter to the Commission…

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Today, the Legislative Council considered appeal requests from a handful of Democrat lawmakers who had proposed bills concerning the homelessness crisis impacting municipalities throughout the state. Upon second consideration, three of the five appealed bills were approved by the Council — all along party lines. [RELATED: Legislative Council Rejects Dem Lawmakers’ Bills Aimed At Funding Homeless Shelters and Legalizing Encampments] One of the lawmakers who appealed the Council’s initial decision was Sen. Ben Chipman (D-Cumberland). One of the bills he appealed at yesterday’s hearing was titled “An Act to Address Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder and Homelessness.” According to Sen.…

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Housing availability and affordability was a common theme at today’s Legislative Council appeals hearing. Last week, the Council voted down a number of bills geared toward increasing access to housing — and affordable housing in particular — throughout Maine, but some lawmakers went the extra step of appealing their decisions in hopes that Council members would change their minds. One such legislator was Sen. Ben Chipman (D-Cumberland), who appealed the Council’s rejection of his bill titled “An Act to Address Maine’s Affordable Housing Crisis.” According to Sen. Chipman’s comments at the hearing, this bill would have prohibited municipalities from setting…

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced today that she has introduced a bill alongside Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) titled the “Supporting Seniors with Opioid Use Disorder Act.” According to Sen. Collins’ press release, the legislation would implement the recommendations set forth in a 2021 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, as well as those from a follow up report published in 2022. Both of these reports found that Medicare beneficiaries face substantial challenges when attempting to access treatment for opioid use disorders. “While many perceive the face of opioid addiction to be young,…

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Rep. Joshua Morris (R-Turner) appealed the Legislative Council’s decision to reject his proposed bill requiring legislative oversight of electric vehicle regulation, only to have Council members vote it down yet again at today’s appeal hearing. Titled “An Act to Enhance Legislative Oversight of Rules Regulating Electric Vehicles,” Rep. Morris introduced this bill in response to the new rules adopted by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (Maine BEP) restricting the sale of new traditional internal combustion vehicles over the next several years. After the Council rejected Morris’ proposal last week, he moved to appeal their decision in hopes that he…

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A proposal by Rep. Barbara Bagshaw (R-Windham) of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee to lift the enrollment cap on Maine’s virtual charter schools was again rejected by the Legislative Council along party lines. After members of the Council voted down her bill earlier this month, Rep. Bagshaw moved to appeal the decision, arguing that the legislature and the public ought to have the opportunity to have a meaningful discussion on the issue. Maine’s two virtual charter schools — Maine’s Virtual Academy and Maine Connections Academy — are currently capped at a combined enrollment of 1,000 students. This restriction was…

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Just over a week ago, mobile sports betting apps went live. Mainers have already bet almost four million dollars — and have won nearly three million. Last Friday, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook — working in collaboration with the state’s four federally-recognized tribes — launched their operations in Maine. Three of the four tribes have partnered with Caesars Sportsbook to run apps on their behalf — the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Mi’kmaq Nation, and the Penobscot Nation. The Passamaquoddy alone has partnered with DraftKings. More than a year earlier, lawmakers voted to legalize sports betting, but a protracted rulemaking…

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Legislators are poised to consider a bill concerning the purchase and sale of single-use plastic water bottles by state and municipal governments — as well as the mandated installation of free-to-use water refill stations in certain facilities — at some point during the next legislative session. LD 1418 — An Act Concerning Single-use Disposable Water Bottles and Water Refill Stations — was introduced last session by Rep. Lori K. Gramlich (D-Old Orchard Beach) and was referred to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources before being carried over to next session. There are two primary aims of this bill: (1)…

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Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced yesterday that she, alongside twenty-five other governors, is asking Congress to provide additional funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in November of 2021, the ACP represented a $14.2 billion modification to the existing Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program). Eligible low-income households can receive up to $30 per month off of their internet bill, while households on qualifying Tribal Lands may receive as much as $75 per month. One-time grants are also available for the purchase of laptops, desktop computers, or tablets. As of this…

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Maine Senators Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) have co-sponsored legislation aimed at boosting export opportunities for the state’s blueberry and potato farmers. The Specialty Crops Reporting on Opportunities and Promotion Act (Specialty CROP Act) is designed to identify and address trade barriers that exist in foreign markets for American farmers. Under this legislation, the annual U.S. Specialty Crops Trade Issues Report would be required to include a publicly available analysis of any “acts, policies, or practices of foreign countries that constitute significant barriers to, or distortions of United States exports of specialty crops.” Also included in the report…

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The Cape Elizabeth Town Council voted unanimously to dismiss without prejudice the lawsuit filed more than a year ago against Lumbery — a small business located in the center of town on Route 77 that sells locally sourced wood, garden beds, and tools — and it’s part-owner Mike Friedland. The Council’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit without prejudice means that they are free to bring this same issue to court in the future should their attempts to resolve disputes with Lumbery outside of the legal system be unsuccessful. Over the summer, the Council voted to direct the town attorney to…

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Although homelessness featured prominently among the list of legislative requests made by lawmakers in advance of next session, none of the proposed bills will make it before legislators in early 2024. Last week, the Maine State Legislative Council voted to either approve or reject the 280-plus working titles submitted by legislators for consideration going into next year. Of these bills, the Council approved just 58, voting down the other 225. Among those 225 rejected working titles are a handful of solutions proposed by Democrat lawmakers aimed at addressing various aspects of the homelessness crisis plaguing metropolitan areas across Maine. The…

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The Supreme Court has — for the first time — officially adopted a Code of Conduct in light of recent allegations that Justices have engaged in unethical behavior. The fifteen-page document — signed by all nine Justices — includes a brief introduction, five canons, and a lengthy commentary. According to the Justices, these standards of conduct are nothing new for Justicies, but in light of recent allegations, they have decided to put them down in writing to “dispel” misunderstandings and preserve the integrity of the Court. “For the most part these rules and principles are not new: The Court has…

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The Maine State Legislative Council rejected a bill proposed by Rep. Barbara A. Bagshaw (R-Windham) of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee to lift the enrollment cap for virtual charter schools in the state. Rep. Bagshaw’s bill was one of 225 that the Council rejected ahead of next session — just 58 of the bills proposed by lawmakers received the Council’s approval. The Legislative Council is the State Legislature’s administrative body, comprised of ten elected members of legislative leadership, including the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Republican and Democratic Floor Leaders for both the Senate…

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The Maine State Legislative Council voted Thursday to reject a bill proposed by Rep. Joshua Morris (R-Turner) that would have required legislative oversight for state electric vehicle regulation. Rep. Morris’ bill was one of 225 working titles that were shot down by the Council ahead of next year’s legislative session. The Council voted to approve just 58 of the bills that had been proposed by legislators for debate next year. The Legislative Council is the State Legislature’s administrative body, comprised of ten elected members of legislative leadership, including the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Republican…

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The federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) may become the subject of yet another lawsuit if it moves forward with its planned expansion of a restricted fishing zone. The New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA) announced this week that should NOAA finalize an expansion of the Massachusetts Restricted Area (MRA), the organization will challenge the agency’s decision in court. NOAA is proposing to make permanent the closure of the “wedge” sector — a 200 square mile area located between two sections of the MRA. Up until this point, closures of the wedge have only ever been temporary. Currently the…

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Mainers resoundingly voted to approve a citizens’ initiative instituting an automotive “right to repair” in the state in Tuesday’s elections. Under the newly approved measure, vehicle manufacturers will be required to standardize on-board diagnostic systems, as well as allow both owners and non-dealership repair facilities remote access to these systems and mechanical data. On Tuesday, 84.3 percent of Maine voters cast their ballots in favor of Question 4, expressing their support for the automotive “right to repair” loudly and clearly. The only other question to receive such a unified response from voters at the polls was Question 2, which asked…

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Polls have closed, and the results are in. Maine voters have officially rejected the establishment of Pine Tree Power. The automotive right to repair has been cemented in state law. Foreign governments have been banned from campaigning in local and state elections. These are just a few of the changes that voters wrought at the ballot box on election day this year. Mainers went to the polls today to make their voices heard on a series of eight statewide referendum questions in addition to voting for their municipal representatives. Below is a complete breakdown of what the voters have decided.…

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The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has agreed to provide financial relief to businesses that were directly impacted by the October 25th mass shooting in Lewiston and related lockdowns. Last week, Gov. Janet Mills (D) asked the SBA to issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration that would allow affected businesses to apply for loan of up to $2 million. On Monday, the SBA opened up these low-interest loans to eligible businesses in Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties, as well as the adjacent counties of Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, and Oxford. Businesses are eligible to receive these loans if they closed…

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Mainers will go to the polls Tuesday to make their voices heard on a series of eight ballot questions — four citizens’ initiatives and four proposed amendments to the state constitution. The University of New Hampshire (UNH) Survey Center conducted a statewide poll in advance of election day revealing where voters are at on these issues. Click Here To Read The Maine Wire’s Guide to the Ballot Referendum Questions According to the survey, Questions 3 and 4 — the establishment of Pine Tree Power and the automotive “right to repair” measure, respectively — have dominated discussions, while the other six…

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