Maine State Rep. Stanley Short (D-Pittsfield) is introducing legislation on behalf of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a pro-hunting group, to regulate and restrict non-resident paid petitioners. The text of the bill has yet to be released, but reports say it will ban out-of-state petitioners and require paid-petitioners to register with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices and to wear a special ID badge on their persons while petitioning.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a citizens initiative designed to protect Portland’s parks will be allowed to appear on the June ballot.
In the ongoing dispute between the city and the Friends of Congress Square Park and its Protect Portland Parks subcommittee over the validity of the petition, the state’s highest court decided the citizens initiative is within its rights despite the city’s argument that it dealt with administrative and not legislative matters. The case will now be remanded to the Superior Court and a judge will decide on whether the city will be liable for any of the Friends’ attorney fees.

A coalition that’s pushing for a referendum to set a state minimum for renewable energy in Maine fell short of the voters’ signatures needed by Monday’s deadline to force a November vote.

While Maine Citizens for Clean Energy missed the deadline to file the petitions with state election officials, the group promised to continue to gather signatures in hopes of sending a ballot initiative to voters next year. At least 57,277 voters’ signatures must be certified to put the proposal on the ballot.

Read more at MSN.

Gay marriage supporters in Maine say they’re moving forward to put the issue up for a statewide vote this year.

Three activist groups have collected far more than the 50,000-some signatures needed to put gay marriage on the ballot and said Thursday that they intend to submit their petitions.

Read more at The Boston Globe.

Ballotpedia’s final analysis on donations to all 2011 statewide ballot measure campaigns has been released; the donations add up $85 million.

The report reveals some interesting information like the fact that the state with the highest contributions from all campaign sides from all ballot measures was in Ohio. The least amount of contributions was in Arkansas.

You can also find an overview of the contributions from supporters & opponents, a ranking of ballot measures from the most to the least contributions, and the ranking of political topic contributions where “labor” shows the most donations in Ohio on Issue 2.

Check out Ballotpedia’s analysis here.

Last fall, EqualityMaine and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, or GLAD, collected nearly 105,000 signatures ahead of a possible ballot initiative in November 2012. Although the groups say they will wait until early 2012 to decide whether to proceed with another campaign, but there are signs that the effort may move ahead.
For one, demographics are starting to favor gay marriage. It’s no secret that younger voters tend to favor allowing same-sex couples to marry while older voters are more often against the practice.

Read the full story at The Portland Daily Sun.

Voters heading to the polls today can be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu: They will cast ballots on two more gambling initiatives, bringing the total to eight in 11 years. Also on the ballot is a referendum aimed at restoring same-day voter registration and a constitutional amendment dealing with congressional district boundaries.

Read the story from The Boston Globe

Six years before Maine utility companies are required to get at least 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources, a coalition of Maine businesses, organizations and individuals is trying to get that amount doubled. And if the Maine Citizens for Clean Energy coalition gets its way, Maine’s utilities would have just three more years to do it.

Read the story from the Bangor Daily News

Maine voters have two issues related to gaming on the ballot in the general election on November 8, and Penobscot County voters will see a third issue as well.

Maine voters have two issues related to gaming on the ballot in the general election on November 8, and Penobscot County voters will see a third issue as well.

Local activists for Equality Maine rallied throughout southern York County over the weekend to collect signatures for a petition to put gay marriage on the state ballot in 2012. About 57,000 signatures are needed statewide to get the item on the ballot, and organizers hope to gather about 80,000.

The Maine Senate cast split votes on two gambling bills Thursday, voting for one that would allow racinos in Biddeford and Washington County and against one that would allow a casino in Lewiston. With vetoes expected if the bills are sent to Gov. Paul LePage, who has said he wants voters to decide whether to expand gambling in the state, the citizens initiatives are likely to remain alive regardless of legislative action.

Read the story from The Portland Press Herald

Maine may have a new governor and the first Republican-controlled Legislature in decades, but little has changed when it comes to setting policy on gambling. It appears that voters, not lawmakers, still make the big decisions. The Legislature is faced with 13 bills that would amend the state’s gaming laws. It also has to decide the fate of two  ballot initiatives that seek to open up new gambling operations in Lewiston, Biddeford and Washington County.

Read the story from The Portland Press Herald

The backers of a proposed racino in Biddeford filed more than 76,000 signatures with the state Wednesday for a citizens’ initiative that would allow the proposal and a similar one in Washington County to move forward. The initiative aims to change provisions of Maine’s gambling law that now prevent the projects from being built.

Read the story from The Portland Press Herald

Opponents of a casino in Oxford County have given up their recount effort. The ballot initiative passed on Election Day by a margin of less than one percent, prompting the recount. But opponents decided to call off the recount after about a fifth of the ballots were re-tallied with little change in the initial results.

Read the story from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network