Judge says LePage exceeded authority by emptying prison

A judge has ordered the LePage administration to continue operating the now-empty Downeast Correctional Facility, handing at least a partial victory to Washington County officials upset with the prison’s sudden closure.

In a 12-page ruling, Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy agreed with the county, union officials and Attorney General Janet Mills that LePage overstepped his constitutional authority when he emptied the Machiasport prison in a secret, pre-dawn operation on Feb. 9. Murphy ordered the Maine Department of Corrections “to operate DCF” in accordance with state law “until the Legislature acts to repeal (the law) or ceases to fund DCF.”

Source:Portland Press Herald

Isle au Haut plans to build its own energy grid  

Isle au Haut residents plan to install a sophisticated microgrid this spring that could eventually end their reliance on expensive power and heating fuel from the mainland.As on many of the other 14 Maine islands inhabited year-round, Isle au Haut residents pay at least double the amount a Portland or Bangor resident would for their electricity, kerosene and oil. Compounding matters, an aging undersea electric cable between Stonington and the island could fail any day, according to Jim Wilson, president of Isle au Haut Electric Power Co.

Source:  BDN Maine

Trump budget would kill funds for many programs in Maine

President Trump released a proposed budget for the next fiscal year Monday that if enacted would have serious consequences across Maine. The sweeping plan again proposes to eliminate the programs that provide heating oil to low-income Mainers, legal aid to indigent citizens, and grants to towns and cities to rehabilitate housing, infrastructure, and services. It also would stop federal funding for Maine Public’s television and radio outlets, the University of Maine’s Sea Grant research program, and the Wel

Source: Portland Press Herald

Town tax break allows Belfast shipyard’s $4 million expansion

A $4 million midcoast shipyard expansion cleared one of its final hurdles last week, as city officials put the rubber stamp on a credit enhancement agreement that could allow the business to service superyachts and build ferries.

For the past two years, Front Street Shipyard has been pushing to build Building 6, a 21,700-square-foot hangar-like structure that would allow the company to service and possibly build larger ships.

Source: BDN Maine

Lacking clarity from state, towns act to ban pot shops

The Town Council this month unanimously approved a retail marijuana prohibition, joining more than a dozen communities in southern Maine that have said no to pot businesses. Faced with uncertainty about what rules state officials will set up for the recreational marijuana market, other communities are extending moratoriums or waiting to discuss local zoning until there is more clarity about the future of the industry in Maine.

Source: CentralMaine.com

Portland Press Herald and AP Articles on Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Law and Employment Incorrect

A Portland Press Herald article published late in the evening of July 24, 2017, inaccurately cited the Maine Department of Labor’s guidance to employers regarding the state’s new marijuana legalization law as related to employment. This article was later corrected, but before that correction was published, the story was picked up by national media and circulated throughout social media, including blogs written by attorneys to provide guidance to clients.

Source: State of Maine (via Public)