• Hospital Financial Info To Be More Readily Available

    AUGUSTA — Financial information from hospitals will soon become more accessible because of work being done by the Legislature and the Maine Health Data Organization. Revealing the cost of procedures for patients and hospital operating expenses are both targeted by three bills heard recently by the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. The committee kept

  • Gay Marriage Hearings Set

    AUGUSTA — Facing the possibility that 1,000 people or more might turn out at public hearings on same-sex marriage, Legislative leaders have changed the venue to the Augusta Civic Center. At issue are two bills, “An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom,” sponsored by Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, and “An

  • Open Government Web Site Causing Stir

    AUGUSTA — A Web site that lists the salary of every state employee by name has triggered a bill to protect their identity, pitting the public’s right to know against the privacy of individuals. The Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative Portland-based think tank, launched the Web site www.MaineOpengov.org last September to track payrolls, pension

  • PFD Bill Withdrawn

    AUGUSTA — A bill that would have required all boaters in Maine to wear life jackets has been withdrawn. The bill was pulled by its sponsor before a hearing before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee that had been scheduled for Tuesday. Bath Democratic Rep. Thomas Watson says he withdrew the bill because the scope

  • Famed Defense Attorney to Meet With Convicted Murderer

    AUGUSTA — Famed defense attorney F. Lee Bailey was scheduled to meet with convicted murderer Dennis Dechaine Wednesday at Maine State Prison in Warren. Dechaine, who is 21 years into a life sentence, awaits word about whether he will be granted a new trial based on DNA evidence uncovered since his trial. Bailey’s work as

  • Future of License-free Saltwater Fishing Up in the Air

    AUGUSTA — The fate of license-free saltwater fishing in Maine will likely be determined by one of two bills competing for passage in the Legislature. The purpose of either bill would be to conform with new federal requirements that states collect information about who is fishing in salt water and what they are fishing for.

  • Public Input Called for on Expansion of State’s Laptop Program

    AUGUSTA — The proposed expansion of the state’s laptop computer program into the high school grades deserves to be scrutinized by the public, some lawmakers contend. The expansion would provide an Apple MacBook computer to every high school student and teacher in Maine’s public schools. Baldacci and Education Commissioner Susan Gendron propose rerouting technology money

  • Bills Would Delay Penalties for Rejecting School Consolidation

    AUGUSTA — A move to soften penalties against towns that have rejected school consolidation may be afoot in the form of two bills that have been set aside for more consideration by the Legislature’s Education Committee. Of the 17 bills heard by the committee recently that have to do with school consolidation, four escaped without

  • Mobilize Maine Initiative Hopes to Fuel Job Growth

    AUGUSTA — Governor John Baldacci and officials from FairPoint Communications joined economic development experts Monday to unveil a new tool to assist with bringing new jobs to Maine. With the launch of the Mobilize Maine Initiative, FairPoint will commission economic consulting firm VITAL Economy Inc. to create and maintain for five years computer modeling software.

  • Officials Push for Self-sustaining Dirigo Health Program

    AUGUSTA — The Dirigo Health insurance program, which is running about $15 million in the red on any given day, has until the end of December to prove that it can float without constant loans from the state’s cash pool. Trish Riley, director of Governor John Baldacci’s office of Health Policy and Finance, one of