A special six-person budget committee has come to an agreement on a proposed two-year state budget. The budget bill must win two-thirds approval in the House and Senate today and be signed by the governor by midnight tonight. Otherwise, state government will shut down for the first time since 1991. The proposed $7.1 billion budget includes a 1.5 percent lodging tax increase. Governor LePage has vowed to delay a decision on any budget bill that contains tax increases.

If the government does shut down state workers deemed “emergency” employees would work without pay but get paid for that work when a budget is passed. Others would not work or be paid. Services the governor has deemed essential include state law enforcement agencies, state parks, state psychiatric hospitals in Bangor and Augusta, state correctional facilities and Maine Revenue Services.

A missing Connecticut woman Maine cops had been looking for since last weekend has been found. Police had been looking for 31-year-old Kimberly Piccolo of Newtown since they found her asleep in a car outside a Clinton store Sunday. They had no reason to believe she was a missing person at the time so they let her go. Police did not say where she was located. Her family had said she left behind her anxiety medication and had been exhibiting strange behavior recently.

School officials from RSU 22 have gone back to the drawing board after voters shot down their proposed school budget. Residents of Hampden, Winterport, Newburgh and Frankfort turned down the $30 million budget earlier this month. Work on a new budget began last night with a joint meeting of the board of directors’ budget and finance committees. Areas residents were invited to weigh in on the district’s next budget proposal at last night’s meeting.

The Maine Marine Patrol and the Maine Warden Service will be on the lookout for impaired boaters this weekend. "Operation Dry Water" starts today and runs through Sunday. It seeks combat boating while intoxicated by enforcing BUI laws.

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