NEWS CENTER Maine’s Political Brew: Sunday, December 5, 2021
Our analysts this week are former Republican State Senator Phil Harriman and Democrat Ethan Strimling, former State Senator and Mayor of Portland.
MAINE, United States – Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments regarding Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Conservative justices have a 6-3 majority in the court, and when questioned they seemed inclined to uphold the law, which would at least reduce Roe v. Wade.
âThe fundamental issue here is to deprive women of a fundamental human right to control their own bodies,â says Ethan Strimling. He thinks the judges will likely obey Mississippi law.
Phil Harriman calls for patience as a decision is not expected until June.
“These were only oral arguments. Judges often play devil’s advocate to make sure their thinking has been called into question.”
Senator Susan Collins says she would support legislation to enshrine Roe protections against Wade into law, although she has reservations about a bill currently in the House. Harriman says a decision on tabling a new bill is not necessary until justice has ruled.
“Why wait? [Collins] said from the start that she supported a woman’s right to choose … She should sponsor the law and get it passed before the Supreme Court rules. Unfortunately, no one believes that’s what she’s going to do, “Strimling said.
The High Court will hear a case this week over Maine’s ban on public funding for religious schools. For nearly 40 years, Maine law has stipulated that towns without public high schools will pay tuition fees so that local students can attend a public or private school of their choice in another community as long as it is not. not from a religious school.
The lower courts have upheld Maine’s position that this is constitutional.
Strimling said some religious schools have said they will not hire LGBTQ staff. He said, “If the court allowed us to use public funds for schools that discriminate against Mainers and put the Bible at the center of their education, boy, that is a serious violation of our values ââand our constitution.”
Harriman said parents should have the right to choose where their children go to school.
“If where parents choose to send their child is discriminatory, we have laws that deal with discrimination, and they may need to be tested more,” he said.
Recent revenue projections show Maine will receive $ 822 million more than previous expectations. Our analysts differ on what to do with this money.
Harriman said: “It should be returned to taxpayers so that they can cope with the inflationary trends we are experiencing, especially with regard to energy costs.”
“What we’re talking about is a few hundred dollars for most families in Maine, unfortunately that won’t be enough money to deal with what’s going on,” Strimling retorted.
He prefers to see the money invested in family leave, education and affordable housing. He said it can have a big impact on Maine.
“Instead of all these young people leaving Maine, we could have young people coming to Maine saying ‘this is a place that cares about my family, cares about my education, I want to live there.'”
Strimling and Harriman also discuss a recent court ruling over access to ballots by small political parties, the team spirit that surrounds so many major issues in Congress, and efforts to eliminate the post of director. municipal in Portland.
The political brew airs on Sundays in the NEWS CENTER Maine morning newspaper.