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Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
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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

Vermont House votes to expand temporary housing for kids, pregnancy

The Vermont House of Representatives has voted to allow all pregnant women and families with children to access temporary housing.

Under current rules, eligible pregnant women in their third trimester and families with children younger than six qualify for up to 28 days of housing as "vulnerable" people. Families with older children may also qualify under a point-based system.

"I dare anybody to explain to me how that makes sense," said Rep. George Till, D-Jericho, who sponsored a successful budget amendment in the House on Friday that would expand the rules to include women at any stage of pregnancy and any minor children.

The change attempts to protect vulnerable Vermonters while the House makes another change in housing policy.

Read more: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/31/vermont-house-budget-emergency-housing-pregnant-women-kids/99863526/

Bill creates manslaughter charge for drug dealers when a death occurs

AUGUSTA – Lawmakers on Friday got their first look at a bill that would create a new manslaughter charge for drug dealers who provide illegal drugs that result in a death.

The charge could lead a Class A felony conviction, the state’s highest level of crime, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Sen. Scott Cyrway, R-Benton, the bill’s sponsor, offered a passionate pitch for the change, at one point choking up and pausing as he emphasized how extensive Maine’s ongoing opioid crisis has been, and noting it was likely every person in the room had been impacted by at least one overdose death, if not more.

The move comes as Maine’s overdose deaths climbed for the fifth straight year in 2016, soaring nearly 40 percent to claim a record 378 people. Opioid drugs, especially fentanyl and heroin, caused most of the deaths, according to figures released Thursday by the state Attorney General’s Office. The 378 fatalities surpassed the previous record of 272 set in 2015.

Read more: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/03/31/bill-creates-manslaughter-charge-for-drug-dealers-when-a-death-occurs/

Gov. Paul LePage vetoes Jared Golden's bill to help veterans get IDs

AUGUSTA — A Lewiston Democrat who tried to help provide identification cards to veterans who need them to access federal health care facilities said Thursday he is disappointed and insulted that Gov. Paul LePage vetoed his bill.

Assistant House Majority Leader Rep. Jared Golden said the governor has been calling on the Legislature to resolve the problem for about 500 southern Maine veterans who lacked a required identification card.

“Now, when the Legislature sends him a solution, he vetoes it,” Golden said. The governor's repeated expressions of concern about these veterans are not reflected in his decision to veto this bill. It's clear that for the governor these 500 veterans are nothing more than political tools, Golden said.

LePage defended his decision to veto the measure.

“Though I agree with the sentiment to help veterans seeking medical care, we cannot forget all the other groups that have experienced problems” due to the lack of federal Real IDs in Maine, LePage said.

Read more: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2017/03/30/gov-paul-lepage-vetoes-jared-goldens-bill-help-veterans-get-ids/2103449

Legislative committee to consider domestic violence bills

AUGUSTA (AP) — Legislators are set to present bills addressing domestic violence in the state.

A state panel found that half of Maine's 46 homicides from 2014 to 2015 stemmed from domestic violence. A number of domestic violence bills are scheduled for public hearing before the Legislature's criminal justice and public safety committee Friday.

Two bills call for more attention to certified batterer's intervention programs that aim to help offenders change their behavior, beliefs and attitudes.

Republican Sen. Kim Rosen is sponsoring a bill that would require a court to provide justification when it doesn't order participation in a batterer's intervention program for certain crimes.

Read more: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/2017/03/31/legislative-committee-consider-domestic-violence-bills/2103997

Ex-employee admits to stealing over $91K from South Portland Housing Authority

A Gorham woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $91,000 from the South Portland Housing Authority.

Jamie Hussey, 35, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to committing federal program fraud, said acting U.S. Attorney Richard W. Murphy in a news release.

Citing court records, Murphy said that Hussey embezzled $91,577 from the housing authority from February 2014 to September 2016. Prosecutors said Hussey was the resident services coordinator for the authority’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program during that time. The program seeks employment for tenants to help families become economically independent.

Hussey diverted 48 checks issued in the names of program participants into her personal bank account, Murphy said. She faces as much as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She will be sentenced after the U.S. Probation Office completes a pre-sentence investigation.

Read more: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/03/30/ex-employee-admits-to-stealing-thousands-from-south-portland-housing-authority/

Rep. Donna Bailey's bill would give disabled free access to state parks

AUGUSTA — A legislator is proposing to give permanently disabled people free admission to Maine State Parks.

The proposal by Saco Democratic Rep. Donna Bailey would apply to people who have been determined to be permanently disabled by an official body such as the U.S. Social Security Administration or a workers' compensation board.

The access pass would also grant free entry to an adult accompanying the pass holder.

The proposal is up for a public hearing before the Committee of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on Thursday in Augusta.

Read more: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/maine/0001/11/30/rep-donna-baileys-bill-would-give-disabled-free-access-state-parks/2104125

Dozens of Maine Lawmakers May Have Failed to Disclose Changes in Income

Dozens of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers may have violated a law requiring them to update their public income disclosure when they or their spouse change jobs.

The memo from the Maine Ethics Commission to legislative leaders states that as many as 58 legislators may not have updated their income statements within 30 days of a significant change in income, employment or affiliation with a political committee or organization. The requirement is designed to inform the public about a legislator’s employment, which can then be checked against legislation they support and potential conflicts of interest.

The requirement is featured on the first page of the legislator’s income disclosure, but the ethics memo suggests that more than a third of the lawmakers who served last year didn’t follow it.

In apparent response to the memo, three Republican senators filed updated their income statements Wednesday.

Read more: http://mainepublic.org/post/memo-dozens-maine-lawmakers-may-have-failed-disclose-changes-income#stream/0

LePage Looks to Write Welfare Restrictions into State Law

Gov. Paul LePage has imposed a number of restrictions on welfare recipients through the rulemaking process. Now he’s pushing a proposal that would cement those reforms into law, making it more difficult for future governors to change them.

Work requirements, photos on electronic benefit cards, a ban on allowing repeat felony drug offenders to get food stamps — these are just a few of the rules that have been put into place by the LePage administration. And LePage says he wants them to stay in place after he leaves office.

“They can also be reversed by the next governor. That is why it is so important to make these commonsense reforms permanent in state law. We want Mainers to keep moving from poverty to prosperity long after I am gone,” he says.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew says the reforms embraced by the bill have been successful and should be continued in the future, regardless of who is serving as governor.

Read more: http://mainepublic.org/post/lepage-looks-write-welfare-restrictions-state-law#stream/0

Maine Ethics Commission Probing Casino Campaign's Finances

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Ethics Commission is looking into the finances of a controversial casino campaign backed by an offshore investment firm.

Ethics staff wants to ensure that all donors to the Horseracing Jobs Fairness campaign are complying with Maine's campaign disclosure laws.

According an email from ethics director Jonathan Wayne, the commission has asked the campaign to discuss its funding following a legislative hearing held Wednesday, during which Bridge Capital revealed that it's backing the York County casino initiative.

Bridge Capital is owned by casino developer Shawn Scott, yet neither the firm nor Scott appear on any of the campaign finance reports. To date, Scott's sister, Lisa Scott, of Miami, has contributed more than $4 million to the campaign.

Read more: http://mainepublic.org/post/maine-ethics-commission-probing-casino-campaigns-finances

American ladies take 4th, 7th, and 12th at 2017 World Figure Skating Championships

The good news is that the Americans will hold three spots for the Olympics along with Russia and Canada.

Rank Skater Country Short Program Long Program
1 Evgenia MEDVEDEVA RUS 233.41 1 1
2 Kaetlyn OSMOND CAN 218.13 2 2
3 Gabrielle DALEMAN CAN 213.52 3 3
4 Karen CHEN USA 199.29 5 6
5 Mai MIHARA JPN 197.88 15 4
6 Carolina KOSTNER ITA 196.83 8 5
7 Ashley WAGNER USA 193.54 7 10
8 Maria SOTSKOVA RUS 192.20 6 11
9 Elizabet TURSYNBAEVA KAZ191.99 10 8
10 Dabin CHOI KOR 191.11 11 7
11 Wakaba HIGUCHI JPN 188.05 9 12
12 Mariah BELL USA 187.23 13 9

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