LePage to decide which land deals Maine will fund

Gov. Paul LePage said this week that he plans to personally review and choose conservation and public easement projects before funding them with voter-approved bonds.

His announcement has been met with dismay by land trusts and private landowners uncertain what criteria LePage plans to use in judging projects that have already received approval by a state board.

The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

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Funds for court-appointed attorneys runs out

“Attorneys assigned to represent criminal defendants facing jail time and others entitled to court-appointed counsel will not be paid during the month of June because the commission will run out of money at the end of May, John Pelletier, executive director of the commission, said last week.

Lawyers will be paid after July 1 for work done previously when the new fiscal year begins, he said. The same thing happened last year and in 2008, when the judiciary still was responsible for paying court-appointed attorneys.”

via BDN Maine.

Supreme Court to Allow Arguments Online

“Live audio streaming of Supreme Judicial Court arguments begins on Wednesday. Chief Justice Leigh Saufley announced the new service during her State of the Judiciary speech to the Legislature in February.

The court’s government and media counsel, Mary Ann Lynch, calls streaming a great step forward in making the work of the Supreme Judicial Court accessible “to all Maine people, no matter where they live.” Computers with Internet access are available in every public library in Maine.” via Bangor Daily News .

Watch online here: http://www.courts.state.me.us/maine_courts/supreme/stream.shtml

Pine Tree Gets Grant to Help Veterans

A $24,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation will help the organization develop material about Maine-specific laws. State-specific laws come into play in areas like divorce and guardianship and there are particular state benefits such as admission to the Maine Veterans’ Homes.”It is really confusing and many people don’t know they’re protected by law because of their status with the military,” said Helen Meyer, a development associate with the organization.Pine Tree Legal sees the effort as a way to improve veterans’ access to legal protections unique to them. The organization has seen a growing need for legal assistance among families with a military connection.

via The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

LePage Hires Madison Avenue Law Firm

Bangor Daily News 

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is getting some outside help negotiating a new labor contract for nearly 10,000 state workers.

Louis DiLorenzo, a managing partner in the firm Bond Schoeneck & King, which has offices in New York, Florida and Kansas, will be paid $295 an hour to help administration officials in their negotiations with the Maine State EmployeesAssociation.

A Wednesday meeting will discuss ground rules for upcoming negotiations.

Milbridge, Mano en Mano Settle

A lawsuit involving the town of Milbridge and Mano en Mano, a local nonprofit, was settled in U.S. District Court last week, a move expected by all parties. Magistrate Judge Margaret J. Kravchuk ordered that all details be completed within 30 days, at which time the suit filed by Mano en Mano will be dismissed.

The lawsuit, initiated last summer, was based on alleged violations of the federal Fair Housing Act. Mano en Mano, a nonprofit advocacy group, was using $1.6 million in federal grant funds to construct a housing unit for permanent agricultural workers.When Milbridge voters in June 2009 approved a moratorium on such facilities, Mano en Mano sued the town.

via Bangor Daily News.

UDC Law as Guide for S. NE Law school

My alma mater, the UDC School of Law, is being looked at as a model for the UMass law school.

The city of Washington launched its public law school in 1988 with a lofty goal: to provide a legal education to minorities underrepresented in the field and empower them to serve their own communities and others in need.

… And its tumultuous journey offers hope and some valuable lessons for Massachusetts, where higher education officials are poised to approve a controversial plan to turn a little-known, poorly regarded law school in Southeastern Massachusetts into the state’s first public law school. The Board of Higher Education, which rejected a similar plan four years ago, is set to cast its vote Tuesday.

via  The Boston Globe.