Things You Need to Know: Bill to Move Maine to Atlantic Time Zone Moving Ahead
Here are the things you need to know today......
A bill could put a tax on sugary beverages in Maine. WGME reports the money would fund some veterans and healthy community programs.
The bill that would put Maine in the Atlantic time zone makes another step forward. Bangor Daily News reports the house and senate have giving preliminary approval and agree it should be put in front of voters.
The new Maine National Guard Joint Force Headquarters off Civic Center Drive in Augusta is almost complete. Centralmaine.com reports the expect to have access to the building this summer and have everyone moved at the start of the new year.
From the Associated Press:
A bill that supporters hope will rid the landscape of many of the millions of miniature alcohol bottles sold each year is heading to the Maine Senate. The Maine House voted to make Maine's bottle deposit laws apply to 50 milliliter and smaller wine or spirits bottles. Maine Audubon says the bill will reduce litter, while alcohol industry lobbyists call the 15-cent deposit anti-business and impractical. The state's alcoholic beverages and lottery bureau opposed the bill and said increased redemption could cost the state $1 million each year.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is heading to Maine to hear about the state's efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Price is set to meet with Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday morning at the State House. The meeting will include relatives of those struggling with addiction as well as representatives from the recovery community, drug treatment specialists and law enforcement officials.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration is now seeking developers for a new secure psychiatric home in Bangor. LePage said the residence would provide urgently needed care to individuals who no longer need hospital-level treatment, while freeing up beds at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. The administration is looking for a firm to build an 8,300-square foot-facility by March 2019.
A man who's served decades in a state mental hospital following a woman's death in 1969 is asking Maine's highest court to be released. Seventy-three-year-old Donald Beauchene contends he's being held unconstitutionally at the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital. A prosecutor said Tuesday that he shouldn't be released unless he cooperates with therapists and makes progress.
The Maine Republican governor's pick for chief advocate for utility customers has received a key legislative committee's unanimous support. The Associated Press reported that Hobbins has a history of ties with the wireless and telecommunications industry, including political contributions and a stint lobbying for AT&T. A legislative committee unanimously voted on Tuesday to recommend Democrat Barry Hobbins following supportive testimony from Republican and Democratic legislative leaders.
FBI Director James Comey was speaking to agents at the FBI's field office in Los Angeles when the news of his firing broke. That's according to a law enforcement official who was present at the time Tuesday. The official says television screens in the field office began flashing the news, and Comey initially chuckled. But he continued to speak to the agents, finishing his speech before heading into an office. He did not reappear in the main room. Comey later left Los Angeles on a plane to return to Washington.
President Donald Trump is criticizing Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for comments he made in response to James Comey's firing as FBI director. Schumer said he told Trump in a phone conversation that "you are making a big mistake." Trump fired back in a tweet that Schumer "acts so indignant" after saying he'd lost confidence in Comey.
New South Korean President Moon Jae-in has named his nominees for prime minister and the country's spy chief as he quickly moves to replace government officials he inherited from the ousted and jailed former president. Moon's nomination of Lee Nak-yon as his prime minister was seen as an effort to further win support from the liberal southwest region where Lee served as governor and lawmaker.
Two Iraqi boys who escaped Islamic State captivity tell The Associated Press that the militants forced hundreds of boys, some as young as 7 or 8, into training to become fighters and suicide bombers. They used hunger to manipulate and indoctrinate their young prisoners with their murderous ideology. "In paradise, you will get a new body," the boys were told. "In paradise, you can eat whatever you want. But first you have to get to paradise, and you do that by blowing yourself up."
The White House says that President Donald Trump will meet Wednesday with Vladimir Putin's top diplomat. The face-to-face session will mark the highest level contact with Russia of the American leader's young presidency. It would also signal that Washington and Moscow have improved ties that Trump recently described as being at an "all-time low."
The U.S. Coast Guard is bringing more technology to bear in its fight against smugglers trying to get cocaine to America's cities, such as a cutter on patrol recently in the eastern Pacific that for the first time used a drone to spot vessels on drug runs. Still, stopping the flow of cocaine is a monumental task that has grown even bigger in the past few years because of a boom in coca production in Colombia.