Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:15:28 EDTWomen supporting families to benefit most from increase
Fri, 07 Mar 2008 15:31:26 ESTAUGUSTA-State Senator Ethan Strimling, D-Cumberland County, said that an amended version of a bill he has proposed to increase the state's minimum wage yesterday won approval from the Legislature's Labor Committee by a vote of eight to two. Three other committee members have yet to file their vote.
Fri, 07 Mar 2008 15:24:02 ESTAUGUSTA-The Legislature's Labor Committee Thursday afternoon voted unanimously to support a bill sponsored by Senator Ethan Strimling that would divest Maine State Retirement Funds from companies that do business with Iran. Among the nine committee members who voted, five Democrats and four Republicans supported the bill.
Fri, 08 Feb 2008 10:31:55 ESTPORTLAND - How many legislators does it take to change a light bulb?That's a question that Maine Senator Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, is asking today as he introduces legislation to get rid of the traditional incandescent light bulb in favor of new bulbs that produce far less energy and save consumers money on their light bills.Strimling said his bill to end the use of ordinary incandescent light bulbs by 2010 in Maine is a common-sense response to rising energy costs and global warming. Federal legislation that phases out traditional bulbs over the next 12-years is inadequate, Strimling said."We are in the midst of an energy and environmental crisis," said Strimling. "It's going to take bold action and a break from the past in order to confront it. The ordinary light bulb has been around for 125 years with almost no changes. Yet, new compact florescent bulbs require far less energy to produce the same amount of light, and they last longer and save people money."Strimling said one compact fluorescent light bulb saves an average of $35 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. That means that if you change 30 light bulbs in your home, you can save over $1,000. Additionally, a compact fluorescent light bulb uses up to 75% less energy, lowering our dependence on foreign oil and cutting greenhouse gas emissions."The average home is responsible for twice the greenhouse gas emissions than the average automobile, and lighting makes up about 20% of a household's electrical bill," he said. "So switching to more efficient lighting is the easiest way to cut your energy bills and the quickest way to achieve lower emissions of greenhouse gases."Strimling's bill would also include a 25-cent deposit on all fluorescent bulbs, which contain a small amount of mercury, to ensure their proper disposal. Although an old-fashioned thermometer contains 100 times more mercury than the new florescent bulbs, Strimling said it's important that the bulbs are recycled to prevent harm to the environment.Banning the energy-hogging incandescent bulb would also spur industry to make even further advancements in the efficiency of light bulbs."The scientists have made it clear that climate change is a worldwide crisis," he said. "But the Bush Administration's response is to go slow. Well, we can't afford to wait. Time is running out and we need to take action now."-- 30 --FAQ: Banning the BulbWhat will Ethan Strimling's bill do: It will ban the sale and distribution of incandescent light bulbs after 2010. It also places a 25-cents deposit, like a bottle deposit, on compact fluorescent bulbs to ensure they are properly recycled or disposed of.Why is he taking away my light bulbs? Moving to more efficient lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for Maine and the nation to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases. In fact, it actually will save households money because of lower electricity bills. Ninety percent of the energy that an incandescent light bulb burns is wasted as heat. And yet, sales of the most common high-efficiency bulb available-the compact fluorescent (CFL)-amount to only 5 percent of the light bulb market. Earlier this year, Australia became the first country to announce an outright ban by 2010 on incandescent bulbs. Ireland has banned them starting in 2009. While Congress has passed legislation to phase out the bulbs in 12 years, Ethan believes we need to do it sooner given the grave crisis of global warming. How do I save money, when a CFL costs six times as much as an old-fashioned bulb? Each CFL costs about $3, compared with 50 cents for a standard bulb. But a CFL uses about 75 percent less energy and lasts five years instead of a few months. A 60 to 70 percent reduction in light bulb energy use nationally will save as much energy every year as that used by all the homes in Texas last year. A household that invests $90 in changing 30 fixtures to CFLs will save $440 to $1,500 over the five-year life of the bulbs, depending on your cost of el[...]
Thu, 24 Jan 2008 13:05:25 ESTAUGUSTA-Senator Ethan Strimling, D-Cumberland County, the Senate Chair of the Legislature's Labor Committee said today that the Maine Senate gave initial approval to new rules that will protect Maine construction workers who are working on state contracts over $100,000.
Fri, 16 Nov 2007 17:40:48 ESTAUGUSTA-State Senator Ethan Strimling, D-Cumberland County, today said that the Legislative Council overwhelmingly accepted a bill he proposed for the coming legislative session, which directs the state to divest its holdings in companies that do business in Iran.
Tue, 11 Sep 2007 13:05:56 EDTMore Than $50 Million Invested in Companies with Ties to IranPORTLAND - Sen. Ethan Strimling (D-Portland) said today he will introduce legislation directing the state to divest its holdings in companies that do business in countries that support and finance international terrorism.At a news conference at the Portland International Jetport where the events of 9/11 began six years ago today, Strimling released a sampling of companies in the current investment portfolio of the Maine State Retirement System (MSRS) that are involved in major economic development projects in countries that have been identified by the US as sponsors of international terrorism. More than $50 million of state funds are invested in these companies, which are involved in the development of nuclear power plants, ship construction, oil and gas fields and other energy related projects in countries such as Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria."It's outrageous to think that six years after the tragic events of 9/11, US investors and taxpayers are helping to underwrite the economies of the very countries that want to kill us," Strimling said. "Most people are shocked to discover that their own retirement accounts include investments in companies that do business with Iran and other terror nations."The Bush Administration's War on Terror' is just hollow rhetoric if we fail to use one of our most important weapons, economic pressure," he continued. "These countries are using our money to buy the bombs and bullets that are killing US soldiers today in Iraq."Strimling, the Senate chair of Maine's Homeland Security Task Force, is the sponsor of legislation that directed the MSRS to divest its holdings in companies that do business in Sudan due to the human rights atrocities in Darfur. That legislation resulted in the divestment of more than $18 million in such companies with no impact on the state's retirement system's bottom line or the pensions of its members."Now it's time to do more," he said. "We can hit these countries where it hurts, particularly Iran, which is behind much of the sectarian violence in Iraq."An analysis three years ago by the Center for Security Policy found that the Maine State Retirement System had $200 million - nearly 20 percent of its total portfolio - invested in companies with significant ties to terror nations. That amount may have come down with the passage of Strimling's bill to divest holdings of Sudan-related companies.But Strimling identified current investments by the state of more than $50 million in companies such as Dutch Royal Shell, Siemens AG, Repsol, Hyundia and others that do millions of dollars worth of business, mostly in the oil, gas and energy industries of Iran, Syria and North Korea."We suspect the total amount invested with similar businesses is actually much higher than the $50 million we've been able to identify," Strimling said. "That's why my legislation also calls for a full review of the retirement system's holdings, to identify all of the companies that should be added to the do not invest list' and a full accounting of how much Maine has invested in these companies."While it is illegal for US companies to do business directly with countries identified as supporters of international terror, companies get around the ban through foreign subsidiaries. Other nations also have no such restrictions and their companies continue to attract millions of dollars from US investors.Strimling said several states have already begun divesting their pension funds from companies that do business with terror nations. If more do so, he said, it could bring significant pressure on these nations to end their involvement with terrorists."The best way to remember and honor the victims of 9/11 is for everybody to do all they can to ensure that it won't happen again," he said. [...]
Mon, 10 Sep 2007 11:51:17 EDTNews Conference Tuesday to Disclose State Investments in Companies with Ties to Terror Nations
Tue, 24 Jul 2007 09:53:35 EDT"Maine families are struggling to make ends meet. We need to put more money in the family checkbook," says Senator Strimling
Thu, 12 Jul 2007 14:27:28 EDT"Sponsor of 2003 Resolution Against Iraq War Opposes Surge"AUGUSTA-State Senator Ethan Strimling, D-Cumberland County, today applauded the efforts of more than 90 House and Senate Legislators who signed a letter urging Maine's Congressional Delegation to oppose troop escalation proposed by President Bush in January. "I applaud my legislative colleagues for sending a clear message to our congressional delegation," Senator Strimling said. "The Iraq War has put an incredible toll on our country, and escalating our military presence is the wrong direction," Senator Strimling added. In 2003, Senator Strimling authored a Joint Resolution in the Maine Legislature urging the President to pursue a diplomatic course of action instead of a unilateral invasion."I am proud of the fact that four years ago we were the first state to go on record opposing the war, even before the bombs fell," Senator Strimling said. Senate President Beth Edmonds, D-Cumberland County, who signed onto the current letter and co-sponsored the Iraq Resolution four years ago said, "I am proud that the Maine Senate went on record in 2003 against the war, thanks to the resolution sponsored by Senator Strimling. We were right then, and we are right now."-- 30 --Below please find the text of the 2003 resolution sponsored by Senator Strimling.STATE OF MAINEIN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO THOUSAND AND THREEJOINT RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO SUPPORT THE FULL PURSUIT OF DIPLOMATIC RESOLUTIONS AND WEAPONS INSPECTIONS WE, your Memorialists, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Maine now assembled in the First Regular Session, most respectfully present and petition the President of the United States, as follows:WHEREAS, there is an urgent need for genuine multilateral action to eliminate weapons of mass destruction worldwide; andWHEREAS, most governments around the world oppose unilateral action regarding Iraq and support the full pursuit of diplomatic resolutions and weapons inspections before any further military action is taken against Iraq; andWHEREAS, a war with Iraq will jeopardize the lives of American soldiers and will kill many innocent Iraqi civilians who have already suffered enormously under Saddam Hussein's rule and sanctions of the United Nations; andWHEREAS, a United States military attack on Iraq threatens the stability of the Middle East region; and WHEREAS, military action will likely result in a long-term United States military presence; andWHEREAS, conflict in the area may result in the widespread destruction of the environment and the civilian infrastructure of Iraq; andWHEREAS, military expenditures will cause ballooning federal budget deficits, further weakening an already sluggish economy and ensuring reductions in federal aid to the State; andWHEREAS, the State of Maine is suffering from a fiscal crisis such that its ability to stabilize the taxes of the people of the State is being threatened, and programs that benefit working people and the poor are being threatened by severe budget cuts; andWHEREAS, it has been estimated that a war in Iraq would likely cost the United States taxpayers over $100 billion which would include $267,000,000 from Maine taxpayers, an that could go a long way to meeting our health and education needs; andWHEREAS, if the country does go to war, this resolution should in no way be interpreted as not supporting the troops, and We, your Memorialists, stand in full and unwavering support of our brave young men and women of the Armed Forces whenever they are called to action; now, therefore, be itRESOLVED: That We, your Memorialists, respectfully urge and request that the President of the United States support the full pursuit of diplomatic resolutions and weapons inspections; and be it furtherRESOLVED: That su[...]
Thu, 12 Jul 2007 14:21:20 EDTImagine, if you will, that you have two newspapers in front of you. The New York Times and the Portland Press Herald. When you pick up the Times to read about how bad the Yankees are this year, you are able to read at your own pace and flip back and forth easily between articles. It's enjoyable and relaxing.However, when you pick up the Herald to read about the first-place Red Sox, your world enters slow motion. You are unable to turn pages at the pace you desire. Your eye is slowed as it tries to get across the page and the whole experience becomes frustrating. Or even worse, you go to pick up the Herald at your local newsstand and they say "Sorry, you can't have that paper."The next time you choose a paper to read, inevitably you will pick the Times.This is exactly the world the big telecoms are looking to create. A world where those who have the money can slow down your ability to get to a rival site.Earlier this legislative session, I submitted a bill that would prevent big telecom providers from barring or slowing down access to the Internet. The driving force for the bill is a result of certain regulatory and policy changes that have been systematically taking place at the federal level that could, if unwatched, create discriminatory barriers to the World Wide Web.Over the past ten years, the federal government through law and regulatory change has allowed for the consolidation of media conglomerates, which have reduced different voices and viewpoints. Similarly, many of these same rule changes have helped large telecommunications giants get larger. These big telecom companies are the ones that all our news, entertainment, and commerce travel across when we access the Internet. Net Neutrality levels the playing field by guaranteeing equal access to services and content. While some consumers may have slower access to sites based on the type of Internet they have like DSL, Cable, or Dial-up, many telecom companies want to charge more for a faster ride when you "knock on the door" of the site you want to access. In short, without Net Neutrality, giant telecommunications providers could charge higher premiums for the bandwidth used to open your Web site door to the retail public-a cost a larger business or corporation can absorb.With 96 percent of Maine businesses being small businesses, it does not seem like Maine would benefit from a "class system" on the Internet. Mainers and the free market should decide who are the winners and losers on the Internet.Another important point about Net Neutrality is that it prevents censorship. It allows Mainers to access the Web sites of their choice and to post content free from discrimination by network providers.To highlight the importance of Net Neutrality, take the example of a recently reported story of two Virginia Internet Service Providers back in 2000 who blocked access to certain Web sites for over a year. The early suspicion had been that the sites were blocked due to a technical problem, but it was later found that the sites were blocked because the management of the two telecom companies did not care for certain Web sites using their Internet backbone. In another example, E-Bay, the popular online auction Web site, has blocked Google's online payment service "Google Checkout" from aiding customers in their transactions. E-Bay owns payment giant Paypal.com and has a vested interest in stifling competition. You could easily argue that Google, the world's most popular search engine, could take a retaliatory approach by blocking E-Bay on its search engine, but it has not. Google, instead supports Net Neutrality.While these examples may be small and isolated, it is important to remember that there is no real safe guard to protect, the Web consumer, the small business, and the overall fr[...]
Thu, 12 Jul 2007 14:01:43 EDTFirst piece of fundamental tax reform gains strong bipartisan support
Thu, 12 Jul 2007 13:59:23 EDTAUGUSTA-Senator Richard Nass, R-York County, and Senator Ethan Strimling, D-Cumberland County, today congratulated the Legislature's Taxation Committee on the strong bipartisan support for a bold tax reform package designed to lower taxes for an overwhelming number of Maine people and restrict future tax increases.
Fri, 22 Jun 2007 10:35:44 EDTAUGUSTA-The Maine Senate Thursday gave final approval to a bill that could extend term limits from eight to 12 years. The extension would ultimately have to be approved by Maine voters in an upcoming election.
Fri, 22 Jun 2007 10:27:57 EDTAUGUSTA-The Maine Senate Tuesday enacted an amended version of a "Net Neutrality" bill, which directs the Maine Office of the Public Advocate to monitor state and federal activity relating to full and fair access to the Internet.