Central Maine News: February 5, 2016
These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.
(AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is calling for a political revolution "where millions of people stand up and say loudly" that government is for all Americans and not just for a handful of wealthy campaign contributors. Sanders took part in Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate in Derry, New Hampshire, during which rival Hillary Clinton said she hopes New Hampshire voters bring both their hearts and heads when they head to the polls next Tuesday.
(AP) — No sleeping on the subway. New York City's police commissioner is instructing police officers to wake sleeping passengers in an effort to keep them safe. More than half of all subway crime in the past year involved a sleeping victim, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says, "If you are sleeping on the subway, you make yourself a very easy victim."
(AP) — The case of a disabled Mainer who shot an intruder last year has led to legislation that would prohibit gun bans in subsidized housing. State Sen. Andre Cushing says the bill will start a conversation about the conflict between rights of private property owners and their tenants. The Republican's bill comes after Harvey Lembo, who uses a wheelchair, shot an alleged burglar in his Rockland home. He says he was defending himself, but his landlord told him that tenants are prohibited from having firearms in the subsidized apartments. Cushing says landlords who accept public money shouldn't be allowed to violate their tenants' rights. Lembo is suing the owner and property management company.
(AP) — Gov. Paul LePage is stopping the Maine Human Rights Commission and the Department of Education from issuing rules protecting transgender students. Schools instead are being given guidelines that lack the force of law. A lead Democrat on the issue says LePage is putting vulnerable teens at risk. Rep. Daughtry of Brunswick says the rules are required by the 2013 Maine Supreme Judicial Court's decision in favor of Nicole Maines, a transgender student in Orono who was barred from using a bathroom appropriate for her gender. LePage office said LePage has read the court decision and believes it requires the Legislature to take action, and that new rules are not required.
(WGME) -- A new report claims millions of taxpayer dollars are being misused by state legislators. The Maine Heritage Policy Center released its new "piglet book," highlighting what the group calls wasteful spending in state government. The new piglet book calls out state lawmakers for, "sneaking in millions of dollars in pet projects and pork spending."
Democratic and Republican leaders say those numbers don't tell the whole story.
The Maine Heritage Policy Center called out lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, and even the governor, for what they call millions of dollars in wasteful spending. Get the report here!
(AP) -- A proposal in the Maine Legislature would send $1 million to the state agency that oversees the expansion of broadband. The bill could benefit residents and businesses in rural Maine that have slow Internet access or no access at all. The Legislature's Energy and Utilities Committee voted on Tuesday to support the proposal. The bill originally sought to increase funding for the ConnectME Authority by up to $6 million. Lawmakers struggled to agree on a way to fund the larger proposal. The committee on Tuesday decided instead to use $1 million from the state's general fund. ConnectME Authority's current annual budget is about $1.1 million.
(KJ) -- Augusta City councilors voted to approve spending an additional $500,000 to build a new fire station in north Augusta. The additional money, on top of the $3.6 million initially budgeted and approved by voters for the station, is needed to put steel pilings extending 60 feet down through the clay soil under the site to support the weight of the new station and the firetrucks it will hold. The goal is to break ground around April.