AUGUSTA – The House passed a bill Thursday to look at homelessness in the state by directing the Statewide Homeless Council to study the issue and find ways to clarify state policies and use current homeless services better.

The overall goal of the bill is to straighten out a discrepancy between an increasing homeless population and current policies and practices of social services and corrections agencies, according to information from House officials.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Dunn, D-Bangor, next goes to the Senate to be enacted.

Musical phonies, beware the fines

AUGUSTA – When tickets go on sale to see the musical groups the Coasters, the Drifters and the Platters, Maine lawmakers want to make sure people are going to see the real thing.

The House passed the “Truth in Music Act” Thursday, nearly two months after Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a former member of the rock group Sha Na Na, gave his signature raised-arm gesture to the entire body. He visited the State House March 20, sang the national anthem in the House, and testified in the Business, Research and Economic Development Committee in support of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Makas, D-Lewiston.

The bill would create a criminal offense – a fine of $5,000 to $15,000 – for any group that advertises or performs under false or misleading connections with other musical groups.

Dangerous dog crackdown

AUGUSTA – If someone is convicted of owning a dangerous dog, a judge could rule that they are not allowed to keep any four-legged friends.

The House passed a bill Thursday to protect the public from dangerous dogs, which next goes to the Senate for consideration.

Sen. John Nutting, D-Leeds, submitted it after learning of the plight of the Tammy Sanborn family of Livermore Falls, whose farm animals were continually terrorized – and some killed – by a neighbor’s pit bulls. They took the owner to court several times, and each time he left with a small fine.

The bill would strengthen the law in regard to dangerous dogs, defined as ones who attack off their owners’ property.

The bill has an emergency clause, so it would go into effect if signed by Gov. John Baldacci.

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