Three judges nominated

The governor says he is nominating David Soucy of Fort Kent to be a District Court judge. Soucy is now an attorney in private practice.  Baldacci is also nominating Judge Wayne Douglas of Old Orchard Beach to be reappointed to District Court, where he has served since 2002.  Justice William Brodrick of Wells is being nominated for reappointment as active retired Superior Court justice. Brodrick has served as a judge for nearly 30 years.

via Boston.com.

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More on the latest Maine laws

Bangor Daily News reviews some of the new laws now in force in Maine.

Beginning Saturday, lighting up at any “outdoor eating areas” at bars and restaurants in Maine is against the law.

But if you want to take home some of that pub’s tasty summer ale or Octoberfest brew, you’re in luck. As of Sept. 12, brewpubs can sell half-gallon jugs of beer — commonly known as “growlers” — from behind the bar.

Just don’t text message your friend about your purchase on the drive home. If you do, and a police officer notices you speeding or swerving, you could be one of the first Mainers slapped with a ticket and a fine under the state’s new “distracted driving” law.

Those are just three of the hundreds of new laws that take effect on Saturday, which is the 90th day after the Legislature adjourned.

New Marketing Law Won’t Be Enforced

A new Maine law restricting marketing to minors is so problematic that Attorney General Janet Mills will not enforce the measure, her office said Friday.

“The Attorney General’s position is that she’s not enforcing the law,” Maine Deputy Attorney General Paul Stern said Friday.

Stern added that the authorities take the position that the measure could violate teens’ free speech rights — an argument raised last week by groups who mounted a court challenge to the statute. “We share some of the plaintiffs’ concerns about the law,” Stern said.

via MediaPost.

Court sides with School

The Portland Press Herald had sued the school to get notes from a meeting concerning job performance.

The Portland School Committee will not be forced to release notes from a private meeting last summer, thanks to a unanimous ruling Thursday by Maine’s highest court in favor of the committee and against the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.In a case that tested Maine’s right-to-know statute, the state Supreme Judicial Court found that the School Committee was within the law to hold the private meeting with school officials.

Committee members at the July 25 meeting grilled Superintendent Mary Jo O’Connor and Finance Director Richard Paulson about their job performance, relative to an unexpected $2.5 million budget deficit. Both officials later resigned.

Members said the meeting was private because they limited the discussion to job performance. Under state law, such talks are allowed to be held privately if they have the potential of damaging an employee’s professional reputation.

The newspaper sued the School Committee, claiming that the meeting went beyond a simple review of job performance by getting into budget issues and thus should have been conducted in public.

In an earlier ruling, Superior Court Justice Roland Cole agreed in part and ordered some notes taken during the meeting to be released to the newspaper. The School Committee appealed the ruling, and the notes were not released pending the higher court’s decision.

The high court’s seven justices sided unanimously with the School Committee.

PressHerald

Federal Court rules against EPA

The suit challenged the EPA’s regulation that permitted mercury emissions, much of it from midwest coal plants.

Maine and more than a dozen other states, along with environmental and public health groups, have won a federal lawsuit aimed at cutting mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled today that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act in 2005 by setting rules that allow plants to discharge toxic mercury and avoid strict controls. The EPA’s “Clean Air Mercury Rule” would have created a cap-and-trade program to reduce overall nationwide emissions 70 percent by 2018.

– PressHerald

State fines mortgage broker

MaineToday:

A licensed mortgage loan broker has entered into a Superior Court Consent Decree that resolves the state’s Unfair Trade Practice Act Complaint.

The State charged that Maine Mortgage Group helped falsify a homeowner’s mortgage application in order to persuade the lender that the homeowner was a good loan risk.

The state’s complaint alleged that Maine Mortgage Group made a $7,000 short-term loan to the homeowner in order to make the homeowner’s assets appear larger than they actually were.