Things You Need to Know: LePage Calls Recent Tobacco + Cellphone Bills ‘Social Engineering’
Here are the things you need to know today......
Gov. LePage said in an interview that he vetoed bills to limit tobacco sales to those 21 and older and ban cellphone use while driving. According to WGME he called them as “social engineering.”
Winthrop voters passed a new school budget. Centralmaine.com reports this was the second vote to make it happen.
The Augusta Planning Board has tabled the state office building proposal for the old DOT building on Capital Street. According to centralmaine.com there are concerns about the amount of traffic and its appearance.
Waterville city councilors voted to approve a $40 million municipal and school budget for 2017-18. According to centralmaine.com there need to be another vote to finalize the budget, that will probably happen August 1.
From the Associated Press:
Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the Senate needs to proceed cautiously and in a bipartisan manner as it works to fix flaws in Obama's health care law. Collins and fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the only two GOP senators to vote Tuesday against allowing debate of GOP legislation to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.
The Maine Department of Labor says the majority of businesses won't be able to fire an employee for a marijuana-positive drug tests unless they can prove impairment on the job. Backers of the marijuana referendum said the law that goes into effect in February would leave employer protections in place and allow them to maintain drug-free workplace policies. The Portland Press Herald reports reports that Julie Rabinowitz from the Maine Department of Labor painted a very different picture on Monday, when she urged state lawmakers to change the law to give employers more rights. Voters in November legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana products but commercial sales are on hold as regulations are considered.
Sen. Susan Collins has been captured on a live microphone making fun of GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold. He is Texas congressman who a day earlier blamed "some female senators from the Northeast" for blocking health care legislation and said he wished he could challenge them to a duel "Aaron Burr-style." Making small talk at a hearing on Tuesday, Collins was overheard telling a colleague about Farenthold: "I don't mean to be unkind but he's so unattractive it's unbelievable." Collins also mentioned to Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed a widely circulated picture of Farenthold wearing pajamas posing next to a scantily clad woman.
The groups that are partnering to build a $69 million waste-to-energy plant in Hampden say it's on track to open in April. Construction on the 144,000-square-foot biogas plant is expected to begin later on this summer or in early fall. The plant will serve more than 100 communities.
Leaders from 18 African countries are set to visit Lewiston and meet with Somali immigrants. The Immigrant Resource Center of Maine's representative Fatima Hussein says that local Somali immigrants will discuss arriving in the central Maine community 17 years ago as a displaced people. The fellowships program is part of the Young African Leaders Initiative launched by former President Barack Obama.
Maine's U.S. senators say the Maine Sea Grant program at the University of Maine will receive more than $500,000 in grants from the federal government to support research and education. The senators say the grants are coming from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and will also help with outreach efforts on behalf of coastal communities in Maine.
The Senate has blocked a wide-ranging proposal by Republicans to repeal much of former President Barack Obama's health care law and replace it with a more restrictive plan. Senators voted 57-43 late Tuesday to reject the plan in the first vote on an amendment to the bill. Those voting "no" included nine defecting Republicans. The vote underscored problems Republicans will have in winning enough votes to recast Obama's statute.
President Donald Trump says he is working with a pair of Republican senators to "create a new immigration system for America." Trump is endorsing legislation introduced by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue that would put new limits on legal immigration. At a campaign-style rally Tuesday in Ohio, he said, "We want a merit-based system, one that protects our workers" and one that "protects our economy."
A person familiar with negotiations between the Senate Judiciary Committee and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says the panel has dropped a subpoena that sought to compel his public testimony this week. The person says Manafort won't testify during a public hearing Wednesday after he and the committee reached an agreement to continue negotiating the terms of his cooperation. The person demanded anonymity to discuss the private negotiations.
A Texas congressman says a truck that carried dozens of immigrants passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint about two hours before it was discovered outside a San Antonio Walmart. Ten people found in the rig died. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar says authorities informed him the truck James Matthew Bradley Jr. is charged with driving cleared the checkpoint near Laredo around 10 p.m. Saturday.
President Donald Trump is cranking up the heat on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He is scorning him as "very weak" and refusing to say whether he'll fire the nation's top law enforcement officer and his onetime political ally. It was an extraordinary public rebuke, and even fellow Republicans pushed back forcefully.