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Why the prison warden got fired

Corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte told the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee on January 16 that, because of state personnel law, he couldn't publicly say — until severance negotiations are finished — why he had fired, six days earlier, Maine
Getting Answers
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 25, 2013

Gangs study killed

On February 9 the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, which had already informally decided against LD 1707, the bill that would have created severe penalties for people associated with criminal street gangs, killed a substitute proposal for a study
Lawmaker Apology
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 17, 2012
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Democrats celebrate victory in the face of defeat

Senator Dawn Hill, of Cape Neddick, the lead Democrat on the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, which fashioned the recently passed $6-billion state budget, explained to the Phoenix why she voted to reduce income and estate taxes on the rich whi
They cozy up to Republicans and the rich
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 01, 2011

Corporate prison bill 'carried over'

Although LD 690, A BILL TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR "EXILED" PRISONERS TO RETURN TO MAINE , was killed May 6 by the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, political activist Ron Huber, who had pushed it, declared "victory in Augusta" on his Facebook page.
Inmate Exile Dept.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 13, 2011
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Lock-up lessons

Fixing Maine’s troubled prisons is not an impossible task. In fact, if the state treated adult inmates more along the lines of how it treats juvenile offenders, prison critics — including, surprisingly, the new corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte — t
The new corrections commissioner wants Maine prisons to learn from the state’s juvenile-treatment model
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 08, 2011
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Reefer medness

In the five years since the General Assembly approved Rhode Island's medical marijuana law, licensed smokers have operated in a sort of smoke-filled netherworld.
For five years, Rhode Island's medical marijuana movement has been a grassroots affair. For better or worse, it's about to go mainstream
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  February 11, 2011


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At a turning point

When Joseph Ponte was told that Maine's longtime corrections commissioner Martin Magnusson had once informed the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, after a dramatic hostage-taking, that there were "probably 300 inmates right now with a weapon in
LePage's nominee to head Corrections has the skills to fix Maine's broken prison system. Will the governor and lawmakers give Joseph Ponte the tools?
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 11, 2011

Little things

In the midst of the new Republican majority's mania to reduce the size and cost of state government, I offer some advice and a warning.
On shrinking legislatures
By AL DIAMON  |  January 14, 2011
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Seeking the State House

Candidates for the Maine Legislature aren't always brief in their answers. Read expanded responses at thephoenix.com/abouttown. Phoenix-endorsed candidates have asterisks next to their names.
Comparing candidates for the Maine Legislature
By PORTLAND PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 29, 2010

Less of you

When the Legislature gets reformed, things get worse.
Reform is a bad idea
By AL DIAMON  |  August 20, 2010

Election season


The League of Young Voters is soliciting questions for Maine's gubernatorial candidates, to be asked at a forum on Wednesday, April 14th, from 7-9 pm,...
By Deirdre Fulton  |  April 05, 2010


21st century breakdown

The office of Maine's secretary of state has been around since we split from Massachusetts in 1820.
Ne'er has there been a sweeter gig than being secretary
By AL DIAMON  |  January 08, 2010
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Missing in action

Good-government advocates often breathe a sigh of relief when the legislature quits Beacon Hill.
The legislature vacations while crisis looms
By EDITORIAL  |  December 11, 2009

Maine lawmakers push post-partisanship -- in DC


It will be no surprise that the Democrats and Republicans in the Maine Legislature can agree on one thing, and one thing only - that...
By Jeff Inglis  |  January 13, 2009
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Hey guv: stop slashing!

It seems as if there’s no light at the end of the state’s gloomy fiscal tunnel.
State budget cuts just make the recession worse
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 31, 2008