Things You Need to Know: ME Supreme Court Says Ranked Choice Voting Violates State Constitution
Here are the things you need to know today......
A judge says a former Skowhegan man who caused a crash that killed three people in 1996 can now apply to get a driver’s license. WABI reports judge ruled the state didn’t have the authority to deny Carrier a license for life, which was part of his sentence.
Mr. Moxie has passed away. Bangor Daily News reports Frank Anicetti, who helped launch the Moxie Festival in Lisbon and had a mini museum for Moxie in his store, passed away at the age of 77.
From the Associated Press:
Maine's highest court says an election overhaul approved by voters in November runs afoul of the state constitution. The non-binding decision opens the door to either legislative action or a lawsuit to undo the law. Lawmakers asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to issue the advisory opinion. The court is allowed to do so when a "solemn occasion" arises. Ranked-choice voting aims to let Maine residents rank their ballot choices from first to last. Supporters say it ensures a candidate wins majority support while eliminating the impact of spoilers.
A Standish father who caused the death of one of his premature twins by violently shaking him is going to prison for 15 years. Eugene "Charlie" Martineau pleaded guilty to manslaughter under an agreement in which a murder charge was dropped.
Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is among a group of senators that is trying to make some types of hearing aids more easily accessible and more affordable. Collins, a Republican, is sponsoring the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 along with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. The senators say only about 14 percent of people with hearing loss use assistive hearing technology such as hearing aids, and one of the biggest obstacles is price.
Maine's Republican governor says he's considering commuting the sentences of low-risk offenders, but denied any link with the recently announced closure of a minimum security prison. Gov. Paul LePage on Tuesday said released offenders must agree to certain conditions but that he hasn't signed any commutations yet.
Maine's U.S. senators are on board with a plan to make it easier for seafood dealers to export sea urchins and sea cucumbers outside of the United States. The senators say unnecessary inspections result in the highly perishable seafood products to be held in warehouses for long periods of time. Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King say their proposal would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from burdening the industry with inspections they say are repetitive.
The defense department is a big winner in President Donald Trump's $4.1 trillion budget but the money isn't necessarily tricking down to Bath Iron Works. The Trump budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 includes money for eight extra Navy ships, including two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers like those built at Bath. A shipyard spokesman says the budget essentially retains the status quo for destroyers because two were already included in the program of record.
President Donald Trump is at the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis, the famously humble pontiff with whom he has publicly clashed. He arrived at the Vatican Wednesday morning. The meeting is expected to last 20-30 minutes
Britain's prime minister is warning that another terror attack could be "imminent" following Monday night's suicide bombing that targeted people leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Meanwhile, investigators continue to hunt for accomplices in the attack that killed 22 and left dozens more wounded. Authorities have identified the bomber as 22-year-old Salman Abedi and have arrested another suspect.
President Donald Trump's $4.1 trillion budget plan is drawing rebukes, even from some Republican allies, for its politically unrealistic cuts to the social safety net and a broad swath of other domestic programs. The Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, says it's "basically dead on arrival." The proposal reflects a conservative vision of smaller government, a drastic rollback of programs for the poor and disabled and robust hikes for the military and border security.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he personally warned Russia last summer against interfering in the U.S. presidential election. Brennan told Congress he was so concerned about Russian contacts with people involved in Donald Trump's campaign that he convened top counterintelligence officials to focus on them. Meanwhile, a Senate committee has issued two additional subpoenas to businesses of ousted Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
A Philippine Roman Catholic church leader says a priest and several churchgoers have been taken hostage from a cathedral by gunmen in a southern city. Archbishop Socrates Villegas said gunmen forced their way into a cathedral in Marawi city as fighting raged between government troops and Muslim militants. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the south because of the militants' siege on the city.