Mal Leary

MPBN’s Political Correspondent

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads MPBN's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.

A lifelong journalist and Maine native, Mal has worked as both a reporter and editor in broadcast and in print, in both Washington, D.C. and in Maine. He has won numerous awards for his reporting on state government issues and politics.

For several years he owned and operated Capitol News Service, which was located in the State House complex providing news coverage to radio stations as well as newspapers.

Mal is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors and has long been an advocate for open government. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition based at the University Of Missouri Journalism School and is a Vice President of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

Ways to Connect

A proposal by the National Park Service to change its rules concerning naming rights in the parks is drawing fire from lawmakers – including members of Maine’s Congressional delegation.

Think of a big sign at the beginning of one of the carriage roads at Acadia proclaiming: “You are about to bike on the Coca Cola Carriage Road.” Or when you go to Jordan Pond at the park to grab a sandwich you see a sign that reads: “You are at the Verizon Jordan Pond House.” Far fetched? Many lawmakers don’t think so.

Maine’s prison system has had a tough time finding and keeping guards, with as many as three dozen officer positions unfilled at the Maine State Prison. A pay raise approved by the Legislature last year has helped the recruitment effort, but now the system faces a new challenge.

Guards had complained about long hours and low pay. And they told lawmakers that they could make better money as private security guards.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A move by some Republicans in the U.S. House to strip out language enforcing the decades-old law requiring clothing and shoes used by the military to be made in the U.S. was defeated 265 to 155.

Maine 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin sponsored the original language - part of the National Defense Authorization Act - which mirrors similar language in the Senate version of the bill, authored by Maine Sen. Angus King.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Sen. Angus King joined in a filibuster by Democratic Sen. Christopher Murphy, of Connecticut, to force consideration of legislation to block gun sales to likely terrorists. 

King, an independent, says he supports a proposal that would block sales to those on any of the government's watch lists and no-fly list.

King said the proposal is "not about taking guns away from people. We are talking about keeping people who shouldn't have them from getting guns.  And I have never met a gun owner who doesn't agree that is just a common-sense restriction."

State revenues were below estimates in May, under projections by about $8 million, but the state is still expected to end the budget year with a surplus.

One of the state’s biggest sources of money, the personal income tax, was more than $11 million off, but Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen says that was a timing issue and that money was made up in the first week of this month.

“Withholding was simply a timing issue between May and June and refunds for the month were running slightly above the projections. Sales tax continued to be strong,” he says.

In his weekly radio address, Gov. Paul LePage again said he wants to bring the Legislature into special session to address four issues from the recently completed session, but legislative leaders are baffled at LePage’s comments.

AUGUSTA, Maine - With nearly all the votes counted, Maine 1st District Republican primary candidate Ande Smith is only a few dozen votes behind rival Mark Holbrook, out of the nearly 21,000 votes cast in the race.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says that makes it one of the closest congressional primaries in recent state history, but says his office is ready for a recount should one be requested.

In his weekly radio address, Gov. Paul LePage has stepped up his criticism of the Legislature, warning that if they don’t change four measures they adopted he will take executive action.

LePage says a study of ambulance costs and a needle exchange program were not funded at all, with his administration being told to find the money within existing resources, and he says the funding sources for the county jails and pay raises at Riverview are improper.

Gov. Paul LePage and his administration are taking issue with the wording of a proposed ballot question designed to provide additional funding for local schools. They claim voters might be misled by the current wording and they want it changed.

Based on the language in the citizen initiative, the secretary of state has proposed that the question on the ballot read as follows: “Do you want to establish a fund to support kindergarten through 12th grade public education by adding a three percent surcharge on Maine taxable income above $200,000?”

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says she is supporting a narrow measure to block gun sales to those on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list. Collins says that has a tighter set of criteria than watch lists developed by other federal agencies.

"We have to make sure that the no-fly list is accurate, that there is due process so that someone can appeal if they are mistakenly on the list," Collins says. "But that is one link that can, and should, be made."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says voter turnout on this Election Day is likely to be low. 

As he usually does on election days, Dunlap is visiting polling places across the state. He says his hometown of Old Town is an example of why few voters today are likely to head to the polls.

Maine’s two senators, who both serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, say it appears the shooter in the Orlando night club murders was the most difficult type of terrorist to identify and stop.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King says it appears the gunman was a so-called lone wolf terrorist. That’s someone who is not directly part of a terrorist group or cell and very difficult to identify and stop.

AUGUSTA Maine _  Republican Gov. Paul LePage is picking up the pace of his town meetings. Instead of one this week he will hold three, all in Aroostook County. LePage says the meetings are aimed at giving the public direct access to the governor they elected.

Congress is considering the massive National Defense Authorization Act that sets policy and authorizes spending for the military. One issue generating some controversy this year is a provision that would require women to register for the draft when they turn 18.

It has a been a rite of passage for young men for decades. When they turn 18 they have to register with the Selective Service System just in case Congress decides to again implement a draft for military service.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine urged passage of the National Defense Authorization Act in a speech to the Senate Friday.

She says the measure has many important provisions, with some very important to Maine. She says it includes funding for additional destroyers to be built at Bath Iron Works.

“The bill before us also includes $3.2 billion for the procurement of two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers as part of a multiyear procurement contract,” she says.