Senator Roger Katz and Former House Speaker Hannah Pingree will Talk Issues on new Television Program
“Pingree and Katz – The Maine Event” will Air Statewide
AUGUSTA – Former Democratic House Speaker Hannah Pingree and Republican State Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) have announced the launch of a new weekly statewide television program that will focus on political and public policy issues important to all of Maine. "Pingree and Katz – the Maine Event" will air throughout the state on Time Warner Cable. Exploring such varied subjects as welfare reform, the legalization of marijuana, and gun control from the Republican and Democratic perspective, Speaker Pingree and Senator Katz will bring together Maine’s most interesting guests to debate the issues of the day in a lively back and forth format. At the end of each show, Maine humorist Gary Crocker will give his own unique take from his “home” in West Gardiner.
“Pingree and Katz” will air Tuesdays at 7 p.m. on Time Warner Channel 9 and will be repeated several other times during the week. Check local listings for additional air dates. Additionally, the show may be streamed online by accessing the show’s Facebook page, at facebook.com/pingreeandkatzthemaineevent.
On their debut show beginning Feb. 11, 2014 Hannah and Roger debate the legalization of marijuana. Guests include Senator David Burns and Dr. Jeff Barkin advocating against legalization, and Representative Diane Russell and David Boyer making the case for it.
Sponsors of the program include the Maine Credit Union League, MacDonald Page and LogistiCare.
The show is produced by Andy Collar at Digital Spirit Media 557-9022.
The article below appeared in the February 6, 2014 edition of the Bangor Daily News
Maine Employers Can Expect Nearly 8 Percent Reduction in Workers' Comp Rate, Largest Since 1998
By Whit Richardson
AUGUSTA, Maine — Employers in Maine are expected to save $15.2 million on workers’ compensation insurance this coming year, thanks in part to a reduction in on-the-job injuries and the ability of the state workers’ comp board to control medical costs.
The Maine Bureau of Insurance on Thursday received a recommendation to decrease workers’ compensation rates by an average 7.7 percent, according to the report, which was obtained by the Bangor Daily News.
Eric Cioppa, superintendent of the Maine Bureau of Insurance, called the proposed decrease “very good news.”
“Most states, it’s my understanding, are not seeing decreases,” he said.
The recommendation comes from the National Council on Compensation Insurance, which is a rating advisory organization that tracks and analyzes workers’ comp insurance rates for several states, including Maine.
The rate reduction would save Maine employers who buy workers’ comp insurance on the commercial market a total of $15.2 million, according to calculations performed by the Maine Bureau of Insurance. Large employers that are self-insured, such as Eastern Maine Medical Center and Bath Iron Works, would not be affected by this rate decrease.
Governor LePage Appoints New Maine Emergency Management Head
Brian Fitzgerald has been serving as acting director of MEMA.
The Associated Press
Gov. Paul LePage announced Thursday that he has selected Bruce Fitzgerald of South China to serve as the director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency.
“Bruce has distinguished himself as an expert in the emergency management field through his many years at MEMA, and I am pleased to nominate him as the director,” LePage said in a news release. “He is the right man to manage the agency in times of emergency.”
Fitzgerald has served as acting director of the agency since Robert McAleer retired in November.
Fitzgerald joined the MEMA staff in 2003 as a program manager for Homeland Security grants. He also served as the homeland division director and served the agency through numerous state emergencies, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and Patriots Day storms in 2007 and, more recently, during Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Maine.
“I’m pleased and honored to have been selected by the governor for this position. I look forward to continued service with MEMA leading this important agency,” Fitzgerald said in the release. “I am confident that the professionals of the Maine Emergency Management Agency will continue to provide the high level of service to Maine’s citizens to which we have all become accustomed.”
The appointment is awaiting approval of the Maine Senate.
DISGRACE: In Surprise Vote, Dems Raid Rainy Day, Tax Relief Funds
Dems wait for GOP colleagues to go home before voting out controversial bill
AUGUSTA – In an unprecedented move by majority lawmakers Monday night, the Democratic members of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee voted “Ought to Pass” on a $40 million budget proposal without a single Republican present.
Democrats had met with their Republican colleagues on the budget committee earlier in the evening, agreeing to take the matter up during Tuesday afternoon’s work session. All Republican appropriators left the State House with that agreement. Democrats then assembled in the committee room and voted out the budget bill in a one-party vote.
Senate Chairwoman Dawn Hill (D-Cape Neddick) even said she was “disappointed” that Republicans did not join Democrats for the vote, though both parties had agreed to meet tomorrow.
“I am absolutely stunned by this brazen move by the Democrats,” said Lead House Republican appropriator Rep. Kathy Chase (R-Wells), reached on her cell phone while driving home from Augusta. “I left the State House with the understanding that we would not vote on the measure until tomorrow afternoon.”