Introducing BDN Daily Brief: State House and political news every morning

Important things happen every day in politics and state government.

Top decision-makers are too busy to keep up with all of it on their own, so their staff give them regular briefings, keeping them abreast of what they need to know to do their jobs.

We know you’re busy too, so we think you deserve to be briefed as well.

Enter Daily Brief, in which the BDN politics team — State House Bureau Chief Chris Cousins and reporter Mario Moretto — will inform you daily of what’s happening, and what will happen next, in state politics. You’re reading the first edition, and we expect to continue every day the Legislature is in session.

We hope you’ll sign up to receive the Daily Brief in your inbox daily, but we’ll also be posting it to State & Capitol each morning. 

Today, Gov. Paul LePage will be given the oath of office for his second term in front of a joint session of the Maine Legislature. LePage is expected to outline his vision and policy goals for the next two years, when he’ll be buoyed by a newly elected Republican majority in the Senate.

BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

The state capitol by night. BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

On lookout for budget hints in LePage’s inaugural address

Today we’re looking (hoping) for clues of what will be in LePage’s biennial budget proposal, due just two days from today. LePage and his inner circle have been working on the proposal since late summer, and governor’s office staff have indicated it will be around the $6.3 billion mark set in the previous budget cycle.

The Blaine House has stayed mum on specifics, noting only that the governor’s budget will focus on “right-sizing” government and tax and welfare reform. We expect LePage to give some clues during his inaugural address today.

Battle continues over EBT photos

Yesterday we reported that Maine’s 249,000 food stamp recipients could lose their benefits if a fight between the state and federal governments is not resolved. DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said that if the feds pull administrative funding to punish the state for pursuing a photo ID requirement, the state will stop administering the food assistance program.

Here’s the problem: If the state abandons its role in doling out SNAP benefits, there’s no one else to pick up the job. That means leaving more than $367 million in federal food assistance money on the table.

Poliquin takes reins in 2nd CD

Journalists in Maine can stop writing “-elect” on U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s title now that the freshman congressman from Oakland was given the oath of office of Monday. Poliquin’s first official act in office was a vote for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. As you may recall, Boehner joined Poliquin at a September campaign fundraiser in Portland.

Verified tweets!

Poliquin’s first act as a Congressman may have been a vote for Boehner, but his second act may have been joining Twitter. The account @RepPoliquin sent its first tweet yesterday at 12:11 p.m. No word yet on whether the account is run by Poliquin himself or a staffer.

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Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.