Year In Review: Top 15 Maine Examiner Stories of 2019

Governor Janet Mills, flanked by four lawmakers whose actions were part of top stories at Maine Examiner in 2019.

From providing news, information and insights that had been left out of the coverage of the mainstream media, to breaking news that would eventually be picked up across other Maine media outlets, 2019 was a banner year for Maine Examiner.

Below are the top fifteen stories of the year from the Maine Examiner archives of 2019.

#15 Insurance mandate for gun owners? Maine could be first under new proposal

A proposal to require gun owners to purchase liability insurance was under consideration before the Maine Legislature’s Legislative Council.

#14 Two gas tax increases, new toll booths across Maine could drive up costs for drivers in 2020

Maine faces the combination of both a new regional gas tax and a state level gas tax increase with a blue ribbon commission also considering new toll booths across Maine’s highway system.

#13 Founding of America was a “hate crime” says Maine State Representative

The comment was made during an interview with Maine Public by a sitting State Representative from Portland, Maine. The interviewer didn’t follow up to learn more about why the Representative thought that.

#12 Democrat bill would make Maine a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants

Brought forward by a Representative from Winthrop, the bill would have established “Sanctuary State” policies in Maine.

#11 Janet Mills paid to track where you drive, ride & walk – now her climate group can get the data

Video from Janet Mills’ Climate Council showed Maine DOT officials offering the members of the group the tracking data from a program Governor Mills entered Maine into in the spring of 2019. That program tracks Mainers with their GPS and phones when they drive, ride a bicycle or walk.

#10 Gov. Mills: Maine will spend $2.55 million helping 900 people buy electric cars

Cheered by environmentalists and jeered by skeptics, the news drew heavy website traffic, and criticism.

#9 Gov. Janet Mills won’t allow nursing home funding bill to pass

The news sent a shockwave through Augusta and Maine’s nursing home community, where many nursing homes were facing tremendous financial pressure just to continue operations.

#8 Bill would relax heroin, fentanyl and cocaine trafficking laws in Maine

The proposal would have legalized possession of enough fentanyl to kill over 1,700 people. The bill’s sponsor eventually testified on the bill, admitting the danger of the quantify of drugs she had proposed legalizing.

#7 Maine Legislature: Expand abortions for minors without parental consent, but ban tanning beds for them

In one of the strangest juxtapositions of the year, majority Democrats in the Maine Legislature pushed through a bill to expand abortions for minors without parental consent and another to outlaw minors using tanning beds, even with a prescription. Governor Janet Mills was supportive of both proposals.

#6 Gov. Mills working on deal that will raise gas prices, Mainers need to speak out, says group

Just as the regional Transportation & Climate Initiative process was getting underway and looking at raising the gas tax, Maine People Before Politics called on Mainers to submit their feedback to TCI. For many readers, this was the first they had ever heard of the regional gas tax effort.

#5 Maine Rep. justifies gun control laws because seeing man with hand in pocket scared her

A Maine State Representative testified before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee that Maine should pass gun control laws because seeing a man with his hand in his pocket enter her children’s school was terrifying.

#4 Maine welfare for non-citizens bill approved by committee, big price tag revealed

The bill to give non-citizens welfare benefits was approved by committee with a price tag of $14 million. The bill would pass the House and not the Senate, effectively dying between chambers. But Governor Janet Mills would take emergency action through DHHS rulemaking power to provide some benefits anyway.

#3 Maine would see 40 cent per gallon increase in gas & heating oil with carbon tax

The proposal, put forward by State Rep. Deane Rykerson with the support of Speaker Sara Gideon, would have imposed a heavy tax on home heating oil and gasoline. It sparked a revolt among taxpayers before being turned into a “study” for future consideration.

#2 New gun ban proposal coming to Maine Legislature in 2020

The proposal would have effectively banned “assault style weapons”, terminology so vague it could have been applied to many commonly owned firearms. The proposal was put forward by Rep. Victoria Morales, who earlier in the year pushed for gun control laws because seeing a man with his hand in his pocket scared her. The bill was voted down by the Legislature’s Legislative Council after public opposition.

#1 Maine tops ‘safest states’ rankings four years after removing major gun restriction

It is fitting that an article about the beautiful and super safe state of Maine would top our 2019 list. Mainers seemed to ignore the apocalyptic predictions of gun control advocates who predicted an increase in gun violence when we repealed a law requiring a government permit to carry a concealed weapon. Four years after the law passed, Mainers found our state atop the safest state rankings.

Mainers carrying guns without needing government permission, it turns out, didn’t seem to increase violence at all.

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