mont blanc place If there’s sexual harassment in the Maine Legislature
Good morning from Augusta. Sen. Al Franken, D Minnesota was hit with a sexual misconduct allegation on Thursday as Senate Republicans abandon Roy Moore, their Alabama candidate, over alleged relationships with underage girls.
The week’s discouraging news led us to turn our gaze inward to the Maine Legislature, where we didn’t find much officially.
There are no formal allegations of sexual harassment on record with presiding officers and the Legislature’s human resources office. Spokespeople for Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R Winterport, and House Speaker Sara Gideon, D Freeport, said they haven’t received formal complaints of sexual harassment since taking those positions. Thibodeau has led his chamber since 2014 and Gideon has led hers for less than a year. Grant Pennoyer, the executive director of the Legislative Council, said his office’s HR director wasn’t aware of any cases reported to her office in her four year tenure.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission estimates that up to 85 percent of women have experienced behavior amounting to sexual harassment in the workplace. senators treaded lightly on the Franken news on Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R Kentucky, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D New York, called for an ethics investigation into Franken as did Franken himself. Sen. Angus King, I Maine, tweeted that what Franken did was “wrong” and endorsed the probe. Sen. Susan Collins, R Maine, said in a statement that the reports are “disturbing” and Franken’s apology “warranted,” but she didn’t address questions about the probe or if Franken should resign. Your name will never be published without your consent.
Two gubernatorial candidates have donated to each other’s campaigns
They’re trying to make a point. Independent Terry Hayes of Buckfield and Democrat Betsy Sweet of Hallowell are both running for governor with funding from the Maine Clean Elections Fund, which is supported by taxpayers. They think others should, too.
In a news release on Thursday, Sweet and Hayes said privately financed candidates are too beholden to wealthy donors or lobbyists. Clean election candidates have their campaigns funded with public money but must collect 3,200 “qualifying contributions” of $5 each,
which is a high bar for most candidates. It’s a little less difficult for these two, who say they gave each other $5 this week. Here’s their soundtrack.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap does not seem content to serve as a token Democrat on President Donald Trump’s voter fraud investigation commission. On Thursday Dunlap, who previously filed a lawsuit for access to commission documents, asked a federal court for an injunction that would force the commission to share the documents, as well as meeting materials that its leaders have refused to give him. Dunlap has twice denied the commission’s request for some elements of Maine’s voter fraud data and has criticized the panel’s vice chairman and front man, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, for alleging that voter fraud occurred in New Hampshire. Here is Dunlap’s soundtrack. House passed a Republican tax plan on Thursday. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, of Maine’s 2nd District. House member, Democrat Chellie Pingree, opposed the plan, calling it a gift to wealthy Americans that would cause immediate and long term harm to the middle class. Republican efforts to change the tax code now shift to the Senate, where as is almost always the case Republican Susan Collins of Maine will play a pivotal role in determining its fate.
An immigrant family from Portland has asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to grant them access to food stamps. The family is cleared to work in Maine but has not yet found work and has appealed the state’s denial of access to food stamps to the state’s highest court. The Legislature has not approved funding for people in these circumstances for two years and the suit seeks to force that.
The Maine Department of Education is having problems handling data. Since the department ended a contract with a vendor that was running its online “Data Warehouse” during the 2015 2016 school year, the department is “kind of in a limbo state,” an official told the BDN. Among issues that have cropped up is the system saying 18,000 new teachers and administrators were hired in 2015. They weren’t.
It looks like that mill fire in Lincoln was arson. Yesterday, officials were talking about a firm working on the site as a possible cause of the blaze that destroyed parts of the former Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC. Later in the day, they arrested a Lincoln man and charged him with three counts of arson.
Here’s a great way to ring in the holidays
Every year, the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia gives a huge Christmas tree to the City of Boston to signal appreciation of that city’s humanitarian assistance after a terrible 1917 (that’s exactly 100 years ago, if you do the math) maritime disaster. The SS Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship full of bomb materials, collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in Halifax Harbor, triggering an explosion that caused more than 2,000 deaths and 9,
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd and edited by Robert Long.