NEWS OF: 5/31/2005

BRAC: Base as Nuclear Waste Site

VIEW ALL: Nuclear, BRAC

In a small section of a spending bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, closed military bases could become repositories for nuclear waste. See Aljazeera.com

The Dog Ate My Base Closing Documents

VIEW ALL: Susan Collins, BRAC

Senators Collins and Lieberman, the chairwoman and ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, have reported no success with “repeated requests” to the Defense Department for the base closing documents and are now threatening a subpoena. See GovExec.com

Judge Hornby’s Lucky Strike

VIEW ALL: Cigarettes

US District Judge D. Brock Hornby may agree with the spirit of a Maine law making it harder for the underage to buy smokes, but he’s struck down the law nonetheless as it violates federal interstate commerce laws by impeding delivery services.

The 2003 law requires proof of age (18) to buy tobacco by mail - including online services that deliver by mail - but buyers under 27 would have to show an ID at the time of delivery. UPS then cancelled tobacco deliveries to Maine rather than have to change it’s delivery process for one product. This caused the New Hampshire and Massachusetts motor transport associations, and Vermont Truck and Bus Association to sue.

The rest is history. 37 pages of it, in fact, as delivered by Judge Hornby. See Boston.com

NEWS OF: 5/30/2005

Bill is a Gay Wedgie…

A proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage divided a legislative panel precisely along party lines Friday, setting up a rough road for the bill in the Democratically controlled House, where it must win approval from two-thirds of members. See Bangor Daily

Ra - ci - NO

VIEW ALL: Gambling

Despite the $5 million yearly that 1,500 slot machines in Washington County would pump into the State budget, Governor Baldacci is planning to veto the tribal racetrack casino if it makes it to his desk. See Bangor Daily.

A Doggie Doublewide

“An Act to Protect Dogs That are Left Outside” would require that those who leave man’s best friend outside provide a decent shelter and a longer chain. See the KJ

Spend Me!

VIEW ALL: State Budget

The Maine Heritage Policy Center has a groovy “Maine Spendometer” documenting the amount of money the State government has spent.

Take an hour off…

VIEW ALL: Time Zone Change

The House voted down the bill to reassign Maine to the Atlantic Time Zone.

Financial Impact Not Yet Determined…

VIEW ALL: LD-Whatever

But still up for discussion this week: L.D. 1673: An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Study Maine’s Community Hospitals
L.D. 1680: An Act to Improve Dirigo Health
L.D. 1614: An Act To Sustain and Strengthen Community Health Coalitions
L.D. 1683: An Act To Clarify Entities Eligible for Funding by the Maine Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority - expands the list of entities and facilities that
qualify for financing to include certain licensed air ambulances.

NEWS OF: 5/23/2005

Higher Times

VIEW ALL: Gov. Baldacci, Drugs

The Governor would like to increase current “pot” related fines: from $200 to $300 for using drug paraphernalia or possessing drug paraphernalia. From $200 to $400 for possession (max. $600) with a second offense within six years bumped from $400 to $600. See Bangor News

Moose and Squirrelly

Moose crash season is upon us and the rains are making the visibility worse than ever. Most likely time for a moose/man collision? Between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Make sure your car can stop within your low-beams traveling distance, slow down, and use high beams whenever possible. See Press Herald

Big Business Administration

VIEW ALL: Economy

The general practice for Federal contracts is to award 23% of contracts to smaller companies while larger companies get the other 77%. A federal report issued this year revealed that larger companies are getting contracts intended for smaller firms “too often,” even in the agency that is supposed to advocate for small businesses. Why, you ask? Because the “Small Business Administration” never bothers to check to see if the company in question is a small company or a huge corporation. See Maine Today.

NEWS OF: 5/19/2005

Say Bye-Bye to Disability & Survivor Benefits

VIEW ALL: Social Security

Allan Hubbard, Chairman of the National Economic Council, has suggested that not only would the President’s Social Security privatization plan cut retiree benefits, but would cut survivor and disability benefits. This is not well publicized, but in Maine alone it would impact 33,000 people currently depending on survivor benefits, and another 54,000 receiving disability benefits. See Mike Michaud

Here’s a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares…

Remember how pay phones were disappearing from Maine’s landscape because it was assumed that everyone had a cellphone so why bother? They’re coming back The Governor signed into law a bill aimed at keeping public phones in places where they are needed, especially in emergencies. Bill sponsor Herbert Adams said, “It’s a good day for public safety and common sense.” Amen, brother. See AP Wire Maine

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