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WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill, Maine Local News and Public Affairs Archives

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

    The House of Representatives voted today in support of legislation that would convert the Maine Legislature to a unicameral– or “one house” system, in order to cut state government and spending.
    LD804, sponsored by Representative Linda Valentine, a democrat of Saco, would amend the state constitution and so it requires support of 2/3 of the House and Senate, then it would be put to the voters. Today we listen in on excerpts of this morning’s legislative debate over the bill:

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Continuing our coverage of yesterday’s work session on LD 1534, “An Act To Reform the Land Use and Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territories” which eliminates the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, effective July 15, 2012. This bill as it is currently worded also establishes a “Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory Transition Advisory Board” to advise the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on matters relating to the transfer of authority over land use planning in the unorganized territory to the counties in which the land is located. The board is required to render its advice to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry by December 2, 2011. The board is dissolved July 15, 2012. At that point the counties would presumably take over the responsibilities now handled by LURC, though many at the public hearing expressed serious concerns about their ability to do so.
    The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC or the Commission) was created by the Maine Legislature in 1971 to serve as the planning and zoning authority for the state’s townships, plantations and unorganized areas. LURC’s jurisdiction stretches over half the state, encompassing more than 10.4 million acres and the largest contiguous undeveloped area in the Northeast.

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Today we continue our coverage of yesterday’s public hearing, before the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on 2 pieces of pending legislation.
    LD 819, pponsored by Representative Jeff McCabe, is an Emergency Resolve that would make changes to the way Maine’s Land Use Regulatory Committee– or LURC– operates. LD 1534, sponsored by Representative Jeffery Gifford, would abolish LURC completely, turning their planning and zoning authority for the state’s unorganized territories (you’ll hear them referred to here as “UT”s), over to the counties. 2 other pieces of proposed legislation concerning LURC were pulled from consideration by their sponsors yesterday.
    Yesterday on the WERU News Report we heard mostly from supporters of LD1534, the bill that would abolish LURC. Today we hear some other points of view:

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    The Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is hearing testimony, as we go to air today, on bills that would revise — or even abolish– Maine’s Land Use Regulatory Commission, also known as LURC. LURC was created by the Maine Legislature in 1971 to serve as the planning and zoning authority for the state’s and unorganized territories– or, as you’ll hear them referred to today, UT’s

    LD 1534 An Act To Reform the Land Use and Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territories, Sponsored by Representative Jeffery Gifford, would abolish LURC, effective in 2012, transferring authority for land use planning over to the counties.
    and LD 819 Resolve, To Improve the Predictability of Land Use Regulation in the Unorganized Territories, (Emergency) Sponsored by Representative Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan which would require some changes in the way LURC operates.
    Today we’re going to hear testimony from those in FAVOR of the proposed legislation, in particular LD 1534, the bill that would abolish LURC. Tomorrow we’ll bring you testimony from opponents, which is still taking place today at air time:

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    The Maine State Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a public hearing, and then immediately followed with a work session yesterday, on LD1453, “An Act To Legalize and Tax Marijuana”, sponsored by Representative Diane Russell, Democrat of Portland. Today we’re joining the public hearing as the committee questions Representative Russell about the ramifications of the bill:

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    The Maine legislature took up the controversial issue of school vouchers yesterday, in a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs. LD 250 “An Act To Permit Tuition Subsidies by Municipalities” would allow municipalities to give subsidies from their general funds to parents to reimburse them for part or all of the tuition the parents paid to private schools that are precluded from receiving tuition funding from the State– including religious schools.
    Supporters of the bill cite a recent situation on Swans Island, in which the town reportedly chose to allocate municipal funds for parents who wanted their children to attend private, religious schools, but the plan was overturned when it was determined to be in violation of state law. Opponents of the law have concerns about violations of separation of church and state, and about taxpayer dollars being used to fund un-regulated schools. Today we’ll hear some of the testimony from both sides at yesterday’s public hearing. Senator Brian D. Langley, Republican of Hancock County, the Comittee Co Chair, facilitated

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  • Producers/Hosts: Meredith DeFrancesco & Amy Browne

    Maine bans BPA (bisphenol-A) and an update on LD 1

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Topic: LD 879 “An Act To Ensure Adequate Landfill Capacity in the State for Solid Waste” — allowing the expansion of the Norridgewock dump. The legislation would undo protections put in place after that dump collapsed in a landslide in the late 80s.

    The Natural Resources Committee of the Maine State Legislature is holding public hearings this afternoon on several pieces of legislation related to waste disposal in Maine, including LD 879, “An Act To Ensure Adequate Landfill Capacity in the State for Solid Waste” — which activists have called “the bill that just won’t die”. Here to explain why, is Hillary Lister, an environmental activist from central Maine who has spent years researching and working on waste disposal issues in Maine.

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