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Audio archives of spoken word broadcasts from Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill (weru.org)

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Segment 1: Maine’s highest court asked to weigh in on constitutionality of ranked choice voting. After several years of having a Governor that was elected with less than 50% of the vote, Mainers approved Ranked Choice Voting in November, but some legislators and the Maine Attorney General have called into question it’s constitutionality– primarily because the state constitution specifically mentions “plurality” as opposed to “majority”. Last week the state senate voted 24 to 10 in favor of asking the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to weigh in, in a process known as a “solemn occasion”. The move was proposed by Senate President Mike Thibodeau. In the first half of Maine Currents today, we listen in on the debate that ensued.

    Segment 2: On Monday the legislature’s Environmental and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing on LD103, “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers”. The containers the bill seeks to ban are polystyrene, commonly referred to by the brand name “Styrofoam”. This type of packaging has been banned in some municipalities across the state, including Freeport and more recently Portland and South Portland. Supporters of the ban cite environmental and health concerns and they say there are Maine-based paper companies that make an alternative product for hot foods and beverages. Lobbyists for the restaurant and grocery store industries downplay environmental impacts, question the health impacts, and say (in the words of Greg Dugle of the Maine Restaurant Association) that “simply put, [polystyrene] keeps hot food hot and cold food cold” better than any other product.
    LD103 was presented by Stanley Zeigler who represents several towns in Waldo County. Representative Zeigler said he was presenting it as a jobs bill, citing industries in Maine that could make the replacement packaging, and also the negative impact of polystyrene pollution on the environment, fisheries and tourism. Representative Deane Rykerson of Kittery spoke in support. Mark Bergeron of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, however, spoke in opposition. He said Maine DEP found some of the terminology in the bill regarding recycling and composting to be problematic. He also said that the department has concerns that they lack the resources to enforce the ban if it becomes law. Today we bring you some of the testimony in favor of, and in opposition to LD103. (A work session on the bill is scheduled for 2/13/17)

    FMI: legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280062594

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: John Greenman

    Segment 1: Work sessions are got underway in Augusta this week for the Environment and Natural Resources Committee to sort through the details of proposals to rewrite Maine’s mining regulations. Monday the committee considered strategies for assuring that the state won’t be left paying for the clean up if something goes wrong at a mining site. For a sense of what some of the environmentalists following this issue think about the proposals being discussed, in our 1st segment today we’ll hear what Nick Bennett, Staff Scientist and Watersheds Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine had to say

    Segment 2: The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held public hearings for a slew of bills related to gun owner’s rights are underway in Augusta this afternoon, including LD 652 An Act To Authorize the Carrying of Concealed Handguns without a Permit, also known as the “Constitutional Carry” bill. Sponsor Sen. Brakey of Androscoggin presented it to the committee:

    Segment 3: Open phone lines for listener reactions to today’s news, and an update on Mumia Abu Jamal’s health crisis from a concerned area resident.

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer/Reporter: John Greenman

    Interactive news report covering issues with a local connection and taking calls. Today: Marking the 5th anniversary of “Citizens United” by talking with Jan Carpenter of “We The People Maine” and State Representative Ralph Chapman, about the progress of efforts to overturn that Supreme Court decision —which equated money with free speech and corporations with people. And the latest potential threat to Searsport Harbor may come from a company that’s run into a lot of trouble with their operations in New Hampshire. We’ve got Searsport resident Peter Taber with us to talk about that. John Greenman has news from last night’s wind power moratorium vote in Orland. Also a call Oamshri Amarasingham of the ACLU Maine, about the Coalition for Maine Women the Maine Choice Coalition announcement of their legislative priorities at a State House press conference today. AND we’re going to be opening the phone lines for your calls because this is INTERACTIVE news.

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  • Producer/Host: Ron Beard, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
    Studio Engineer: Amy Browne

    Issue: Community concerns and opportunities

    Program Topic: Maine Legislative Action: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

    Key Discussion Points :

    • Each guest provides background on themselves, what motivated them to serve in the Legislature, what committees they serve on…
    • What were the highlights of the first session of the 126th Legislature for you, coming primarily from your committee work?
    • Beyond work on bills you sponsored or those your committee took up, what were the main accomplishments of the 2013 session?
    • What were the main challenges for you and your legislative colleagues?
    • Talk about your approach to being a legislator… what is the balance, for you, in pursuing what your constituents are interested in, what makes sense to you as a citizen-policymaker, and how you are guided by your party?
    • What are the most effective ways for citizens to make their views known, both to you as individual legislators, and to the legislative leadership?
    • Looking ahead… what are the major issues/bills that your committee will be looking at in the upcoming session?
    • What are some of the other issues/challenges/opportunities that you expect to see in 2014?
    • What have you found to be the most satisfying part of your role as legislator and your hopes for the year ahead

    Guests:
    State Representative Brian Hubbell, Bar Harbor
    State Representative Walter Kumiega Deer
    State Representative Richard Malaby, Hancock

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne
    Audio contributed by: John Greenman
    Issue: Alternative, Independent Local News
    Program Topics:
    Maine’s Legislative Session is winding down, and as law makers prepare to recess there are several pieces of important legislation that are moving quickly through the process, sometimes with changes that the public may not be aware of. One instance is the latest version of a worker’s comp bill that has raised concerns among worker’s rights advocates who held a press conference in Bangor on Monday. (FMI: www.foodandmedicine.org) Updates on other legislative action today, and an interview w/ Judy Berk, Natural Resources Council of Maine, re: the Maine mining bill and “takings” legislation (FMI: www.nrcm.org)

    Key Discussion Points:
    Worker’s Comp legislation
    Other legislation voted on today
    Mining bill update
    “Takings” legislation

    Guests:

    Speakers recorded at a press conference re: Worker’s Comp legislation: Jack McKay, Director of Food AND Medicine; Rev. Mark Doty, Mark Richards, Dean Harding, Loren Snow

    Interview with Judy Berk, Communications Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine

    Call In Program: No

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  • Issue: Alternative Local News
    Program Name: WERU News Report
    Broadcast Date:1/10/12
    Broadcast Time: 4pm

    Program Topic: Maine Legislature Watch

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Updates on the DHHS supplemental budget and other legislation being monitored by the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP)
    b) Follow up re: the proposed renaming/restructuring of the Department of Environmental Protection and the recommendations of the LURC Reform Committee with Natural Resources Council of Maine
    c) Audio from today’s work session discussion re: legislation to make the Governor’s “working paper” exempt from Freedom of Access requests

    Guests by name and affiliation:
    A) Dan Coyne, Legislative Director for Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) FMI: www.mecep.org/
    B) Pete Didisheim, Senior Director of Advocacy for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). FMI: www.nrcm.org

    Call In Program: No
    Political Broadcast: No

    Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: Amy Browne

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Today the state House of Representatives considered a possible funding option for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, one of the many cash-strapped agencies within the state government.
    LD 563, a “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Use a Portion of the Sales and Use Tax for the Protection of Maine’s Fish and Wildlife” would allocate 0.125% of revenues raised by means of the Sales and Use Tax Law to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for the sole purpose of protecting the State’s fish and wildlife resources.
    Here’s how the vote went today in Augusta:

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    As we go to air today, the Maine House of Representatives is debating a cell phone warning label bill. It came out of committee with a “ought not to pass” vote, but so far testimony has been leaning AGAINST accepting that majority report. We join the floor debate in progress:

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