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Biden administration Justice40 week of action highlights historic investments in overburdened and underserved communities

White House Office of Management and Budget released a snapshot of over $29 billion in new funding opportunity notifications and announcements that the Biden-Harris Administration has already rolled out to deliver on the Justice40 Initiative— MAY 23, 2022• STATEMENTS AND RELEASES from the White House White House announces that over $29 billion in funding opportunities have already incorporated Justice40 considerations […]

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Bill to clarify rule-making parameters for the Office of Marijuana Policy becomes Maine law

May 10, 2022 AUGUSTA – A bill to clarify new rule-making parameters for the Office of Marijuana Policy, sponsored by Rep. Lynne Williams, D-Bar Harbor, is now law. LD 1928 will implement changes to make the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act clearer and more specific, reducing the need for interpretation in rulemaking and protecting against administrative overreach. This includes added protections for Maine’s medical marijuana patients, their caregivers and small, locally-owned businesses. “This legislation will ensure that everyone involved with Maine’s medical marijuana industry can continue to flourish,” said Rep. Williams. “It will protect patients’ rights, provide new safeguards for local caregivers and support our small businesses and the communities in which they operate. I am grateful to all of […]

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ME Governor Mills signs legislation to expand sales tax exemption for nonprofit housing developers

May 10, 2022 AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills recently signed into law a bill sponsored by Rep. Traci Gere, D-Kennebunkport, that will expand the current sales tax exemption for nonprofit housing developers. According to the Maine State Housing Authority’s 2021 Homeownership Housing Facts and Affordability Index, 15 of Maine’s 16 counties were classified as “unaffordable,” meaning a household earning area median income could […]

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Flags Lowered in Honor of One Million Americans Lost to COVID-19

May 12, 2022 In accordance with a directive of the President, Governor Janet Mills has ordered the United States and State of Maine flags be lowered immediately to half-staff through Monday, May 16, 2022 in solemn remembrance of the one million Americans, including 2,332 Maine people, lost to COVID-19. “The pandemic has taken its toll on many, but the greatest grief has been […]

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Attorney General Warns Mainers About $850 Relief Check Identity Theft Scam

05/13/2022  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2022 Scammers Pretending to Represent Revenue Services Stealing Identifying Information from Unsuspecting Mainers AUGUSTA – The Attorney General’s Office and Maine Revenue Services have been alerted that scammers claiming to be the “Maine IRS” have been targeting residents and requesting social security numbers, maiden names, and other sensitive information, stating it was needed to process $850 relief checks authorized by the Governor and the legislature last month.  “Maine Revenue Services already has all the information it needs to issue these relief checks, so no one should need to share any information to collect this check,” said Attorney General Aaron Frey. “As always, do not share any identifying information with anyone demanding such information over […]

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Maine lawmakers in Augusta support Biddeford Starbucks employees in their union quest

May 14, 2022 By Ramona du Houx AUGUSTA — On May 13, 2022, all three Democratic leaders in the Maine House of Representatives shared supportive statements at the news of Starbucks workers in Biddeford Maine filing a petition for a union election. The Biddeford store’s letter to the President and CEO of Starbucks is available here. Starbucks workers signed their letter ‘In Solidarity, […]

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Camden Library asks young readers “How Do You Book?” as part of Children’s Book Week, May 2-8

The Camden Public Library is joining the national effort to ask kids why they choose to read the books they do as part of Children’s Book Week, May 2 to 8, with generous support from First National Bank. Every weekday, Children’s Librarian Miss Amy will portray a different children’s book character; young readers are encouraged to tune in online or stop in for a visit to see what character it will be. The week will feature three story times, including two outside:  Outdoor Booktime for Babies on Wed., May 4, 10 a.m., and Pre-School Story Time, Thu., May 5, 10 a.m. Indoor Pre-School Story Time will take place on Fri., May 6, 10 a.m. Miss Amy will also offer crafts each weekday on YouTube and Instagram, and the […]

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Maine State Library Launches “Libraries Health Connect Program”

April 13, 2022 Starting this spring, residents in 10 communities across Maine will have a new, convenient way to connect with a healthcare provider. The Maine State Library’s “Libraries Health Connect Program” provides the technology and training needed for telehealth services through the public library. The State Library dedicated funds it received through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to create the statewide telehealth initiative. Participating libraries include Alice L. Pendleton Library (Islesboro), Caribou Public Library, Cary Library (Houlton), Fryeburg Public Library, Henry D. Moore Library (Steuben), Paris Public Library (South Paris), Peabody Memorial Library (Jonesport), Pittsfield Public Library, Skowhegan Free Public Library, and Thompson Free Library (Dover-Foxcroft). Libraries were selected based on endemic community health issues and a lack […]

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Governor Mills signs Cuddy bill to support maritime education into law

April 10, 2022 AUGUSTA – A bill to support maritime education LD 1389, sponsored by Rep. Scott Cuddy, D-Winterport, was recently signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills. The Maine Ocean School (MOS) in Searsport, Maine opened in the fall of 2018 and accepts students from around the state into its hands-on educational program. MOS seeks to foster connections between its students and the ocean while helping kids develop real, transferable skills intended to prepare the next generation of leaders for Maine’s evolving maritime economy. “After working for several years to ensure the Maine Ocean School can continue operating in this manner, I am extremely pleased that we’ve landed on a solution that empowers the school, rather than the Legislature, to set […]

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Maine state Rep. bill to restrict foreign ownership of Maine utilities

By Ramona du Houx March 12, 2022 AUGUSTA – Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, presented LD 697, An Act To Enhance the Energy Security of Maine Residents, before the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee on March 8, 2022. The bill as amended would require the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to deny any future purchase of a Maine utility by a foreign entity if potential ownership jeopardizes reliability, customer privacy and safety, regulatory capacity or the state’s economy. For example Central Maine Power (CMP) is owned by a Spanish conglomerate and has been accused of unfair consumer practices in Maine. They used millions to try and influence the building of an electric corridor from Northern Maine to Massachusetts. The CMP “corridor” was stoped […]

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SEC’s proposed climate-related disclosure requirements are a big step in the right direction 

By Ramona du Houx March 21, 2022 The Securities & Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) proposed rule would enhance and standardize registrants’ climate-related disclosures for investors.   The enhancement and standardization of climate-related disclosures is overdue and urgently needed to help investors and American businesses compete effectively in an economy that needs to move faster than it is today towards decarbonization. Under today’s governance, businesses and investors working to decrease or eliminate their impact on the climate crisis do not have a level playing field when it comes to reporting and assessing climate-related topics and validating suitable investment choices. Investors and business owners, and consequently their impact on the climate crisis, will benefit from greater transparency and accountability proposed by the SEC.  “Investors and businesses need and […]

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$6 Million for Maine Jobs & Recovery Grants to support forest industry

More than 80 percent of awards from Maine Technology Institute will support the economic recovery of small, rural forestry companies with funding from the federal government’s recovery plan March 10, 2022 By Ramona du Houx An astounding 224 Maine forestry companies, the vast majority of them with ten employees or less, will receive a total of $6 million in initial grants from the Forest Recovery Initiative of her Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. The grant awards, which are administered by the Maine Technology Institute, will support Maine’s forest products industry and the people it employs and create and sustain jobs in rural Maine. The awards will largely support rural logging and trucking firms adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of […]

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Amid high costs, Governor Mills proposes $850 direct relief for Mainers

March 17,2022 Governor also commits more funding to strengthen behavioral health system, address PFAS, and bolster emergency housing services Governor Janet Mills proposed a change package to her supplemental budget that increases the amount of direct relief to Mainers in the face of inflation, strengthens Maine’s behavioral health system, bolsters housing initiatives to fight homelessness, and advances the State’s effort to support farmers impacted by PFAS, among other initiatives. The change package builds on the Governor’s commitment to tackling the state’s most pressing problems while also investing in solutions that will strengthen the state in the long-term. It comes after Maine’s nonpartisan Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC) upgraded the State’s General Fund revenue forecast by an additional $411.7 million for the current biennium, which ends June 2023, […]

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Federal Reserve Bank of Boston announces $375,000 grants Through Working Communities Challenge to strengthen rural Maine

March 5, 2022 Augusta, MAINE — Governor Janet Mills and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston announced that six Maine Working Communities Challenge teams have been selected to receive three-year, $375,000 grants to begin implementing proposals that address local economic problems, including poverty and lack of work opportunity. “Like many people across our state, rural Maine is my home. It is where my heart is. Our rural communities are valuable beyond measure, which is why we are so invested in The Working Communities Challenge,” said Governor Janet Mills. “The Challenge is bringing together the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Maine State government, private sector businesses, and community-based organizations to tackle the toughest issues our rural communities face and to strengthen […]

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Maine State Rep. Cuddy’s bill to support a strong renewable energy workforce

By Ramona du Houx March 18, 2022 AUGUSTA – Rep. Scott Cuddy’s bill before the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee Monday that seeks to develop a strong workforce in Maine’s renewable energy industry. The proposal comes as Maine experiences particularly high heating and fuel costs and as the state continues to see increased demand for clean energy projects. LD 1969 includes several provisions that, together, establish guidelines for the renewable energy industry and empower Mainers to fill these new positions under safe and fair working conditions. “This legislation is the product of numerous conversations and extensive exploration to determine the best way to improve the lives of Mainers working on renewable energy projects and to encourage more Mainers to get involved in this booming industry,” said Rep. […]