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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 78,448

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Democrats challenging voter law are denied

CONCORD (AP) – Democrats challenging a voter registration law in New Hampshire won’t be able to use the state’s voter database to argue the law unfairly burdens those who are more likely to support their party, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The court ruled on a dispute that arose as part of lawsuit brought by the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the League of Women Voters over a 2017 law requiring additional documentation from voters who register within 30 days of an election. Supporters argue it will increase trust in elections by requiring people to prove they live where they vote, but opponents argue it is confusing, unnecessary and intimidating.

A judge allowed the law to take effect in September 2017 but blocked penalties of a $5,000 fine and a year in jail for fraud and said further hearings are necessary. In the meantime, the plaintiffs sought access to a database that includes information about whether voters registered within 30 days of an election or on Election Day and whether they provided proof of domicile.

A lower court agreed with the request, finding that information about the identities and voting patterns of same-day registrants could shed light on the plaintiff’s claims that the new law makes same-day registration more difficult, and that same-day registrants are more likely to support Democrats.

Read more: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/local-news/2019/01/25/democrats-challenging-voter-law-are-denied/

Bill Would Require Release of Tax Returns for New Hampshire Primary Candidates

Lawmakers in Concord are again considering legislation that would require presidential candidates running in New Hampshire’s primary to release five years of income tax returns.

The bill is sponsored by two Seacoast Democrats, including David Meuse, who told the House Election Law Committee on Tuesday that voters would benefit from increased transparency.

“One of the things that I think we have an opportunity to do here in New Hampshire isn’t just to be first in the nation, but it is also to be first when it comes to transparency,” said Meuse.

During the hearing, lawmakers questioned whether the legislation could face legal challenges as it would add additional criteria to who can run for president beyond what is outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Read more: https://www.nhpr.org/post/bill-would-require-release-tax-returns-new-hampshire-primary-candidates#stream/0

UNH Law, ACLU Announce Presidential Candidate Series

Presidential candidates in New Hampshire are being given a chance to discuss their vision and plans for the advancement of civil rights in a new speaker series.

The ACLU of New Hampshire and the Warren B. Rudman Center at the University of New Hampshire School of law are co-hosting "Civil Liberties and the Presidency."

The first candidate will be former Maryland Democratic Rep. John Delaney on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Rudman Center director John Greabe said the series will provide a unique opportunity for in-depth conversations about our constitutional commitments "with those who would lead us."

Read more: https://www.nhpr.org/post/unh-law-aclu-announce-presidential-candidate-series#stream/0

Maine university officials reviewing dozens of academic programs to eliminate or consolidate

University of Maine System officials have identified 34 academic programs that are underenrolled and need to either be revitalized or face possible elimination or consolidation as part of an ongoing effort to cut costs and be more efficient.

“We want to make sure there’s a vitality for the students in the program, that there is a critical mass of students and faculty to interact with and a critical mass of coursework so students don’t have to wait multiple terms to enroll,” said Robert Neely, the vice chancellor of academic review who is leading the multi-year, systemwide review of academic offerings.

At the University of Southern Maine, there are only two programs under review – the bachelor’s program in Women and Gender Studies and the master’s program called Master of Laws, which is a 24-unit program primarily tailored for international students who worked in the legal system of their home countries.

“I am not anticipating program closures at USM as a result of this review,” Provost Jeannine Uzzi said Friday, noting that while there are not many Women and Gender Studies graduates, the program generates “a lot of tuition revenue” because students in other programs take the courses.

Read more: https://www.pressherald.com/2019/01/28/university-officials-reviewing-dozens-of-underenrolled-academic-programs/

Former Maine couple that ran wheelchair van companies sentenced for MaineCare fraud

A former Freeport couple that ran wheelchair van companies that transported clients with disabilities was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland for fraudulently billing MaineCare and filing false tax returns.

Robert Zuschlag, 60, and Kristen Zuschlag, 55, of Elijah, Georgia, were ordered to pay $302,000 in restitution to MaineCare and $93,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced Robert Zuschlag to 30 months in federal prison and his wife to three years of probation. He will begin serving his sentence in mid-April. The couple remains free on bail.

They were indicted in 2017 on 17 counts each of charges related to the fraudulent billing, false tax returns and false statements.

Read more: https://bangordailynews.com/2019/01/26/news/midcoast/former-maine-couple-that-ran-wheelchair-van-companies-sentenced-for-mainecare-fraud/

Wave of political discord washes over typically calm Ogunquit

OGUNQUIT — After a busy summer of hosting guests at his bed and breakfast, Rick Barber looks forward to the quiet off-season in Ogunquit. With the beaches empty and most businesses closed, it’s a more social time for year-round residents.

“You don’t have as much going on, so you have time to check in on other people and spend more time with each other,” Barber said. “It’s much calmer. Sometimes it feels like a much friendlier town.”

But this off-season is different.

For the past three months, the smallest town in York County has been gripped by a debate over the future of three of its Select Board members, who could be removed from office following Ogunquit’s first recall election. The campaign to recall board members Charles “Bunky” Waite III, Madeline Mooney and Robert Winn Jr. began after the town’s fire chief was fired and grew in intensity as a citizens group lodged a litany of complaints and allegations against the elected officials they want to oust from office.

That tension spilled over this month during a contentious hearing on the validity of signatures on recall petitions and is likely to continue as the town gears up for the recall election, which is anticipated to happen in late March or early April.

Read more: https://www.centralmaine.com/2019/01/27/wave-of-political-discord-washes-over-maine-beach-town/

Mills Rejects LePage-Era Waiver That Would Allow Work Requirements For Medicaid Recipients

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has rejected a federal government waiver that would have allowed Maine to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients.

The LePage administration applied for the waiver, which was approved in December.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Mills said the waiver would likely cause people to lose insurance without increasing participation in the workforce, given Maine’s low unemployment rate, dispersed population and low per-capita income.

Instead of implementing the work requirement, Mills says, the state will increase efforts to make workforce training available to those who receive Medicaid.

(no more at link)

'Poor People's Campaign' To Target Maine Policies That Foster Economic Inequality

Among the nearly 700 people attending the 38th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration in Portland Monday night were supporters of the Maine chapter of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King 50 years after he called for a "non-violent army of the poor" to demand economic and racial justice, activists across the country are following in King's footsteps.

In Maine, campaign organizers Marcella Mackinnon and Heather Zimmerman told the crowd theirs is a long-term movement to deepen the leadership of the most affected by affecting policies and elections. And they recited a list of examples of inequality specific to the state.

"Over 40 percent of black residents in Maine live in poverty. That is one of the highest levels of black poverty in the country,” Mackinnon said.

“Even with Maine's new, increased minimum wage of $11 an hour, it would take approximately 68 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment,” Zimmerman added.

Read more: http://www.mainepublic.org/post/poor-peoples-campaign-target-maine-policies-foster-economic-inequality

Democratic Leaders In Maine Vow To Preserve Abortion Access If Federal Restrictions Imposed

Maine Democratic legislative leaders joined with Gov. Janet Mills and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Augusta Tuesday to mark the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Lawmakers reiterated their commitment to protecting access to abortions.

“In many ways it strikes me as odd that we’re still having this conversation. Still fighting to protect our right to quality, affordable health care, including reproductive health care,” says state Assistant Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli.

House Speaker Sara Gideon says she'll work with lawmakers to ensure the state has a backstop against any federal actions that restrict access to abortions.

"We will make sure that the funding is here if it goes away from the federal level," Gideon said. "We will make sure that protections are here if they go away from the federal level."

Read more: http://www.mainepublic.org/post/democratic-leaders-maine-vow-preserve-abortion-access-if-federal-restrictions-imposed

Bill Seek To Limit Influence Of Lobbyists, Use Of Funds

A Maine lawmaker is proposing to limit the influence of lobbyists, restrict when former lawmakers can start lobbying and ban the use of political funds for personal profit.

The bills sponsored by Democratic Sen. Justin Chenette are set for public hearings Wednesday and Feb. 6 at the Maine Statehouse.

The Associated Press's review of state campaign finance reports shows individuals identifying as lobbyists gave at least $25,000 to legislative candidates and political action committees run by lawmakers last year. Maine's biggest lobbying firms gave over $47,000.

Advocacy group Maine Citizens for Clean Elections found lawyers and lobbyists gave roughly $145,000 to political action committees run by lawmakers in the 2016 cycle.

Read more: http://www.mainepublic.org/post/bill-seek-limit-influence-lobbyists-use-funds
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