Mal Leary

Managing Editor and Director of the Maine Capitol Connection

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads the Maine Capitol Connection project and serves as the Managing Editor and Director of the initiative.

Mal Leary has been a journalist throughout his life, working in both Washington D.C. and in Maine as both a reporter and editor. He has won numerous awards for his reporting, both in broadcast and in print and currently reports on state government issues in Maine on radio throughout the state and in several state newspapers. He owned and operated Capitol News Service, which was located in the State House complex.

Mal has been a long time member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition and is a director of NFOIC. Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

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VARIETY Act
5:25 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Mass. Healthy Food Pilot Program Catches Maine Delegation's Attention

WASHINGTON - Sometimes you have to wonder about the bill titles they think up in Washington:  How about the VARIETY Act?  That’s the "Vegetables Are Really Important Eating Tools For You Act."  But there is an interesting policy proposal behind the awkward title.

What’s behind the bill is the attempt to convince those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - known as SNAP for short, and otherwise known as food stamps - to eat more healthy foods.  It offers an incentive to do that by giving recipients more benefits each month.

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Net neutrality
5:06 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Maine Congressional Delegates Wary of FCC Internet Proposal

A proposal before the Federal Communications Commission that would allow Internet providers to set different prices for access has members of Maine's congressional delegation concerned. But that concern may not translate into support for legislation to override a decision by the FCC.

 

So many Americans are concerned about possible changes to the Internet that more than a million comments have been filed with the FCC, crashing the agency’s Web site in July, and leading to a deadline extension now set for Sept. 15.

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Pay Dispute
5:35 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Maine Gov Clashes With Attorney General Over Pay Increases, AG's Role

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills just don't see eye-to-eye on the role of the AG's office in representing the governor and other parts of the executive branch of government.  The dispute has become quite vocal, as both Mills and LePage seem willing to make their feelings known.

 

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Agriculture celebration
1:28 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Annual Maine Farm Days Celebration Underway

Gov. Paul LePage, right, and state Agriculture Commissioner Walter Whitcomb, center, talk with a consitutent at the annual Maine Farm Days celebration in Clinton.
Credit Mal Leary / MPBN

Hundreds of farmers, their families and agri-businesses have taken over the Misty Meadows Farm in Clinton for the annual Maine Farm Days celebration.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, a dairy farmer,  said it’s a celebration of Maine agriculture.

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Corrections Funding
5:42 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Rising Jail Costs Prompt Maine Corrections Board to Seek More Funding

AUGUSTA, Maine - The State Board of Corrections has voted unanimously to ask lawmakers in January for an additional $2 million, as the state’s county jails continue to face budget problems from higher-than-projected costs and more inmates than estimated.

 

For weeks, the Board of Corrections and its staff have been hearing from county officials about the budget problems facing the jails. They got a supplemental appropriation to get through the budget year that ended June 30, but higher costs of operation, driven by more inmates are continuing in the new budget year.

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Casino study
5:14 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Maine Studying New Casino Possibilities

A view inside the Oxford Casino in Oxford.
Credit Susan Sharon / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Members of the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee meet next month to receive the results of a consultant’s study on the feasibility of locating one or more additional casinos in the state, as well as where they should be located. Lawmakers are optimistic about this study, unlike one last year that accomplished nothing.

 

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State revenues
12:49 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

State Revenues Up in July in Maine

The state collected $8 million more in revenues for the first month of the state budget year. All three of the top tax sources beat expectations in July, said state Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen.

"The personal income tax doing well, corporate income tax collections doing well," Rosen said.  “The sales tax, for the first time in the last few months, is showing a modest improvement over what was projected."

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Constitutional Coalition
4:23 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

New Group Aims to Become Maine's Constitutional Watchdog

Wayne Leach of the newly-formed group We the People of Maine talks about the initiative at a State House news conference.
Credit Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Members of the Constitutional Coalition of Maine have formed a new group called We The People of Maine.  Phil Merletti, one of the organizers, says the group aims to act as a watchdog over government at all levels in Maine.

"As far as we know, no one has ever organized a constitutional corporation based on the premises that, from this day forward, every action in the state of Maine will be scrutinized and compared to the national and Maine Constitutions," Merletti said today at an Augusta news conference.

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GPS regulation proposal
4:42 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

GPS Regulation Proposal Divides Maine Congressional Delegation

A built-in GPS device in a Toyota Prius.
Credit Tom Porter / MPBN

WASHINGTON - As part of the proposed budget for the Department of Transportation, the Obama administration is asking for authority to regulate use of GPS devices in vehicles to improve public safety. Members of Maine’s congressional delegation give the proposal mixed reviews.

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E-cigarettes
4:16 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Maine Attorney General Reviewing State's E-Cigarette Laws

The first generation of so-called e-cigarettes.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

AUGUSTA, Maine - Some call them e-cigarettes, others call them personal vaporizers. But whatever you call them, use of the devices is growing, and that has prompted Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to review state laws covering their use. Mills is meeting with health advocates and others over the summer to look at possible changes to state law.

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