Good morning from Augusta. After days of almost spring this past week, temperatures this morning of Maine’s 201st birthday are in the single digits. Here is your soundtrack.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It basically cut our business in half,” said the Northern Lanes bowling alley manager Dale Nickerson said of the experience of his Presque Isle Business – and many others – had during the first year the coronavirus pandemic in Maine. “A lot of people were upset that they had to wear masks when they walked in, but everyone has to do their part.”
What we see today
Bills preventing foreign companies from spending money on elections and referendums in Maine are another front in the battle for the corridor. A trio of bills pending for a public hearing in Augusta on Monday will go directly to Hydro-Quebec, Central Maine Power’s partner in its controversial powerline project that will run through Maine. The company is owned by the Province of Quebec.
It was a major financier of the opposition to referendums aimed at defeating the corridor project and spending $ 6.7 million alone on the first question. However, these are only the direct campaign spend that must be reported to the Maine Ethics Commission by the end of last year. In addition, after a lull in the fall, Hydro-Quebec resumed running ads in favor of the project this year. The postings have so far been six-digit amounts.
It comes as someone else Referendum campaign The attempt to block the corridor is scheduled for the November elections. These recent efforts would require lawmakers to retrospectively pass laws preventing CMP-sized projects from being built in certain areas of the state. It is likely that this push will also go through multiple court battles and high profile editions before going to the voters. There is ongoing litigation over the permits required for the project. This is under construction.
Each bill has a similar language that excludes foreigners from participating in elections to varying degrees. One is for government agencies only, while another is for all foreigners. Rep. Kyle BaileyD-Gorham is taking another step by specifically preventing media companies from broadcasting the advertisements they want to prevent. Social media platforms would need to remove these ads when they appear on platforms.
This problem has been untested in Maine legislation, where CMP relied on the government. Janet Mills and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to kill anti-corridor bills in 2019. But lawmakers had to adjourn in 2020 due to the coronavirus and kiboshing a bill against this foreign money.
You can follow joint Testimony of all three bills to the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Committee at 10 a.m. today.
The Maine Politics Top 3
– “Maine weathered the virus better than virtually anywhere in America, ” Jessica Piper and Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News: “The state’s rural geography – it was one of the last states to report an initial case – and the low population density helped limit transmission early on, experts said. A relatively high rate of mask-wearing, as well as travel restrictions and testing, have likely kept cases low. But even those measures weren’t enough to prevent the virus from entering long-term care facilities or warding off the widespread spread of winter in Maine still to fully recover with flat cases. “
All Mainers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Maine after a state vaccination schedule update. Gov. Janet Mills said Friday that the authorization will be extends to all Mainers under 50 years of age on May 1st and not just in their forties according to an order from the President Joe Biden that all states will question all people for the vaccine by May. Currently, Mainers are eligible for the vaccine while aged 60 and over more than 500,000 total cans were administered.
– “A Guide to the $ 6 Billion Coming to Maine in the massive business cycle, ” Lori Valigra, BDN: “Some of the more immediate benefits for Mainers are the extension of the $ 300 weekly unemployment benefit, which expires on March 14th. Direct Payments to Americans starting at $ 1,400 and major tax changes in favor of low-income people. Maine will see money for industries hit hard. The winners include restaurants that can apply for direct grants. Maine will also receive large sums of money for broadband expansion and infrastructure. “
– “Top Democratic lawmakers blow up Maine Medical Center for opposing the Nurses Union, ” Christopher Burns, BDN: “Senate President Troy Jackson, Majority Leader of the Senate Eloise Vitelli, House spokesman Ryan Fecteau and house majority leader Michelle Dunphy wrote in a Friday letter that they are concerned that Maine Medical Center is “mistreating nurses” in support of union efforts. “
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jessica Piper and Caitlin Andrews. If you read this on the BDN website or have been redirected, you can sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every morning of the week by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To reach us, do not reply directly to this newsletter but contact the political team at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.