Republicans in the Maine House today voted against a measure that would increase transparency in political advertising in Maine elections, while also dealing a final blow to the publically-mandated Clean Elections system in a separate vote.
Last week the Maine Public Utilities Commission set standard offer service prices for the month of April for large commercial and industrial (C&I) customers of Central Maine Power (CMP) and Bangor Hydro Electric (BHE). The April prices, which are set based on an energy market index, reflect continued low prices in wholesale power and natural gas markets. The April prices are 10% lower than prices in March and 25% to 35% lower than prices one year ago.
The supplemental budget calls for eliminating the state’s funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation, and cutting back in some social services.
During a town hall meeting at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, LePage was asked why he’s proposing to cut $1.7 million that the state is scheduled to give the network for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Democratic lawmakers in the Maine House today filed a friend of the court or “amicus” brief to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in a case involving Maine State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin. Earlier this month, the Maine House voted 122-0 to request advice from the court on whether Poliquin may continue to serve in office after violating the Maine Constitution.
LD 849, “An Act to Provide Tax Relief for Maine Citizens by Reducing Income Taxes,” proposes two significant changes to Maine’s tax system. The Maine Senate gave initial approval to LD 849 on March 15 but further votes are required in both the Senate and the House.
1. ratchets down state revenues by gradually lowering Maine’s income tax rates to a flat 4%, cutting the state’s income tax revenues almost in half over time. Approximately 75% of the benefit of this proposal goes to the top 20% of taxpayers.
The Maine Legislature this week gave final passage to a bill to protect student athletes from head injuries. The bill nearly passed into law in 2011 but was sent back to the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee for additional work.
“I’m thrilled to see this bill has finally passed after getting sidelined last year,” said Rep. Don Pilon, who introduced the measure last year. “Maine parents and student athletes will now have the critical protections to ensure a simple head injury doesn’t result in deadly repercussions.”
Maine Audubon is celebrating the first day of Spring by hosting a discussion on how to attract birds to your home. “Attracting Birds to Your Backyard” will be a dynamic discussion lead by Bill Culina, author of five books, including his latest, “Understanding Perennials: A New Look at an Old Favorite.” Culina will be joined by Maine Audubon Staff Naturalist Mike Windsor for the discussion.
Emerge Maine, an organization which recruits, trains and inspires Democratic women to seek public office, will honor Congresswoman Chellie Pingree as its Woman of the Year.
This award recognizes Pingree’s long career in public service which began as a local tax assessor and school board member on North Haven. Currently she is seeking a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Maine’s 1st Congressional District.
The LePage administration announced $37 million in proposed changes to the two-year statewide budget. The governor’s proposal includes significant cuts to general assistance for cities and towns, cuts to higher education and MPBN, and also provides tax cuts on pensions, and gives new sales tax exemptions.
This week the State Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee heard detailed presentations on the changes to the budget from the commissioners of Health and Human Services, Education, and Maine Revenue Services.