• State’s Budget Picture Worsens Dramatically

    AUGUSTA — The gap between the cost of current state services and the revenue to pay for them has widened by approximately $575 million, creating a virtual worst-case scenario for lawmakers who have spent the last few months struggling with an already dismal budget situation. Ryan Low, commissioner of the Department of Administrative and Financial

  • Same-sex Marriage Bill Now Rests With Judiciary Committee

    AUGUSTA — The fate of a measure to allow same-sex marriages in Maine rests with the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee following 11 hours of tug-of-war testimony April 22 at the Augusta Civic Center. The number of people observing the proceedings, which initially numbered in the thousands, steadily declined through the day, but the pleas of those

  • Single-Payer Health Care

    AUGUSTA —An effort to create a universal single-payer health care system in Maine is working its way through the Legislature, giving rise to a debate over whether such a measure would be too expensive to implement or too expensive not to. Rep. Charles Priest, a Brunswick Democrat who is sponsoring “An Act to Establish a

  • Thousands Speak Out On Same-Sex Marriage

    AUGUSTA — Predictions of thousands of people turning out for a hearing on same-sex marriage in Maine became reality today at the Augusta Civic Center. At least three-quarters of the civic center’s seating and hundreds of chairs on the floor were filled with people by about 9:30 a.m. when the hearing began. In the lobby,

  • Retirement Benefits Management at Issue

    AUGUSTA — A proposal by the state to have an outside agency manage and administer a trust fund for future retired teachers’ health insurance is the first step toward the state backing away from its responsibility, claims the Maine Education Association. But state Controller Edward Karass said the state will pay what is owed to

  • Gun Injunction May Expire

    WASHINGTON D.C. — The injunction issued in late March by US District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that blocked a Bush administration rule allowing visitors to bring loaded, concealed weapons into national parks and wildlife refugee will expire on Monday, April 20. As a result of the injunction, the park service is enforcing a rule adopted

  • State’s Medicaid Program in Race Against the Clock

    AUGUSTA — The state’s Medicaid program will run out of money by May 8 unless federal stimulus funding arrives in time to remedy a problem that’s been growing for months. Brenda Harvey, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, told legislators last month that overspending in several Medicaid accounts had tallied $65 million

  • 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