Maine Legislature

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Maine Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Michael Thibodeau (R)
Since December 3, 2014
Senate Majority Leader
Garrett Mason (R)
Since December 3, 2014
Mark Eves (D)
Since December 5, 2012
House Majority Leader
Jeff McCabe (D)
Since December 3, 2014
Seats 189
35 senators
154 representatives
Senate political groups
Maine House of Representatives current.svg
House of Representatives political groups
Senate last election
November 4, 2014
Meeting place
Maine State House, Augusta

The Maine Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maine. It is a bicameral body composed of the lower house Maine House of Representatives and the upper house Maine Senate. The Legislature convenes at the State House in Augusta, where it has met since 1832.

The House of Representatives consists of 151 members, each chosen from single-member constituencies, as well as three non-voting members. The House is one of the few state legislative bodies in the U.S. to set aside special seats for Native Americans, where there are three nonvoting Representatives from the Penobscot Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, and the Houlton Band of Maliseets. The Senate includes a varying number of members, which may under the Maine Constitution be 31, 33, or 35; the present number is 35.


In order to be a member of the Legislature, one must be at least 21 years of age, have to have been a citizen of the U.S. for five years, have been a resident of Maine for one year, and for the 3 months next preceding the time of this person's election shall have been, and, during the period for which elected, continue to be, a resident in the district represented.


Legislative elections are held in November of every even-numbered year, during the state's general election. The terms for both houses are two years. Since 1996, members of both the House and Senate are limited to four two-year terms; this is a consecutive, rather than lifetime, limit. Members who have served the limit are re-eligible for election after two years.

Until 1880, the Legislature was elected for a one-year term. Starting in 1881, an amendment to the Maine Constitution took effect to provide for two year terms, which remains the current length.[1]


The Legislature meets in two separate sessions. The first session begins the first Wednesday in December following the general election and continues into the following year. The second session begins the first Tuesday in January of the next year, the same year as the next general election. The second session is typically short and deals with a limited number of bills per the Maine Constitution, which are budgetary matters, legislation submitted by the Governor, bills held over from the first session, citizen initiatives, and legislation deemed to be an 'emergency'.[2] According to the Constitution, emergency legislation is only supposed to be legislation for an immediate need to protect public peace, health, or safety, but that provision is often broadly interpreted.[3]

The Governor of Maine may also call the Legislature into a special session for 'extraordinary occasions'. Both the Governor and Senate President may also call the Senate into session to confirm gubernatorial appointments.[4]


As the legislative branch of the Maine state government, the Legislature has the power to make laws, subject to a veto by the Governor. The Legislature, however, by a vote of two-thirds in each house, may override the veto. The Legislature also has the power to propose constitutional amendments by a vote of two-thirds in each house; the proposal must be approved by a majority of voters in a referendum in order to be passed.

Unlike other states, the Legislature is responsible for electing the Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State. Most states give this responsibility to gubernatorial appointments, or an election by the people at large.

See also


  2. Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part 3
  4. Maine Constitution, Article V, Section 13

External links