Archive for April, 2015

HHS Committee Holds Public Hearings on 12 Medical Marijuana Bills (15 Videos)

Posted on April 29, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Public hearings were held this week in the 127th Maine Legislature’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Standing Committee on the following bills:

    LD 5, An Act To Remove the Limit on the Number of Patients a Primary Caregiver May Provide for under the Medical Marijuana Laws

    LD 21, An Act To Amend the Medical Marijuana Laws

    LD 23, An Act To Remove from the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act the Requirement That a Patient’s Medical Condition Be Debilitating

    LD 35, An Act To Allow a Qualifying Patient To Use Medical Marijuana in a Hospital

    LD 266, An Act To Allow Access for Law Enforcement Officers to the List of Registered Primary Caregivers for Medical Marijuana Patients

    LD 560, An Act Regarding Patient Information Under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act

    LD 726, An Act To Increase Patient Safety in Maine’s Medical Marijuana Program

    LD 752, An Act To Permit Medical Marijuana Cultivation by Incapacitated Adults

    LD 766, An Act To Require a Medical Marijuana Primary Caregiver Cultivating in a Residential Building To Obtain an Electrical Permit

    LD 1058, An Act Regarding Medical Marijuana Registered Testing Laboratories

    LD 1059, An Act Relating to Marijuana Testing Facilities

    LD 1258, An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act with Regard to Good Business Practices

Over 9 hours of public testimony was recorded:

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LePage, Democrats Continue to Push Their Tax Plans

Posted on April 16, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Maine Governor Paul LePage used April 15 aka “Tax Day” to hold a press conference attacking Democrats’ “Better Deal for Maine Plan”, continue to push his tax reform plan as part of the FY 2016-7 budget, and unveil via the right wing national organization American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) an “online tax calculator” for the state, designed to provide what theoretically Mainers would pay for taxes under the LePage proposal. Via media advisory:

    Governor Paul R. LePage will announce the launch of a new online calculator on “Tax Day,” Wednesday, April 15. The new calculator will provide Maine taxpayers an opportunity to compare tax rates and credits under current law to the Governor’s tax reform and savings plan, which the Legislature now is considering.

    In addition to the launch of the calculator, the American Legislative Exchange Council will join the Governor to release its 8th edition of “Rich States, Poor States.” The new data focuses on specific policy choices throughout the 50 states that have led to prosperity in some states and caused others to fall behind in economic growth.

The governor took the opportunity to blast individual Democrats by name, including all members of leadership.

Afterwards, Speaker of the House Mark Eves held his own press conference to respond.

Tonight, Governor LePage will hold another public town hall meeting to discuss his budget and tax reforms, this time in Ellsworth. Next week, Democrats will start to hold their own town halls, with the first scheduled to be in Bangor on Wednesday.

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Democratic Leaders Unveil ‘Better Deal for Maine’ Plan

Posted on April 16, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Last Thursday’s press release read in part:

Top Democratic leaders in the State House on Thursday countered Gov. Paul LePage’s budget with their plan to grow the economy from the middle out rather than the top down.

Speaker Mark Eves, Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon announced the plan at Cony High School, which is in a school district that could see a $1 million cut in funding if the governor’s budget passes.

The Better Deal for Maine:

  • Puts more money in the pockets of Maine families: Cuts property taxes by $120 million annually for Maine residents by doubling the Homestead Exemption for all Maine homeowners and by increasing the Property Tax Fairness Credit by more than $57 million per year.
  • Invests in Maine’s future: Bolsters investment in Maine students, workers and seniors. Increases funding for K-12 education by $20 million per year.
  • Prevents property tax hikes: Increases revenue sharing to $80 million each year for local services like police, fire, and public works, while rejecting the governor’s new taxes on non-profits.
  • Targets income tax cuts for the middle class: Cuts income taxes by hundreds of dollars for the vast majority of Maine families while asking the wealthiest 5 percent to pay their fair share. Under the Better Deal for Maine, 98 percent of income tax cuts go to the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers. Under the governor’s plan, 50 percent of the tax break goes to the top 10 percent.
  • Is fiscally responsible: Unlike the governor’s budget, the Better Deal for Maine is fully paid for now and into the future.
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CJPS Committee Hold Public Hearings on LD652 “Constitutional Carry” (Concealed Weapons w/o Permit), 6 Other Firearm Bills (VIDEOS)

Posted on April 9, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The 127th Maine Legislature’s Criminal Justice & Public Safety aka “CJPS” Committee, headed by Senator Kim Rosen and Rep. Lori Lister Fowle, conducted a six plus hour long session Wednesday on the forwarding bills:

    1. LD 415, An Act To Promote the Safe Use and Sale of Firearms
    Rep. Dion of Portland (SPONSOR)

    2. LD 535, An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Concealed Handguns Permit Application
    Rep. Dunphy of Embden

    LD 653 lead sponsor Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) discusses bill with CJPS committee

    LD 653 lead sponsor Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) discusses bill with CJPS committee

    3. LD 548, An Act To Provide a Concealed Handgun Permit for Active Military Members
    Rep. Ward of Dedham

    4. LD 600, An Act To Conform Maine Law Regarding Persons Prohibited from Possessing Firearms with Federal Law
    Rep. Pickett of Dixfield

    5. LD 652, An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit
    Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin

    6. LD 823, An Act To Upgrade the Concealed Handgun Permit Law
    Rep. Shaw of Standish

    7. LD 868, An Act To Remove Limitations on Reciprocity for Concealed Handguns Permits
    Sen. Davis of Piscataquis

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ME ENR Committee on LD 750, “An Act To Allow Regulated Metal Mining in Maine” (6 VIDEOS)

Posted on April 6, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Videos here of the public hearing in the 127th Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee on LD 750, “An Act To Allow Regulated Metal Mining in Maine”, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Chapman (D-Brooksville).

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Entire Video Footage of Governor Paul LePage’s Saco Town Hall (2nd Camera)

Posted on April 6, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Here from a second camera is the entire town hall Governor Paul LePage conducted at Thornton Academy in Saco last week.

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LePage: “If You’re A Refugee, I’m All In- If You’re An ‘Asylee’, I’m Skeptical And I’m Concerned”

Posted on April 3, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

The first question asked of Governor Paul LePage last night directly took on the administration, in regards to the 150 day wait for those seeking asylum in order to be allowed to work. This has been a huge battle between LePage, DHHS and the Cities of Portland and Westbrook for quite awhile now over funding with ongoing litigation.

A theme LePage has repeated for quite awhile now. From his State of the State address:

    “We have limited resources and we have to stretch them as far as we can go. And one of the elements that has a burden in the last couple years has been those who have receiving funds, but they are here illegally. 

    Now, am I compassionate about illegal aliens? Yes, I am. I would prefer that they do it the right way, but it’s very expensive, ’cause I’ve gone through that. We brought a young man here and we did it the right way and paid the bill.  

    But this is the problem with some of the illegals that are here today. When a refugee comes here from a foreign country, they get a medical assessment and we know their health. But when they come here illegally, they don’t get medical assessments. 

    And one thing that we don’t want to see is the uptick of hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis. 

    But it is here. We are dealing with it. And it is very costly. 

    So if nothing else, they should be getting a medical assessment when they get here.

    And I believe that my responsibility as your governor is number one to Maine residents first and everyone else second.”

Other Republicans in Maine have been very vocal in their views of those who come to Maine seeking asylum, most notably Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald. This last night seems on the surface via LePage’s wording to be a reversal of his previous views on refugees.

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(UPDATED) Former Biddeford Mayor Joanne Twomey Ejected from LePage Saco Town Hall

Posted on April 2, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: Here is video of Twomey and the governor (starting at 1:50 mark; added more for context), as well as her being removed from Thornton Academy’s auditorium by security.

Full video of the event is now posted.

————-

A rather remarkable ending to Maine Governor Paul LePage’s latest town hall meeting, as he attempts to garner public support for his proposed biennial budget FY 2016-7. Videos of the entire evening will be shared later on, but as was reported earlier tonight, the entire event was brought to a screeching halt as former 4 term Repesentative and Biddeford Mayor Joanne Twomey, after exchanging heated words with LePage, apparently attempted to throw a container of Vaseline at him.

Gov. Paul LePage’s budget presentation at Thornton Academy in Saco came to an abrupt end when former Democratic state Rep. Joanne T. Twomey of Biddeford confronted the governor, according to multiple social media reports.

According to social media reports, Twomey “threw a jar of Vaseline” toward the governor. Twomey reportedly was escorted from the meeting by security. A CBS 13 video shows Twomey throwing something on the stage, which did not strike LePage, as she was escorted from the building. The item was quickly retrieved by what appeared to be security personnel.

Not much of a “throw”…

I spoke with Twomey afterwards and asked if she wanted to issue a statement:

Former Biddeford Mayor Twomey post town hall #mepolitics

A post shared by Andi Parkinson (@andiparkinson) on

Some members of the audience later came up to Twomey to check on her, as she was “roughed up” a bit by security.

Former Rep Joanne Twomey speaking w/supporters outside Saco's Thornton Academy #mepolitics

A post shared by Andi Parkinson (@andiparkinson) on

To be updated.

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