Mal Leary

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public'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.

Maine has joined eight other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the recreational use of Marijuana as of Monday. But sales will not be allowed for another year as a special legislative committee develops rules for how those sales will take place.

Legally, you can now possess 2.5 ounces of pot and grow six mature plants in your home. Use of the drug can only be done in private, and retail sales are expected sometime next year. But first, the law allowing recreational marijuana needs to be implemented.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The recount of the ballot question that would allow the recreational use of marijuana in Maine is underway in Augusta.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says it could take months to complete if all of the nearly 760,000 ballots that were cast are recounted. He says the apparent winning margin of 4,073 will be hard to overturn.

“You would have to have not less than somewhere between four and eight votes change in every town, and they all would have to change in your direction,” Dunlap says.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine supporters of Libertarian Party nominees Gary Johnson and William Weld met over the weekend to organize for the fall campaign.

In some of the races for the Maine Legislature, candidates were just finalized last month. But both major parties are ramping up for the battle over control of the State Senate. Democrats have launched a social media campaign targeting four senate seats and the republicans are expected to be quick to follow.

The democrats have targeted four Republicans in this opening round, including Senate President Mike Thibodeau who represents Waldo County.

For years, the cost of the overdose reversal drug Naloxone, often called by its brand name Narcan, has been relatively low, a few dollars a vial. Recently, prices have soared. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other members of congress are demanding to know why.

In the next few weeks Donald Trump is expected to hire a campaign manager for Maine and start to set up a statewide campaign organization.

Maine is one of 15 states that traditionally lean Democrat that the Trump campaign plans to target this year.

In a 18-17 vote, the Maine Senate has supported a measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Tom Saviello of Wilton that would provide health insurance to nearly 80,000 Mainers.

The measure would use Medicaid funds from the federal government to buy private health insurance for poor Mainers.

“Accepting the federal dollars that are already set aside, covering hardworking low-income residents will improve the health of Mainers, benefit our state economy and reduce cancer risk,” he says.

House Democrats in Augusta have derailed an attempt by Republicans to put a competing measure out to voters on the state’s minimum wage. But Senate Republicans say the battle is far from over.

The House voted 78-67 to reject an attempt by Republicans to send a competing measure to the voters through a parliamentary maneuver to amend a bill. It was one of what may be several attempts to put forth an alternative measure that determines what the state’s minimum wage should be.

Record turnouts at this weekend’s Democratic and Republican Party caucuses are prompting calls for the return of the Maine primary system. The idea is generating bipartisan support, even among some unlikely political allies.

Legislation that would allow pharmacists to furnish the overdose antidote drug naloxone without a prescription in certain cases got broad support at a public hearing in Augusta today.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Superior Court justice has issued a divided opinion on a lawsuit pitting the state of Maine against local governments in a dispute over General Assistance benefits for non-U.S. citizens. But both sides are claiming victory.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Welfare reform is front and center at the State House this week, as lawmakers consider several proposals that supporters say are designed to help those who can get off welfare reach that goal.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says he wants to promote more nutritious foods for all Mainers, including those who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. 

The Department of Public Safety has launched a multipronged effort to beef up enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws and increase public awareness about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel. In Maine, over the last three years, 41 highway deaths have been attributed to distracted driving. And state troopers are seeing widespread violations of distracted driving laws.