Good morning from Augusta. It’s customary for congressional delegates to invite guests to State of the Union addresses — tonight can be President Donald Trump’s second.
These gestures typically function symbolic attempts to curry favor with constituents, or in the case of at the least certainly one of Maine’s delegates, a chance to buck Trump. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, Maine’s most liberal delegate, has invited climate change whistleblower Joel Clement, the previous U.S. Department of Interior official who was demoted last yr after submitting a grievance towards the Trump administration for ignoring the consequences of local weather change on Alaska natives — a transfer Pingree referred to as “powerful and courageous.”
“Since the administration wants to stifle expert voices like Joel’s, we stand ready to give them a pulpit,” Pingree stated of her guest. Underneath Democratic Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, anticipate Pingree to be more brazen in her call for local weather change motion, like her vow to help firebrand freshman New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” which would make the country carbon impartial by 2030.
Final yr, Pingree invited Christian Castaneda of Portland, who’s certainly one of 800,000 individuals caught in the midst of a debate concerning the Deferred Motion Towards Childhood Arrivals program. On the time, Pingree and minority Home Democrats have been sparring with Trump and majority Republicans over the fate of people like Castaneda.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, the Democrat who ousted Republican Bruce Poliquin in November, campaigned on representing working-class voters and supporting labor unions in Maine’s rural 2nd District, which has a number of the state’s lowest unemployment rates and backed Trump in 2016. His visitor can be Cynthia Phinney, who’s been president of Maine’s largest labor federation, AFL-CIO, since 2015. It represents greater than 150 native unions with 40,000 members.
Maine’s senators’ decisions largely mirror where they are within the six-year election cycle. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who’s quietly gearing up for what might be her toughest re-election marketing campaign in 2020, has invited Maine House Minority Leader Kathleen Dillingham, R-Oxford.
In the course of the next yr and a half, Collins will want to take arduous purpose at all manufacturers of Maine Republicans, including those moderates and independents who’ve supported her up to now, however particularly those that backed former Gov. Paul LePage, who typically criticized her while in office. Dillingham represents this selection.
Collins’ decide is probably also a not-so-subtle flex at House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, Dillingham’s chief voice of opposition and, to date, Collins’ largest 2020 rival.
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who in November 2018 gained re-election to his second and certain remaining time period, invited Margo Walsh, founder and proprietor of MaineWorks and co-founder of the Maine Recovery Fund. The organizations work in concert to find jobs for economically weak Mainers, together with those recovering from substance abuse disorder. It’s a largely apolitical decide highlighting King’s give attention to collaboration amongst authorities and native entities to tackle the nation’s opioid habit epidemic.
As we speak in A-town
— A lawmaker is rolling out a bill that may reverse a state crackdown on utilizing a hemp compound as a meals additive. Final week, the administration of Gov. Janet Mills began telling shops to remove sure merchandise containing CBD, the non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp that has skyrocketed in reputation as a purported means to deal with numerous ailments from epilepsy to irritation (scientific proof is just really there for epilepsy up to now).
That call from state health inspectors went solely to shops that don’t promote medical marijuana and have been selling CBD in an edible type — together with meals, tinctures and capsules — because the compound isn’t a federally accredited meals additive. Stores can proceed to sell CBD in smokable, inhalable and topical varieties.
The brand new invoice from Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, who co-chairs the Legislature’s agriculture committee, would make clear that the state doesn’t prohibit or prohibit of hemp derivatives. Mary-Erin Casale, a spokeswoman for Home Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, stated the Legislature might send the invoice to a committee immediately.
— 5 of the Democratic governor’s six remaining commissioner nominees are up for affirmation votes right now in the Maine Senate. None of their nominations are in peril within the Democratic-led upper chamber, where probably the most fascinating thing to watch can be how many Republicans oppose former Portland police Chief Michael Sauschuck, Mills’ decide for public safety commissioner. He was blistered at an extended Friday affirmation listening to that nearly solely turned about his previous help for gun control policies.
All five Republicans on a legislative committee opposed his nomination, which was Mills’ just one thus far not to get unanimous committee approval. It’s potential that Senate Republicans have been given no actual incentive to help Sauschuck in at present’s affirmation vote.
— The previous governor’s cope with a personal contractor to run a new mental well being facility in Bangor severely limits the brand new governor’s capability to change course. A lease the LePage administration signed last Might with the event firm that’s constructing the safe facility on the campus of Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Middle in Bangor obligates the state to $11.three million in lease funds over 30 years for a constructing the LePage administration estimated would value between $2 million and $3 million. The settlement particularly bars the state from terminating the lease so it could open an analogous facility elsewhere, resembling in Augusta — a provision that a former Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom justice and court-appointed watchdog over Maine’s psychological well being providers referred to as unusual in state leases. Click on right here to refresh your memory concerning the five-year process that received Maine to this level.
— The utility that desires to build a 145-mile transmission line to carry electrical energy from Quebec dams to Massachusetts is open to sweetening the deal for affected Mainers. Maine Public reviews that as state regulators transfer closer to deciding whether the venture is within the state’s greatest pursuits, CMP is negotiating with key players. Those embrace giant power shoppers (akin to paper mills), environmentalists and the state’s public advocate, who reportedly needs at the least $50 million from builders of the $1 billion undertaking to scale back power costs for low-income Maine shoppers. Some environmental groups and representatives of communities by way of which the line would travel have aggressively opposed the development.
— Tub Iron Works gained one other massive contract to service Navy vessels. Three days after Navy Secretary Richard Spencer toured the shipyard with Maine’s whole congressional delegation, the Navy announced that it had awarded BIW a $126 million contract to continue offering planning yard providers for the Arleigh Burke class of destroyers. The contract, for one yr with 4 choice years, might probably be value $719 million if all of these options are accepted.
— The federal authorities shutdown stalled efforts to get Acadia National Park prepared for the summer time vacationer inflow. Park administrators are approach not on time in hiring more than 100 seasonal staff — a process that sometimes takes 90 days — who’re key to making sure all the park’s amenities are open by mid-April. “We are very concerned about our seasonal hirings,” Kevin Schneider, Acadia’s superintendent, advised the park’s advisory commission on Monday. He stated he has approved supervisors to work extra time on weekends to attempt to make headway in lining up staff for the coming tourist season, which often kicks into gear in late Might.
I am blessed with a genetic make-up that permits me to overcome my propensity for unhealthy dwelling. Aside from sometimes rising inner crystals in locations they don’t belong and burning out minor complementary organs, I’ve not often had to challenge medical science to hold myself functioning.
So far, annual blood checks indicate that my puffy body features just inside the norms that permit me to avoid the need for medicine or different synthetic modification. The one recurring pink flag in annually’s blood panel is a concerningly low degree of Vitamin D.
Despite making an attempt natural cures prompt by BDN writer Aislinn Sarnacki and ingesting little black drugs full of megadoses of the nutrient prescribed by my doctor, I nonetheless fall in need of ranges deemed to be wholesome.
The most effective natural source of Vitamin D is the solar. As a result of our office in Augusta is principally an underground windowless cell and my job primarily includes observing a pc for 12 hours, the sun exists largely as a overseas concept to me.
On the rare occasions once I do go outdoors, I’m either wrapped in thick layers of clothing to forestall myself from freezing or in thin layers of cotton and sunscreen to forestall my paler than pale Irish pores and skin from frying like bacon.
So days like Monday — not too scorching, not too cold, shiny sunshine — present me with a uncommon opportunity to do something good for myself that I truly take pleasure in and may tolerate: Stroll in the sun.
I had planned to do the identical as we speak, however as I began scripting this, the clouds rolled in and the forecast changed. If anyone sees the sun shine immediately, send a mole down to the workplace to let me know. Right here is your soundtrack. — Robert Long
At the moment’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. In the event you’re reading this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on here to receive Maine’s leading publication on state politics by way of e-mail on weekday mornings. Click on right here to subscribe to the BDN.