Maine's Political Pulse

Maine's Political Pulse taps into the expertise of our top political reporters, Steve Mistler and Mal Leary.

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Did you know there is now a Political Pulse newsletter? It offers a weekly update on Maine and national politics. Click here to subscribe, and you’ll receive an edition each Friday morning.

Legislative Democrats’ decision to pass a “back to basics” $8.3 billion two-year budget with or without minority Republican support next week has prompted an outcry among GOP lawmakers, who have described the move as a “sham,” “heavy handed” and a break with precedent that will “silence” their constituents.

This week on Maine’s Political Pulse:

— An effort to limit foreign influence in ballot campaigns meets stiff opposition from Maine’s leading business group.

— Also, as Congress contemplates increasing the minimum wage, a sticking point emerges on workers who earn tips.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The political, legal and legislative efforts to thwart Central Maine Power’s $1 billion transmission corridor continued apace this week as state lawmakers considered a slate of bills that could sideline a key financial beneficiary and a Superior Court judge ruled that the state didn’t follow the law when it leased public lands for the project.

This week on Maine’s Political Pulse:

— The latest from the Maine Legislature and its late-night supplemental budget agreement.

— The Biden administration’s massive pandemic relief proposal will funnel billions of dollars to Maine. We’ll break down where that money is going and how it can be used.

The American Rescue Plan passed by Democrats in Congress and signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday is expected to deliver billions of dollars in aid to Maine in two slugs of funding that the state can use through 2024.

This week on Maine's Political Pulse:

— Citing increased vaccinations and plateauing COVID-19 cases, Gov. Janet Mills releases her plan to further lift business and gathering restrictions. We'll discuss the details.

— We'll also break down the governor's changes to vaccination priorities and the stalemate over a supplemental spending plan.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday announced that school staff and child care providers will now be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, a significant change to the age-based inoculation scheme that she rolled out just five days earlier.

This week on Maine’s Political Pulse:

— As Democrats in Congress push through a massive pandemic relief proposal, prospects are brightening for a major slug of federal money coming to Maine state government and towns. We’ll discuss how the money might be used to settle a stalemate in the Legislature.

— Also, Republican Sen. Susan Collins will no longer cosponsor the Equality Act.

Maine could receive $1.6 billion from the massive coronavirus relief bill Democrats are steering through Congress, an infusion of funds that would be split between the state and the local governments within its borders.

This week on Maine's Political Pulse: Republican Sen. Susan Collins defends her vote to convict former President Donald Trump as members of her party call for censure. We'll break down the dispute and why it's unique.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

The kerfuffle between the Maine Republican Party and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins over her vote to convict former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection largely resembled the backlash experienced by the six other Republicans who joined her.

This week on Maine's Political Pulse: The latest on impeachment from Maine's two U.S. senators. Also, Secretary Of State Shenna Bellows begins fulfilling her promise for election law changes, and a bid for racial impact statements on bills hits a snag.

The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump has featured chilling video footage of a mob that came within minutes of carrying out far more violence during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol than it ultimately did.

This week on Maine’s Political Pulse: Republican Sen. Susan Collins engages President Joe Biden on a massive COVID relief bill. We’ll discuss how President Barack Obama’s courtship of another Maine Republican might influence Biden’s approach.

Also, why Democratic Congressman Jared Golden opposes a partisan process to pass another COVID proposal.