PORTLAND, Maine — In a Dec. 23 story on Maine’s top stories of 2017, The Associated Press erroneously described the state supreme court’s action that said ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional for gubernatorial elections or legislative races. The court issued an advisory opinion, not a ruling.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Largest power outage in Maine history is top story of 2017
A storm that left more than half of Maine residents in the dark and raised questions about the state’s readiness for natural disasters is the top story of 2017 in Maine
By DAVID SHARP
PORTLAND, Maine — A storm packing hurricane-force gusts roared into Maine, stunning residents and emergency officials by leaving more people in the dark than the infamous ice storm of 1998.
It took utility crews more than a week to restore power, raising questions of Central Maine Power’s preparedness and the state’s ability to withstand a more powerful storm. All told, more than half the state’s residents were in the dark at the storm’s peak.
The storm, which struck the day before Halloween, was voted the top story of the year in 2017 by The Associated Press and its member news organizations in Maine.
The No. 2 story was the successful referendum to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act over the objections of a governor who vetoed five expansion proposals.
Supporters said that expanding Medicaid ensures more Mainers will get health care coverage, but funding still must be sorted out by the lawmakers and governor. The plan will provide Medicaid coverage to roughly 70,000 low-income adults at a $54 million annual cost.
Another referendum figured into the No. 3 story. Recreational marijuana became legal in 2017 thanks to a statewide vote, but there’s no way to legally buy it because GOP Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill created by a bipartisan task force. LePage urged lawmakers to scrap their efforts and start over.
The No. 4 story was Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ decision to stay in the U.S. Senate, where she felt she could do more good than running for governor.
She showed the importance of her swing vote in torpedoing a GOP effort to kill off former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law while helping to approve a sweeping tax overhaul after she negotiated several key amendments that earned her support.
Rounding out the Top 10:
5. STATE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: LePage won a victory in a budget battle that led to the first shutdown of state government in 26 years. Contentious issues included education funding, taxes on high earners and a proposed increase to the lodging tax. LePage signed the state budget into law early on the Fourth of July, on the fourth day of the shutdown.
6. JAILED FOR 27 YEARS: The story of Anthony Sanborn captured people’s imagination as his defense attorney raised questions about evidence used to convict him as a teenager in the killing of his former girlfriend. The only eyewitness and a man who saw Sanborn with a knife both recanted their testimony. The defense and prosecutors reached an agreement in which he was freed.
7. NATIONAL MONUMENT: Under pressure by Maine’s Republican governor, President Donald Trump ordered a review of The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument designation. Trump’s interior secretary ultimately recommended against changing the boundaries of the federal land next to Baxter State Park. But the president was considering a proposal to allow logging and make other changes.
8. VOTING SYSTEM OVERHAUL: The Legislature couldn’t agree on how to implement ranked-choice voting after the state supreme court warned that it was unconstitutional for gubernatorial elections or legislative races. The delay approved by lawmakers prompted a second referendum drive aimed at implementing the system for primary elections and federal races for which it is deemed to be legal.
9. OVERDOSE EPIDEMIC: A crisis of overdose deaths caused by opioids continued in 2017, but there was a glimmer of hope. The state reported in October that the number of deaths during the first half of the year was on par with 2016, suggesting the numbers are leveling off. Officials weren’t cheering, however, because the crisis was still claiming one life each day.
10. RIGHT WHALES: A bad summer for right whales led federal officials to voice the fear that among the rarest of mammals on Earth could become extinct. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said that there are only about 450 of the whales left and that 17 of them had died so far in 2017.
Other stories getting votes were a record haul for lobstermen, L.L. Bean’s announcement of plans to trim its workforce, the display of a birch bark canoe from the mid-1700s and a financial settlement in a lawsuit over a haunted hayride crash that killed a teenager.