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Maine News

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Maine News for Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Portland Press Herald
Battle looms on license security
State House: The measure has divided lawmakers to the point that no one can predict the outcome.

Lawmakers approve child care union bill
State House: The measure recognizes the family child care providers' union and authorizes negotiations.

Jail plan ready for floor action
State House: The compromise is a major departure from Gov. John Baldacci's proposal.

Filmmakers ask state for $800,000
State House: A bill would reimburse some of the cost of shooting a movie in Maine.

More Mainers beat tax rush
Many file earlier knowing economic stimulus checks are waiting, but others face a last-minute scramble.

Can lawmakers agree on relief for homeowners?
Maine GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe urges the House to pass the Senate's version.

BIW hearing probes porn allegations
The suspended president of Local S6 says the national union took over operations 'to shut us up.'

Being behind in power bills shouldn't be life-threatening
While CMP will work with such customers, the state may offer more safeguards soon.

Letters: Legislators not dealing well with state's fiscal problems
They haven't been responsive to the governor's attempts to find long-term savings.

Bangor Daily News
Gay rights groups oppose language in referendum

BANGOR, Maine - Groups that support gay rights have sent a 12-page letter to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap outlining what they say is wrong with a proposed referendum question submitted last week by Michael Heath, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine.

Jail compromise ready for debate

AUGUSTA, Maine - A compromise jail consolidation plan, reached after hundreds of hours of negotiations involving the Baldacci administration, county officials and lawmakers, was up for legislative debate as the 2008 session ground toward a hoped-for midweek adjournment.

Senate OKs child care workers' measure

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Legislature moved closer Monday toward recognizing a newly formed union representing nearly 2,200 people in Maine who care for children in their homes.

Dog breeder measure enacted

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill to encourage ethical dog breeding and discourage puppy mills through a special task force has been passed by the Legislature.

Bill gives truckers a break on weight

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Legislature has given all-but-final approval to a measure that would give a break to some truckers by allowing them to operate with greater truck weights but not be subject to a fine. Opponents warned that Mainers will be paying for that break well into the future.

Panel backs school harassment complaint

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Human Rights Commission on Monday found reasonable grounds to a complaint that a private school in Edgecomb subjected one of its pupils, a 9-year-old girl, to unlawful peer sexual harassment in education.

House, Senate kill popular vote measure

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill to have Maine join other states in a national popular vote to elect future presidents of the United States is dead.

ClickBack on taxes, moose

This week, ClickBack - the BDN's interactive commentary feature - takes up proposals to increase fees for outdoor recreation; the moose hunt; taxes (appropriate for today, April 15); and this summer's Olympics in China.

John Buell: Real worry is Medicare, not Social Security
Recent conversations with friends sound a familiar theme. A college administrator asks me if he can count on Social Security upon his retirement. An electrician told me he has no realistic hope of retiring and that he worked as much overtime as he could.

Steve Cartwright: A place to voice our fears, our faith
The family-owned Times Record newspaper in Brunswick has been sold into chain ownership.

Kennebec Journal

Legislators' differences surface during debate on Real ID
AUGUSTA -- A plan to make Maine driver's licenses and identification cards more secure is proving to be so controversial in the Legislature that the bill's fate is impossible to predict as lawmakers prepare to take it up this week.

Movie makers want state's financial help
AUGUSTA -- Filmmakers hoping to shoot an independent movie in western Maine this fall are asking lawmakers for up to $800,000 in reimbursements for film-related expenses.

AUGUSTA Controversial council order reborn as proposed ordinance
AUGUSTA -- A council order that became a key part of the legal battle over the city's now-pending sale of a portion of the former Cony High School site is back before the council, this time as a proposed ordinance.

Hunger series captures national journalism award
"For I Was Hungry," the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel editorial series about Maine's growing problem with hunger and poor nutrition, won first place for editorial writing in the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi national award contest for 2007.

On Maine Politics
New book gives insider details

Senators' ethics vote should be on record

One of the last remaining issues left for lawmakers to deal with in this session is ethics reform.

State woes don't necessarily need law to 'fix' them
That's our request to the members of the 123rd Legislature, as they frantically dash their way to the finish line. Faced with a Wednesday deadline to conclude their consideration of bills, they're tearing through the more than 100 pieces of legislation still to be debated, amended, killed or passed. Last Friday saw a blizzard of legislation passed in the House; most of those bills now await Senate action.

DAVID B. OFFER : Just when we thought we were safe, League launches new attack
The Christian Civic League of Maine is like the Energizer bunny -- except that it's not amusing.

Sun Journal
Legislative session winds down
AUGUSTA - With two days left before the Legislature is scheduled to end its session, some of the most anticipated bills have yet to see final action. The fate of the controversial school and jail consolidation bills, toxic chemicals in toys and Dirigo health care bills remain in the balance.

State says it will take deadbeats' tax refunds
What the tax man gives, the state can now take away.

Winter disconnect rules end Tuesday
AUGUSTA (AP) - The Maine Public Utilities Commission's winter restrictions on electricity disconnections come to an end on Tuesday.

Senate OKs measure recognizing child-care workers' union
AUGUSTA (AP) - The Legislature moved closer Monday toward recognizing a newly formed union representing nearly 2,200 people in Maine who care for children in their homes.

On this tax day, check that box
In the fury of today's tax filing, the little check-box might be easy to miss.

Newspaper's Employees Consider Buying the Company
The Blethen Maine Newspapers have a new potential buyer: the company's employees. At a Portland news conference this afternoon, members of the Portland Newspaper Guild announced that the union is exploring the idea of bidding for the chain, which includes the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, The Kennebec Journal, the Waterville Sentinal, and the chain's online service, Maine Barbara Cariddi reports.

State Senate Advances Construction Standards Bill
The Legislature moved closer toward imposing a statewide building and energy code today when the Maine Senate approved a bill to adopt universal construction standards. But not all lawmakers think universal standards are a good idea and some accused the bill's supporters of imposing a mandate on Maine communities with populations of 2,000 or more. A.J. Higgins reports.

Labor, Human Rights Activists Urge Collins To Oppose Columbia Free Trade Agreement
A Maine-based coalition of labor and human rights groups is calling on Republican Senator Susan Collins to join the rest of Maine's Congressional delegation in opposing the so-called Columbia Free Trade Agreement. The Bush administration has been seeking what's known as "fast track" approval from Congress for the agreement, which would permanently reduce duties on American exports to the South American nation. But critics say it will hurt Maine workers. Barbara Cariddi reports.

‘None of us like this delegate stuff’

Party prepares for delegate challenges from Clinton, Obama camps

NPV initiative dead

Memo to Cianchette: No need for LL Bean duds in the rainforest