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Maine News

Monday, March 24, 2008

Maine News for Monday, March 24, 2008

Portland Press Herald
State building code finally has industry backing
State House: Lack of a statewide code has been cited as an obstacle to contractor licensing.

Senate race rivals kept busy raising money during recess
Susan Collins and Tom Allen are likely to spend a record-setting amount.

JUSTIN ELLISWhere have all the young readers gone?

Deeper in debt: As expenses outstrip income, more bills are left unpaid
The number of short-term loans, bankruptcies and delinquent accounts is growing steadily.

STATE HOUSE NOTES: Mission: Save the schools

Editorial: Legislature should work for a bipartisan budget
Lawmakers are close to filling a $190 million revenue shortfall without raising taxes.

OP-Ed: Former Rep. David Trahan and Rep. Peggy PendletonDon't turn lights out on state accountability Government watchdog agency is imperiled by some who would delete it by stealthy means.

Bangor Daily News

Diesel cost forces man to consider bankruptcy

HARMONY, Maine - A logging truck operator with a fleet of 10 registered trucks is losing his 35-year-old business as a consequence of skyrocketing diesel fuel prices.

Maine seeking to expand state's lottery options

AUGUSTA, Maine - State lottery director Dan Gwadosky says the lottery is seeking to increase revenue and change its mix of games and is using studies and focus groups to figure out what games Mainers would play and why.

Slated cuts hit private schools

Proposed cuts in the state education budget would reduce funds to private high schools in the state, although a compromise in committee would lessen the blow somewhat.

Suit against ex-lawmaker dismissed

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled in favor of a Frankfort man who sought the dismissal of a lawsuit that was filed against him when he served in the state Legislature in 2006.

Kennebec Journal
Support grows for statewide building code Current system is called a 'crazy quilt of code regimes' by Brookings think tank

AUGUSTA -- Groups that have traditionally blocked passage of a statewide building code are working together to make it happen this time around.

Plum Creek awaits more scrutiny Land Use Regulation Commission will weigh in on Moosehead region project
AUGUSTA -- After listening to hundreds of hours of testimony on the Plum Creek development concepts, the state's Land Use Regulation Commission plans to make some suggestions of its own.

Consolidation foes set to descend on Statehouse
AUGUSTA -- Opponents of the school-district consolidation law will be at the Statehouse on Wednesday to try to convince lawmakers to repeal the measure.

Editorials: Anti-hunger movement just too nice
Imagine that the nation's food banks all closed their doors.

Columns: LET IT BE SAID THAT IT ALL BEGAN RIGHT HERE, IN : We're losing fight to end hunger in U.S. Our job is not going well. Those whose nutritional well-being we care about, the children and adults for whom we advocate, are not getting our best efforts -- and certainly not what they deserve. I believe that as the nation prepares to elect a new president, perhaps one who truly cares about social justice and meaningful opportunity, we need to raise the bar substantially.

Sun Journal
Of all the agencies to cut... why this one?
In a maneuver assailed as "Midnight Madness" by Republicans, legislative budget-writers last week put the fiscal punctuation on a valuable government agency: the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability.

Consensus-Driven Budget Solution Abandoned
After days of negotiations, Democrats and Republicans on the legislature's Appropriations Committee have abandoned their quest for a consensus-driven solution to balance Maine's two-year budget. That means competing budgets are likely to surface sometime next week. It also means that the majority Democratic version will likely prevail. Gov. John Baldacci has thrown his support behind the Democrats' plan because it doesn't rely on new taxes or drawing down state reserves. A.J. Higgins reports.

Real ID Showdown Brewing Between Maine and Feds
Late this afternoon, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff rejected a request by several senators, including Maine's, to grant a blanket exemption to states struggling over compliance with the controversial Real ID law. That sets the stage for a showdown between Maine and the Federal government as a March 31st deadline approaches for states to seek a extension for complying with the law. Barbara Cariddi reports.

Public Transit Boosted by High Gas Prices
The bad news is that gas prices are approaching four dollars a gallon. The good news is that it's been a banner year for Maine buses and trains. With gas at record high prices, many Mainers seem to be parking their cars, and as Murray Carpenter reports, it's part of a nationwide trend.