Governor LePage to Deliver State of the State
Speech highlights Maine’s growing economy, keeping young people in Maine and fixing the welfare system
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage will deliver his State of the State Address in the House Chamber at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
The much-anticipated speech will cover a variety of priorities that include growing Maine’s economy and encouraging families to stay in Maine; electricity costs; infrastructure improvements; reforming the welfare system; and addressing drug-related crimes and their impact on our State.
“Today, we have less debt on the books, more people working and a stronger economy than we have experienced in years,” said Governor LePage. “The State of the State is an opportunity for me to share with Mainers a vision for making Maine an even better place for our families to live, work and play. Much has been accomplished in three years, but there is more work to focus to ensure a brighter future for our great State and people.”
The economy remains the number one initiative Governor LePage will continue to address during the second session of the 126th Legislature. While Maine’s unemployment rate is at its lowest it’s been since 2008 – at 6.4 percent – Governor LePage will announce an initiative aimed at attracting major business investment and creating hundreds of new jobs for Mainers.
MPBN Radio, TV and www.mpbn.net will feature the Governor’s State of the State Address live, in its entirety.
Overflow Crowd in Augusta to Support Religious Freedom Bill
Augusta – Dozens of Maine citizens descended on the State Capitol today to support LD 1428, “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom.” The bill would prohibit state government from infringing on individuals’ religious rights unless there is a compelling government interest at stake.
State Senator David Burns (R-Washington) is the sponsor of LD 1428.
The legislation is similar to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. It passed with a unanimous vote in the U.S. House and a near unanimous vote in the Senate. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled part of the act unconstitutional, and as a result, 18 states, including some in the Northeast, have adopted their own religious liberty laws.
“Religious freedom is our first freedom that is spelled out in our Bill of Rights,” said Senator Burns. “We are seeing attacks on religious freedoms around the country, including here in Maine. This bill is about assuring the religious liberties spelled out in the First Amendment are protected for all Maine citizens. The goal is to prohibit the State of Maine from burdening Mainers’ free exercise of religion without a compelling governmental interest. This law would give Maine citizens the same protections under federal law and 18 other state statutes.”
UMaine’s offshore wind energy pilot project wins initial OK
The decision clears a hurdle for Maine Aqua Ventus in its path to receive electric ratepayer support as it tests new offshore wind technology developed at the University of Maine. Maine Aqua Ventus is a consortium made up of Emera, Cianbro and Maine Prime Technologies LLC, a spin-off company representing UMaine.
Habib Dagher, director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine, told the Bangor Daily News that the vote represents “an important step” for the pilot project, which would consist of two six-megawatt turbines off Monhegan Island.
Maine Legislature Back in Session
AUGUSTA – The Second Regular Session of the 126th Legislature began on Wednesday, January 08, 2014.
Legislators will be considering more than 300 bills that are either new or carryover bills from the previous session.
The second legislative session is the shorter of the two and is intended for emergency legislation and budgetary matters. Lawmakers are expected to adjourn in April after completing their work.
Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) expressed optimism about the new legislative session. “The people of Maine are counting on us to put our partisan differences aside and act in their best interests. In order to do that, we have to make certain that as lawmakers, we make the budget of Maine families a priority over the state budget. That means we need to put a stop to the out of control spending that has led to the recently documented abuses of our tax dollars,” Senator Thibodeau said.
Assistant Republican Leader Roger Katz said, “We are all excited to be back. The state continues to face many serious challenges. It is up to us collectively to start finding solutions. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues from across the aisle and the Governor’s Office to make this an outstanding session.”
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