Under the Dome

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Answers from Augusta

Catch local lawmakers state Sen. Margaret Craven and state Rep. Dick Wagner, both Lewiston Democrats, discussing the state budget and other issues with House Speaker Hannah Pingree and Senate President Libby Mitchell on their show airing on Great Falls TV.

The show, Answers from Augusta, airs on cable Channel 11 at 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., every Monday in March.

Save the animals

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Lobbyists for stronger state animal cruelty laws gathered in the State House last week to rally support for a bill sponsored by state Sen. Deb Simpson, D-Auburn, which would make animal cruelty cases involving 25 animals or more felonies.

“Maine’s animal protection laws are ranked as some of the best in the country,” said Katie Lisnik, the Humane Society’s Maine state director, in a release. “However, Maine prosecutors have identified a need for stronger laws regarding large-scale cruelty cases. Instead of prosecuting multiple misdemeanors, prosecutors want the tools to pursue felony level convictions.”

Simpson’s bill already received a public hearing and is scheduled for a committee work session at 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning.

Also last week, state Sen. John Nutting, D-Leeds, received a “Humane State Legislator Award” from the Humane Society of Maine for work on animal welfare bills in 2009. Nutting, a dairy farmer, is the senate chairman of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.

Time to apply

State Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, wants interested residents to think about applying for a pair of internship programs, the Maine State Government Internship Program and the Maine NEW Leadership Summer Institute. The programs are offered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, which is part of the University of Maine System.

“Many students do not realize how important internship opportunities are to their future career options,” Rotundo said in a release. “These programs offer vital real-world work experience that can benefit participants immensely when seeking employment after graduation.”

The Maine State Government Summer Internship Program is a full-time, 12-week, paid work experience, according to a release. The program combines a summer work experience with an educational program designed to provide students an opportunity to participate in and contribute to Maine state government.

In order to compete for the program, a student must be currently enrolled in a Maine college, or be a Maine resident enrolled elsewhere, and have successfully completed a minimum of two years of college. Students currently graduating from undergraduate and graduate programs are also eligible. The deadline for applications to the Maine State Government Summer Internship Program is March 15.

— Rebekah Metzler

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