|Preamble • I • II • III • IV-I • IV-II • IV-III • V-I • V-II • V-III • VI • VII • VIII-I • VIII-II • IX • X|
The Maine Constitution is regarded by some scholars as the forerunner of a type of constitution subsequently adopted by other states because it was the first state constitution that allowed itself to be subsequently amended by the state legislature voting to put a proposed amendment to a popular statewide vote. As Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer wrote in 1900, "A two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature was required to pass the proposal but everything else was left to the people, a simple majority of the qualified voters who chose to express an opinion on the subject being competent to declare the popular will."
The major writers of the constitution were William King (the president of the convention, who later became first governor of Maine), Thomas Jefferson, John Chandler, Albion K. Parris, William Pitt Preble, and John Holmes.
It consists of a Preamble and ten Articles (divisions), the first of which is a "Declaration of Rights".
Through 2006, the Maine Constitution has been amended 171 times.
The Maine Constitution was approved by Congress on March 4, 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise, since the Maine Constitution did not recognize slavery. The State of Maine was previously the District of Maine in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. William King may have authored the largest part of the Maine Constitution - he was the president of the Constitutional Convention and later elected Maine's first Governor. Other authors of the constitution were Thomas Jefferson, John Chandler, Albion K. Parris, William Pitt Preble, and John Holmes. Thomas Jefferson authored the section of Article VIII on education. The Maine Constitution was approved by all 210 delegates to the Maine Constitutional Convention, which was held during October, 1819, in Portland, Maine.
- See also: Preambles to state constitutions
The Preamble defines the following reasons for establishing the State of Maine, which would also have served as an expression of dissatisfaction with being the District of Maine:
- "establish justice",
- "insure tranquility",
- "provide for our mutual defense",
- "promote our common welfare",
- "secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty".
The text of the Preamble is:
- Objects of government. We the people of Maine, in order to establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for our mutual defense, promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty, acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity, so favorable to the design; and, imploring God's aid and direction in its accomplishment, do agree to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the style and title of the State of Maine and do ordain and establish the following Constitution for the government of the same.
This Article contains 24 sections, of which the longest is on religious freedom. The first section starts "All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights." The beginning is similar to the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 which used the phrase "born free and equal", the basis for which slavery was abolished in that state in 1783.
The section on religious freedom starts with "all individuals have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences."This is notably different from the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 which referred to the "duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being".
Section 1. Natural rights. All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
Power inherent in people
Section 2. Power inherent in people. All power is inherent in the people; all free governments are founded in their authority and instituted for their benefit; they have therefore an unalienable and indefeasible right to institute government, and to alter, reform, or totally change the same, when their safety and happiness require it.
Section 3. Religious freedom; sects equal; religious tests prohibited; religious teachers. All individuals have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no person shall be hurt, molested or restrained in that person's liberty or estate for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of that person's own conscience, nor for that person's religious professions or sentiments, provided that that person does not disturb the public peace, nor obstruct others in their religious worship; -- and all persons demeaning themselves peaceably, as good members of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the laws, and no subordination nor preference of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law, nor shall any religious test be required as a qualification for any office or trust, under this State; and all religious societies in this State, whether incorporate or unincorporate, shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their public teachers, and contracting with them for their support and maintenance.
Freedom of speech
Section 4. Freedom of speech and publication; libel; truth given in evidence; jury determines law and fact. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish sentiments on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of this liberty; no laws shall be passed regulating or restraining the freedom of the press; and in prosecutions for any publication respecting the official conduct of people in public capacity, or the qualifications of those who are candidates for the suffrages of the people, or where the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence, and in all indictments for libels, the jury, after having received the direction of the court, shall have a right to determine, at their discretion, the law and the fact.
Section 5. Unreasonable searches prohibited. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from all unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing, shall issue without a special designation of the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized, nor without probable cause -- supported by oath or affirmation.
Rights of accused
Section 6. Rights of persons accused. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have a right to be heard by the accused and counsel to the accused, or either, at the election of the accused;
- To demand the nature and cause of the accusation, and have a copy thereof;
- To be confronted by the witnesses against the accused;
- To have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in favor of the accused;
- To have a speedy, public and impartial trial, and, except in trials by martial law or impeachment, by a jury of the vicinity. The accused shall not be compelled to furnish or give evidence against himself or herself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, property or privileges, but by judgment of that person's peers or the law of the land.
Section 6-A. Discrimination against persons prohibited. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person's civil rights or be discriminated against in the exercise thereof.
Section 7. No person to answer to certain crimes but on indictment; exceptions; juries. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases of impeachment, or in such cases of offenses, as are usually cognizable by a justice of the peace, or in cases arising in the army or navy, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger. The Legislature shall provide by law a suitable and impartial mode of selecting juries, and their usual number and unanimity, in indictments and convictions, shall be held indispensable.
No double jeopardy
Section 8. No double jeopardy. No person, for the same offense, shall be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.
Cruel and unusual punishments
Section 9. Sanguinary laws, excessive bail, cruel or unusual punishments prohibited. Sanguinary laws shall not be passed; all penalties and punishments shall be proportioned to the offense; excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel nor unusual punishments inflicted.
Bail; habeus corpus
Section 10. Bailable offenses; habeas corpus. No person before conviction shall be bailable for any of the crimes which now are, or have been denominated capital offenses since the adoption of the Constitution, when the proof is evident or the presumption great, whatever the punishment of the crimes may be. And the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
Section 11. Attainder, ex post facto and contract-impairment laws prohibited. The Legislature shall pass no bill of attainder, ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, and no attainder shall work corruption of blood nor forfeiture of estate.
Section 12. Treason; testimony of 2 witnesses. Treason against this State shall consist only in levying war against it, adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of 2 witnesses to the same overt act, or confession in open court.
Suspension of laws
Section 13. Suspension of laws. The laws shall not be suspended but by the Legislature or its authority.
Section 14. Corporal punishment under military law. No person shall be subject to corporal punishment under military law, except such as are employed in the army or navy, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger.
Right of petition
Section 15. Right of petition. The people have a right at all times in an orderly and peaceable manner to assemble to consult upon the common good, to give instructions to their representatives, and to request, of either department of the government by petition or remonstrance, redress of their wrongs and grievances.
Keep and bear arms
Section 16. To keep and bear arms. Every citizen has a right to keep and bear arms and this right shall never be questioned.
Section 17. Standing armies. No standing army shall be kept up in time of peace without the consent of the Legislature, and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
Quartering of soldiers
Section 18. Quartering of soldiers on citizens. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner or occupant, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Right of redress
Section 19. Right of redress for injuries. Every person, for an injury inflicted on the person or the person's reputation, property or immunities, shall have remedy by due course of law; and right and justice shall be administered freely and without sale, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay.
Trial by jury
Section 20. Trial by jury. In all civil suits, and in all controversies concerning property, the parties shall have a right to a trial by jury, except in cases where it has heretofore been otherwise practiced; the party claiming the right may be heard by himself or herself and with counsel, or either, at the election of the party.
Section 21. Private property, when to be taken. Private property shall not be taken for public uses without just compensation; nor unless the public exigencies require it.
No taxation without representation
Section 22. Taxes. No tax or duty shall be imposed without the consent of the people or of their representatives in the Legislature.
Noble titles prohibited
Section 23. Title of nobility prohibited; tenure of offices. No title of nobility or hereditary distinction, privilege, honor or emolument, shall ever be granted or confirmed, nor shall any office be created, the appointment to which shall be for a longer time than during good behavior.
Section 24. Other rights not impaired. The enumeration of certain rights shall not impair nor deny others retained by the people.
This article have five sections. It describes who may vote for Governor and members of the Maine Legislature. It states that every citizen of the United States of age 18 or older who has established residence in Maine shall be eligible to vote in state elections. There are certain exceptions such as "persons under guardianship for reasons of mental illness" and "persons in the military, naval or marine service of the United States."
Section 1. Qualifications of electors; written ballot; military servicemen; students. Every citizen of the United States of the age of 18 years and upwards, excepting persons under guardianship for reasons of mental illness, having his or her residence established in this State, shall be an elector for Governor, Senators and Representatives, in the city, town or plantation where his or her residence has been established, if he or she continues to reside in this State; and the elections shall be by written ballot. But persons in the military, naval or marine service of the United States, or this State, shall not be considered as having obtained such established residence by being stationed in any garrison, barrack or military place, in any city, town or plantation; nor shall the residence of a student at any seminary of learning entitle the student to the right of suffrage in the city, town or plantation where such seminary is established. No person, however, shall be deemed to have lost residence by reason of the person's absence from the state in the military service of the United States, or of this State.
- Indians. Every Indian, residing on tribal reservations and otherwise qualified, shall be an elector in all county, state and national elections.
No arrests on election days
Section 2. Electors exempt from arrests on election days. Electors shall, in all cases, except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest on the days of election, during their attendance at, going to, and returning therefrom.
Military duty during elections
Section 3. Exemption from military duty. No elector shall be obliged to do duty in the militia on any day of election, except in time of war or public danger.
Timing of elections; absentee voting
Section 4. Time of state election; absentee voting. The election of Senators and Representatives shall be on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November biennially forever and the election of Governor shall be on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November every 4 years. The Legislature under proper enactment shall authorize and provide for voting by citizens of the State absent therefrom in the Armed Forces of the United States or of this State and for voting by other citizens absent or physically incapacitated for reasons deemed sufficient.
Section 5. Voting machines. Voting machines, or other mechanical devices for voting, may be used at all elections under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, provided, however, the right of secret voting shall be preserved.
This article has two sections. It says that "the powers of this government shall be divided into 3 distinct departments, the legislative, executive and judicial." No person may assume a position in two of the branches at once.
Section 1: Powers distributed. The powers of this government shall be divided into 3 distinct departments, the legislative, executive and judicial.
Separation of powers
Section 2. To be kept separate. No person or persons, belonging to one of these departments, shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others, except in the cases herein expressly directed or permitted.
Article IV: State legislature
Article IV comes in three distinct parts:
- Part 1: Maine House of Representatives. Part 1 comes in eight sections.
- Part 2: Maine State Senate. Part 2 comes in eight sections.
- Part 3: Legislative Power. Part 3 has 23 sections.
Altogether, Article IV establishes the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine State Senate which together comprise the Maine Legislature. The number of members of each body are set, and their duties are described. This article also describes the establishment of districts, how members are elected by Electors in each district, the qualifications for office, a residency requirement, etc.
Article IV also reserves certain important powers to the people. "The people reserve to themselves power to propose laws and to enact or reject the same at the polls independent of the Legislature." Also the people reserve the "power at their own option to approve or reject at the polls any Act, bill, resolve or resolution passed by the joint action of both branches of the Legislature, and the style of their laws and Acts shall be, 'Be it enacted by the people of the State of Maine.'"
"Legislative Powers" describes when the Legislature shall meet and allows the Governor 10 days to approve legislation. The Governor is also granted the "line-item veto of dollar amounts appearing in appropriation or allocation sections of legislative documents."
Also duties of the Legislature are described, however "all bills for raising a revenue shall originate in the House of Representative." This means if the Senate passes legislation which raises revenue it is constitutionally invalid if the House of Representatives has not previously acted on it.
Section 1. Legislative department; style of acts. The legislative power shall be vested in 2 distinct branches, a House of Representatives, and a Senate, each to have a negative on the other, and both to be styled the Legislature of Maine, but the people reserve to themselves power to propose laws and to enact or reject the same at the polls independent of the Legislature, and also reserve power at their own option to approve or reject at the polls any Act, bill, resolve or resolution passed by the joint action of both branches of the Legislature, and the style of their laws and Acts shall be, "Be it enacted by the people of the State of Maine."
Section 2. Number of Representatives; biennial terms; division of the State into districts for House of Representatives. The House of Representatives shall consist of 151 members, to be elected by the qualified electors, and hold their office 2 years from the day next preceding the first Wednesday in December following the general election. The Legislature which convenes in 1983 and every 10th year thereafter shall cause the State to be divided into districts for the choice of one Representative for each district. The number of Representatives shall be divided into the number of inhabitants of the State exclusive of foreigners not naturalized according to the latest Federal Decennial Census or a State Census previously ordered by the Legislature to coincide with the Federal Decennial Census, to determine a mean population figure for each Representative District. Each Representative District shall be formed of contiguous and compact territory and shall cross political subdivision lines the least number of times necessary to establish as nearly as practicable equally populated districts. Whenever the population of a municipality entitles it to more than one district, all whole districts shall be drawn within municipal boundaries. Any population remainder within the municipality shall be included in a district with contiguous territory and shall be kept intact.
Section 3. Submission of reapportionment plan to Clerk of House; Legislature's action on commission's plan. The apportionment plan of the commission established under Article IV, Part Third, Section 1-A shall be submitted to the Clerk of the House no later than 120 calendar days after the convening of the Legislature in which apportionment is required. In the preparation of legislation implementing the plan, the commission, following a unanimous decision by commission members, may adjust errors and inconsistencies in accordance with the standards set forth in this Constitution, so long as substantive changes are not made. The Legislature shall enact the submitted plan of the commission or a plan of its own by a vote of 2/3 of the Members of each House within 30 calendar days after the plan of the commission is submitted. Such action shall be subject to the Governor's approval as provided in Article IV, Part Third, Section 2.
- In the event that the Legislature shall fail to make an apportionment within 130 calendar days after convening, the Supreme Judicial Court shall, within 60 days following the period in which the Legislature is required to act, but fails to do so, make the apportionment. In making such apportionment, the Supreme Judicial Court shall take into consideration plans and briefs filed by the public with the court during the first 30 days of the period in which the court is required to apportion.
- The Supreme Judicial Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear any challenge to an apportionment law enacted by the Legislature, as registered by any citizen or group thereof. If any challenge is sustained, the Supreme Judicial Court shall make the apportionment.
Section 4. Qualifications; residency requirement. No person shall be a member of the House of Representatives, unless the person shall, at the commencement of the period for which the person is elected, have been 5 years a citizen of the United States, have arrived at the age of 21 years, have been a resident in this State 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, shall continue to be a resident in the district which that person represents.
- No person may be a candidate for election as a member of the House of Representatives unless, at the time of the nomination for placement on a primary, general or special election ballot, that person is a resident in the district which the candidate seeks to represent.
Section 5. Election of Representatives; lists of votes delivered forthwith; lists of votes examined by Governor; summons of persons who appear to be elected; lists shall be laid before the House. The meetings within this State for the choice of Representatives shall be warned in due course of law by qualified officials of the several towns and cities 7 days at least before the election, and the election officials of the various towns and cities shall preside impartially at such meetings, receive the votes of all the qualified electors, sort, count and declare them in open meeting; and a list of the persons voted for shall be formed, with the number of votes for each person against that person's name. Cities and towns belonging to any Representative District shall hold their meetings at the same time in the respective cities and towns; and such meetings shall be notified, held and regulated, the votes received, sorted, counted and declared in the same manner. Fair copies of the lists of votes shall be attested by the municipal officers and the clerks of the cities and towns and the city and town clerks respectively shall cause the same to be delivered into the office of the Secretary of State forthwith. The Governor shall examine the returned copies of such lists and 7 days before the first Wednesday of December biennially, shall issue a summons to such persons as shall appear to have been elected by a plurality of all votes returned, to attend and take their seats. All such lists shall be laid before the House of Representatives on the first Wednesday of December biennially, and they shall finally determine who are elected.
Section 6. Vacancies. Whenever the seat of a member shall be vacated by death, resignation, or otherwise the vacancy may be filled by a new election.
Section 7. To choose own officers. The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker, clerk and other officers.
Section 8. Power of impeachment. The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Section 1. Number of Senators. The Senate shall consist of an odd number of Senators, not less than 31 nor more than 35, elected at the same time and for the same term as Representatives by the qualified electors of the districts into which the State shall be from time to time divided.
Section 2. Submission of reapportionment plan to Secretary of Senate; Legislature's action on commission's plan; division of State into Senatorial Districts; division by Supreme Judicial Court. The Legislature which shall convene in the year 1983 and every tenth year thereafter shall cause the State to be divided into districts for the choice of a Senator from each district, using the same method as provided in Article IV, Part First, Section 2 for apportionment of Representative Districts.
- The apportionment plan of the commission established under Article IV, Part Third, Section 1-A shall be submitted to the Secretary of the Senate no later than 120 calendar days after the convening of the Legislature in which apportionment is required. In the preparation of legislation implementing the plan, the commission, following a unanimous decision by commission members, may adjust errors and inconsistencies in accordance with the standards set forth in this Constitution, so long as substantive changes are not made. The Legislature shall enact the submitted plan of the commission or a plan of its own by a vote of 2/3 of the Members of each House, within 30 calendar days after the plan of the commission is submitted. Such action shall be subject to the Governor's approval as provided in Article IV, Part Third, Section 2.
- In the event that the Legislature shall fail to make an apportionment within 130 days after convening, the Supreme Judicial Court shall, within 60 days following the period in which the Legislature is required to act but fails to do so, make the apportionment. In making such apportionment, the Supreme Judicial Court shall take into consideration plans and briefs filed by the public with the court during the first 30 days of the period in which the court is required to apportion.
- The Supreme Judicial Court shall have original jurisdiction to hear any challenge to an apportionment law enacted by the Legislature, as registered by any citizen or group thereof. If any challenge is sustained, the Supreme Judicial Court shall make the apportionment.
Section 3. Election of Senators; lists of votes delivered forthwith. The meetings within this State for the election of Senators shall be notified, held and regulated and the votes received, sorted, counted, declared and recorded, in the same manner as those for Representatives. Fair copies of the lists of votes shall be attested by the clerks of the cities and towns or other duly authorized officials and sealed up in open meetings and such officials shall cause said lists to be delivered into the office of the Secretary of State forthwith.
Section 4. Lists of votes examined by Governor; summons to persons who appear to be elected. The Governor shall, as soon as may be, examine the copies of such lists, and at least 7 days before the said first Wednesday of December, issue a summons to such persons, as shall appear to be elected by a plurality of the votes in each senatorial district, to attend that day and take their seats.
Section 5. Determination of Senators elected; procedure for filling vacancies. The Senate shall, on said first Wednesday of December, biennially determine who is elected by a plurality of votes to be Senator in each district. All vacancies in the Senate arising from death, resignation, removal from the State or like causes, and also vacancies, if any, which may occur because of the failure of any district to elect by a plurality of votes the Senator to which said district shall be entitled shall be filled by an immediate election in the unrepresented district. The Governor shall issue a proclamation therefore and therein fix the time of such election.
Section 6. Qualifications. The Senators shall be 25 years of age at the commencement of the term, for which they are elected, and in all other respects their qualifications shall be the same as those of the Representatives.
Section 7. To try impeachments; limitation of judgment of impeachment; party liable to be tried and punished in court. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments, and when sitting for that purpose shall be on oath or affirmation, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of 2/3 of the members present. Their judgment, however, shall not extend farther than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold or enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under this State. But the party, whether convicted or acquitted, shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.
Section 8. To choose own officers. The Senate shall choose their President, Secretary and other officers.
Section 1. To meet annually; power of Legislature to convene itself at other times; extent of legislative power. The Legislature shall convene on the first Wednesday of December following the general election in what shall be designated the first regular session of the Legislature; and shall further convene on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday of January in the subsequent even-numbered year in what shall be designated the second regular session of the Legislature; provided, however, that the business of the second regular session of the Legislature shall be limited to budgetary matters; legislation in the Governor's call; legislation of an emergency nature admitted by the Legislature; legislation referred to committees for study and report by the Legislature in the first regular session; and legislation presented to the Legislature by written petition of the electors under the provisions of Article IV, Part Third, Section 18. The Legislature shall enact appropriate statutory limits on the length of the first regular session and of the second regular session. The Legislature may convene at such other times on the call of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, with the consent of a majority of the Members of the Legislature of each political party, all Members of the Legislature having been first polled. The Legislature, with the exceptions hereinafter stated, shall have full power to make and establish all reasonable laws and regulations for the defense and benefit of the people of this State, not repugnant to this Constitution, nor to that of the United States.
Section 1-A. Legislature to establish Apportionment Commission; number of quorum; compensation of commission members; commission's budget; division among political parties. A Legislature which is required to apportion the districts of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or both, under Article IV, Part First, Section 2, or Article IV, Part Second, Section 2, shall establish, within the first 3 calendar days after the convening of that Legislature, a commission to develop in accordance with the requirements of this Constitution, a plan for apportioning the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both.
- The commission shall be composed of 3 members from the political party holding the largest number of seats in the House of Representatives, who shall be appointed by the Speaker; 3 members from the political party holding the majority of the remainder of the seats in the House of Representatives, who shall be appointed by the floor leader of that party in the House; 2 members of the party holding the largest number of seats in the Senate, who shall be appointed by the President of the Senate; 2 members of the political party holding the majority of the remainder of the seats in the Senate, to be appointed by the floor leader of that party in the Senate; the chairperson of each of the 2 major political parties in the State or their designated representatives; and 3 members from the public generally, one to be selected by each group of members of the commission representing the same political party, and the third to be selected by the other 2 public members. The Speaker of the House shall be responsible for organizing the commission and shall be chairperson pro tempore thereof until a permanent chairperson is selected by the commission members from among their own number. No action may be taken without a quorum of 8 being present. The commission shall hold public hearings on any plan for apportionment prior to submitting such plan to the Legislature.
- Public members of the commission shall receive the same rate of per diem that is paid to Legislators for every day's attendance at special sessions of the Legislature as defined by law. All members of the commission shall be reimbursed for actual travel expenses incurred in carrying out the business of the commission. The Legislature which is required to apportion shall establish a budget for the apportioning commission within the state budget document in the fiscal year previous to the fiscal year during which the apportioning commission is required to convene and shall appropriate sufficient funds for the commission to satisfactorily perform its duties and responsibilities. The budget shall include sufficient funds to compensate the chairperson of the commission and the chairperson's staff. The remainder of the appropriation shall be made available equally among the political parties represented on the commission to provide travel expenses, incidental expenses and compensation for commission members and for partisan staff and operations.
Section 2. Bills to be signed by the Governor; proceedings, in case the Governor disapproves; allowing the Governor 10 days to act on legislation. Every bill or resolution, having the force of law, to which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary, except on a question of adjournment, which shall have passed both Houses, shall be presented to the Governor, and if the Governor approves, the Governor shall sign it; if not, the Governor shall return it with objections to the House in which it shall have originated, which shall enter the objections at large on its journals, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration, 2/3 of that House shall agree to pass it, it shall be sent together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall be reconsidered, and, if approved by 2/3 of that House, it shall have the same effect as if it had been signed by the Governor; but in all such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be taken by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons, voting for and against the bill or resolution, shall be entered on the journals of both Houses respectively. If the bill or resolution shall not be returned by the Governor within 10 days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to the Governor, it shall have the same force and effect as if the Governor had signed it unless the Legislature by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall have such force and effect, unless returned within 3 days after the next meeting of the same Legislature which enacted the bill or resolution; if there is no such next meeting of the Legislature which enacted the bill or resolution, the bill or resolution shall not be a law.
Section 2-A. Line-item veto of dollar amounts appearing in appropriation or allocation sections of legislative documents. The Governor has power to disapprove any dollar amount appearing in an appropriation section or allocation section, or both, of an enacted legislative document. Unless the Governor exercises the line-item veto power authorized in this section no later than one day after receiving for signature the enacted legislation, the powers of the Governor as set out in section 2 apply to the entire enacted legislation. For any disapproved dollar amount, the Governor shall replace the dollar amount with one that does not result in an increase in an appropriation or allocation or a decrease in a deappropriation or deallocation. When disapproving a dollar amount pursuant to this section, the Governor may not propose an increase in an appropriation or allocation elsewhere in the legislative document. The Governor shall specify the distinct dollar amounts that are revised, and the part or parts of the legislative document not specifically revised become law. The dollar amounts in an appropriation or allocation that have been disapproved become law as revised by the Governor, unless passed over the Governor's veto by the Legislature as the dollar amounts originally appeared in the enacted bill as presented to the Governor; except that, notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution for dollar amounts vetoed pursuant to this section, a majority of all the elected members in each House is sufficient to override the veto, and each dollar amount vetoed must be voted on separately to override the veto. Except as provided in this section, the Governor may not disapprove, omit or modify any language allocated to the statutes or appearing in an unallocated section of law.
Section 3. Each House the judge of its elections; majority, a quorum. Each House shall be the judge of the elections and qualifications of its own members, and a majority shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House shall provide.
Section 4. May punish and expel members. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of 2/3, expel a member, but not a 2nd time for the same cause.
Section 5. Shall keep a journal; yeas and nays. Each House shall keep a journal, and from time to time publish its proceedings, except such parts as in their judgment may require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question, shall, at the desire of 1/5 of those present, be entered on the journals.
Section 6. May punish for contempt. Each House, during its session, may punish by imprisonment any person, not a member, for disrespectful or disorderly behavior in its presence, for obstructing any of its proceedings, threatening, assaulting or abusing any of its members for anything said, done, or doing in either House; provided, that no imprisonment shall extend beyond the period of the same session.
Section 7. Compensation; traveling expenses. The Senators and Representatives shall receive such compensation, as shall be established by law; but no law increasing their compensation shall take effect during the existence of the Legislature, which enacted it. The expenses of the members of the House of Representatives in traveling to the Legislature, and returning therefrom, once in each week of each session and no more, shall be paid by the State out of the public treasury to every member, who shall seasonably attend, in the judgment of the House, and does not depart therefrom without leave.
Section 8. Members exempt from arrest; freedom of debate. The Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at, going to, and returning from each session of the Legislature, and no member shall be liable to answer for anything spoken in debate in either House, in any court or place elsewhere.
Section 9. Either House may originate bills; revenue bills. Bills, orders or resolutions, may originate in either House, and may be altered, amended or rejected in the other; but all bills for raising a revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose amendments as in other cases; provided, that they shall not, under color of amendment, introduce any new matter, which does not relate to raising a revenue.
Section 10. Members not to be appointed to certain offices. No Senator or Representative shall, during the term for which the Senator or Representative shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office of profit under this State, which requires the approval of the Legislature for appointment or which shall have been created, or the emoluments of which increased during such term, except such offices as may be filled by elections by the people.
Section 11. Persons disqualified to be members. No member of Congress, nor person holding any office under the United States (post officers excepted) nor office of profit under this State, justices of the peace, notaries public, coroners and officers of the militia excepted, shall have a seat in either House while a member of Congress, or continuing in such office.
Section 12. Adjournments. Neither House shall during the session, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than 2 days, nor to any other place than that in which the Houses shall be sitting.
Section 13. Special legislation. The Legislature shall, from time to time, provide, as far as practicable, by general laws, for all matters usually appertaining to special or private legislation.
Section 14. Corporations, formed under general laws. Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State.
Section 15. Constitutional conventions. The Legislature shall, by a 2/3 concurrent vote of both branches, have the power to call constitutional conventions, for the purpose of amending this Constitution.
Section 16. Acts become effective in 90 days after recess; exception; emergency bill defined. No Act or joint resolution of the Legislature, except such orders or resolutions as pertain solely to facilitating the performance of the business of the Legislature, of either branch, or of any committee or officer thereof, or appropriate money therefore or for the payment of salaries fixed by law, shall take effect until 90 days after the recess of the session of the Legislature in which it was passed, unless in case of emergency, which with the facts constituting the emergency shall be expressed in the preamble of the Act, the Legislature shall, by a vote of 2/3 of all the members elected to each House, otherwise direct. An emergency bill shall include only such measures as are immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety; and shall not include (1) an infringement of the right of home rule for municipalities, (2) a franchise or a license to a corporation or an individual to extend longer than one year, or (3) provision for the sale or purchase or renting for more than 5 years of real estate.
Section 17. Proceedings for people's veto.
- 1. Petition procedure; petition for people's veto. Upon written petition of electors, the number of which shall not be less than 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of such petition, and addressed to the Governor and filed in the office of the Secretary of State by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on or before the 90th day after the recess of the Legislature, or if such 90th day is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on the preceding day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, requesting that one or more Acts, bills, resolves or resolutions, or part or parts thereof, passed by the Legislature but not then in effect by reason of the provisions of the preceding section, be referred to the people, such Acts, bills, resolves, or resolutions or part or parts thereof as are specified in such petition shall not take effect until 30 days after the Governor shall have announced by public proclamation that the same have been ratified by a majority of the electors voting thereon at a statewide or general election.
- 2. Effect of referendum. The effect of any Act, bill, resolve or resolution or part or parts thereof as are specified in such petition shall be suspended upon the filing of such petition. If it is later finally determined, in accordance with any procedure enacted by the Legislature pursuant to the Constitution, that such petition was invalid, such Act, bill, resolve or resolution or part or parts thereof shall then take effect upon the day following such final determination.
- 3. Referral to electors; proclamation by Governor. As soon as it appears that the effect of any Act, bill, resolve, or resolution or part or parts thereof has been suspended by petition in manner aforesaid, the Governor by public proclamation shall give notice thereof and of the time when such measure is to be voted on by the people, which shall be at the next statewide or general election, whichever comes first, not less than 60 days after such proclamation. If the Governor fails to order such measure to be submitted to the people at the next statewide or general election, the Secretary of State shall, by proclamation, order such measure to be submitted to the people at such an election and such order shall be sufficient to enable the people to vote.
Section 18. Direct initiative of legislation.
- 1. Petition procedure. The electors may propose to the Legislature for its consideration any bill, resolve or resolution, including bills to amend or repeal emergency legislation but not an amendment of the State Constitution, by written petition addressed to the Legislature or to either branch thereof and filed in the office of the Secretary of State by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on or before the 50th day after the date of convening of the Legislature in first regular session or on or before the 25th day after the date of convening of the Legislature in second regular session, except that the written petition may not be filed in the office of the Secretary of State later than 18 months after the date the petition form was furnished or approved by the Secretary of State. If the applicable deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period runs until the hour of 5:00 p.m., of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
- 2. Referral to electors unless enacted by the Legislature without change; number of signatures necessary on direct initiative petitions; dating signatures on petitions; competing measures. For any measure thus proposed by electors, the number of signatures shall not be less than 10% of the total vote for Governor cast in the last gubernatorial election preceding the filing of such petition. The date each signature was made shall be written next to the signature on the petition. A signature is not valid if it is dated more than one year prior to the date that the petition was filed in the office of the Secretary of State. The measure thus proposed, unless enacted without change by the Legislature at the session at which it is presented, shall be submitted to the electors together with any amended form, substitute, or recommendation of the Legislature, and in such manner that the people can choose between the competing measures or reject both. When there are competing bills and neither receives a majority of the votes given for or against both, the one receiving the most votes shall at the next statewide election to be held not less than 60 days after the first vote thereon be submitted by itself if it receives more than 1/3 of the votes given for and against both. If the measure initiated is enacted by the Legislature without change, it shall not go to a referendum vote unless in pursuance of a demand made in accordance with the preceding section. The Legislature may order a special election on any measure that is subject to a vote of the people.
- 3. Timing of elections; proclamation by Governor. The Governor shall, by proclamation, order any measure proposed to the Legislature as herein provided, and not enacted by the Legislature without change, referred to the people at an election to be held in November of the year in which the petition is filed. If the Governor fails to order a measure proposed to the Legislature and not enacted without change to be submitted to the people at such an election by proclamation within 10 days after the recess of the Legislature to which the measure was proposed, the Secretary of State shall, by proclamation, order such measure to be submitted to the people at an election as requested, and such order shall be sufficient to enable the people to vote.
Section 19. Effective date of measures approved by people; veto power limited. Any measure referred to the people and approved by a majority of the votes given thereon shall, unless a later date is specified in said measure, take effect and become a law in 30 days after the Governor has made public proclamation of the result of the vote on said measure, which the Governor shall do within 10 days after the vote thereon has been canvassed and determined; provided, however, that any such measure which entails expenditure in an amount in excess of available and unappropriated state funds shall remain inoperative until 45 days after the next convening of the Legislature in regular session, unless the measure provides for raising new revenues adequate for its operation. The veto power of the Governor shall not extend to any measure approved by vote of the people, and any measure initiated by the people and passed by the Legislature without change, if vetoed by the Governor and if the veto is sustained by the Legislature shall be referred to the people to be voted on at the next general election. The Legislature may enact measures expressly conditioned upon the people's ratification by a referendum vote.
Section 20. Meaning of words "electors," "people," "recess of Legislature," "statewide election," "measure," "circulator," and "written petition"; written petitions for people's veto; written petitions for direct initiative. As used in any of the 3 preceding sections or in this section the words "electors" and "people" mean the electors of the State qualified to vote for Governor; "recess of the Legislature" means the adjournment without day of a session of the Legislature; "statewide election" means any election held throughout the State on a particular day; "measure" means an Act, bill, resolve or resolution proposed by the people, or 2 or more such, or part or parts of such, as the case may be; "circulator" means a person who solicits signatures for written petitions, and who must be a resident of this State and whose name must appear on the voting list of the city, town or plantation of the circulator's residence as qualified to vote for Governor; "written petition" means one or more petitions written or printed, or partly written and partly printed, with the original signatures of the petitioners attached, verified as to the authenticity of the signatures by the oath of the circulator that all of the signatures to the petition were made in the presence of the circulator and that to the best of the circulator's knowledge and belief each signature is the signature of the person whose name it purports to be, and accompanied by the certificate of the official authorized by law to maintain the voting list or to certify signatures on petitions for voters on the voting list of the city, town or plantation in which the petitioners reside that their names appear on the voting list of the city, town or plantation of the official as qualified to vote for Governor. The oath of the circulator must be sworn to in the presence of a person authorized by law to administer oaths. Written petitions for a people's veto pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 17 must be submitted to the appropriate officials of cities, towns or plantations, or state election officials as authorized by law, or state election officials as authorized by law, for determination of whether the petitioners are qualified voters by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on the 5th day before the petition must be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, or, if such 5th day is a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday, by 5:00 p.m., on the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday. Written petitions for a direct initiative pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 18 must be submitted to the appropriate officials of cities, towns or plantations, or state election officials as authorized by law, for determination of whether the petitioners are qualified voters by the hour of 5:00 p.m., on the 10th day before the petition must be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, or, if such 10th day is a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday, by 5:00 p.m., on the next day which is not a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday. Such officials must complete the certification of only those petitions submitted by these deadlines and must return them to the circulators or their agents within 2 days for a petition for a people's veto and within 5 days for a petition for a direct initiative, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays excepted, of the date on which such petitions were submitted to them. Signatures on petitions not submitted to the appropriate local or state officials by these deadlines may not be certified. The petition shall set forth the full text of the measure requested or proposed. Petition forms shall be furnished or approved by the Secretary of State upon written application signed and notarized and submitted to the office of the Secretary of State by a resident of this State whose name must appear on the voting list of the city, town or plantation of that resident as qualified to vote for Governor. The full text of a measure submitted to a vote of the people under the provisions of the Constitution need not be printed on the official ballots, but, until otherwise provided by the Legislature, the Secretary of State shall prepare the ballots in such form as to present the question or questions concisely and intelligibly.
Section 21. City council of any city may establish direct initiative and people's veto. The city council of any city may establish the direct initiative and people's veto for the electors of such city in regard to its municipal affairs, provided that the ordinance establishing and providing the method of exercising such direct initiative and people's veto shall not take effect until ratified by vote of a majority of the electors of said city, voting thereon at a municipal election. Provided, however, that the Legislature may at any time provide a uniform method for the exercise of the initiative and referendum in municipal affairs.
Section 22. Election officers and officials, how governed. Until the Legislature shall enact further laws not inconsistent with the Constitution for applying the people's veto and direct initiative, the election officers and other officials shall be governed by the provisions of this Constitution and of the general law, supplemented by such reasonable action as may be necessary to render the preceding sections self executing. The Legislature may enact laws not inconsistent with the Constitution to establish procedures for determination of the validity of written petitions. Such laws shall include provision for judicial review of any determination, to be completed within 100 days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State.
Section 23. Municipalities reimbursed annually. The Legislature shall annually reimburse each municipality from state tax sources for not less than 50% of the property tax revenue loss suffered by that municipality during the previous calendar year because of the statutory property tax exemptions or credits enacted after April 1, 1978. The Legislature shall enact appropriate legislation to carry out the intent of this section. This section shall allow, but not require, reimbursement for statutory property tax exemptions or credits for unextracted minerals.
Article V: Executive Power
This article has three parts:
This article describes the powers, election, and duties of the Governor, Secretary of State and State Treasurer. The article gives to the Governor the "the supreme executive power of this State."Also the Governor is given the title of the "commander in chief of the army and navy of the State, and of the militia, except when the same are called into the actual service of the United States."
The article also describes the compensation of the Governor and their power to appoint members of the judiciary who not directly elected, as well as civil and military officers.
Section 1: Election. The Treasurer shall be chosen biennially, at the first session of the Legislature, by joint ballot of the Senators, and Representatives in convention.
Section 1-A. Succession to the office of Treasurer. If a vacancy occurs in the office of Treasurer of State, the deputy treasurer of state shall act as the Treasurer of State until a Treasurer of State is elected by the Legislature during the current session if in session, or at the next regular or special session.
Section 2. Bond. The Treasurer shall, before entering on the duties of that office, give bond to the State with sureties, to the satisfaction of the Legislature, for the faithful discharge of that trust.
Section 3: Not to engage in trade. The Treasurer shall not, during the treasurer's continuance in office, engage in any business of trade or commerce, or as a broker, nor as an agent or factor for any merchant or trader.
No money drawn
Section 4: No money drawn except upon appropriation or allocation. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, except in consequence of appropriations or allocations authorized by law.
Section 5: Bonding regulations; prohibiting use of proceeds from sale of bonds to fund current expenditures. The Legislature shall enact general law prohibiting the use of proceeds from the sale of bonds to fund current expenditures and shall provide by appropriation for the payment of interest upon and installments of principal of all bonded debt created on behalf of the State as the same shall become due and payable. If at any time the Legislature shall fail to make any such appropriation, the Treasurer of State shall set apart from the first General Fund revenues thereafter received a sum sufficient to pay such interest or installments of principal and shall so apply the moneys thus set apart. The Treasurer of State may be required to set apart and apply such revenues at the suit of any holder of such bonds. The prohibition on use of proceeds from the sale of bonds to fund current expenditures shall only apply to those bonds authorized on or after July 1, 1977.
This article establishes and describes the powers of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and such other courts as the Legislature shall from time to time establish." Also the length of office is set - 7 years, etc. Also judges and registers of probate are to be elected by voters in their respective counties.
This article also says that the Justices of the Judgepedia:Maine Supreme Judicial Court|Maine Supreme Judicial Court "shall be obliged to give their opinion upon important questions of law, and upon solemn occasions, when required by the Governor, Senate or House of Representatives." Such an opinion is called an Advisory opinion.
Section 1: Courts. The judicial power of this State shall be vested in a Supreme Judicial Court, and such other courts as the Legislature shall from time to time establish.
Section 2: Compensation. The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Judges of other courts shall, at stated times receive a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office; but they shall receive no other fee or reward for their services as Justices or Judges.
Section 3: To give opinion when required by Governor or either Branch of the Legislature. The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court shall be obliged to give their opinion upon important questions of law, and upon solemn occasions, when required by the Governor, Senate or House of Representatives.
Section 4: Tenure of judicial officers; 6-month holdover period. All judicial officers appointed by the Governor shall hold their offices for the term of 7 years from the time of their respective appointments (unless sooner removed by impeachment or by address of both branches of the Legislature to the executive, provided further that justices of the peace may be removed from office in such manner as the Legislature may provide); provided, however, that a judicial officer whose term of office has expired or who has reached mandatory retirement age, as provided by statute, may continue to hold office until the expiration of an additional period not to exceed 6 months or until the successor to the judicial officer is appointed, whichever occurs first in time.
Section 5: Limitation on holding other office. No Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court or any other court shall hold office under the United States or any other state, nor under this State, except as justice of the peace or as member of the Judicial Council.
Section 6: Judges and registers of probate, election and tenure; vacancies. Judges and registers of probate shall be elected by the people of their respective counties, by a plurality of the votes given in, at the biennial election on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, and shall hold their offices for 4 years, commencing on the first day of January next after their election. Vacancies occurring in said offices by death, resignation or otherwise, shall be filled by election in manner aforesaid at the November election, next after their occurrence; and in the meantime, the Governor may fill said vacancies by appointment, and the persons so appointed shall hold their offices until the first day of January next after the election aforesaid.
Section 6 of Article VI has been repealed by Amendment which by virtue of Chapter 77 of the Resolves of the One Hundred and Third Legislature, 1967 "shall become effective at such time as the Legislature by proper enactment shall establish a different Probate Court system with full-time judges."
Article VII is about the military. It describes the state militia, now known as the Maine National Guard. This section also describes the Adjutant General of the Maine National Guard who is appointed by the Governor.
Notably, Article VII says that certain classes of people are exempted, such as the Quakers and Shakers, but otherwise "able-bodied" persons between the ages of 18 and 45 are not exempted from service in the militia.
Section 1: Officers, how appointed. All commissioned officers of the militia shall be appointed and commissioned by the Governor, from such persons as are qualified by law to hold such offices.
Section 2: Qualifications and selection. The Legislature shall, by law, designate the qualifications necessary for holding a commission in the militia and shall prescribe the mode of selection of officers for the several grades.
Section 3: Adjutant General. The Adjutant General shall be appointed by the Governor. But the Adjutant General shall also perform the duties of quartermaster general and paymaster general until otherwise directed by law.
Section 4: Standard of organization, armament and discipline. The organization, armament and discipline of the militia and of the military and naval units thereof shall be the same as that which is now or may hereafter be prescribed by the laws and regulations of the United States; and it shall be the duty of the Governor to issue from time to time such orders and regulations and to adopt such other means of administration, as shall maintain the prescribed standard of organization, armament and discipline; and such orders, regulations and means adopted shall have the full force and effect of the law.
Section 5: Persons exempt from military duty. Persons of the denominations of Quakers and Shakers, Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court, Ministers of the Gospel and persons exempted by the laws of the United States may be exempted from military duty, but no other able-bodied person of the age of 18 and under the age of 45 years, excepting officers of the militia who have been honorably discharged, shall be so exempted.
Article VIII: Education and Home Rule
Article VIII has two parts, each with two sections. Part 1 says the legislature shall require towns to support public schools since "a general diffusion of the advantages of education being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people." Also authority is granted to "pledge the credit of the State and to issue bonds for loans to Maine students in higher education and their parents." Municipalities are granted the power to amend their charters and to issue bonds for industrial purposes.
Duty of towns to support schools
Section 1. Legislature shall require towns to support public schools; duty of Legislature. A general diffusion of the advantages of education being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people; to promote this important object, the Legislature are authorized, and it shall be their duty to require, the several towns to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public schools; and it shall further be their duty to encourage and suitably endow, from time to time, as the circumstances of the people may authorize, all academies, colleges and seminaries of learning within the State; provided, that no donation, grant or endowment shall at any time be made by the Legislature to any literary institution now established, or which may hereafter be established, unless, at the time of making such endowment, the Legislature of the State shall have the right to grant any further powers to alter, limit or restrain any of the powers vested in any such literary institution, as shall be judged necessary to promote the best interests thereof.
Bonds for education loans
Section 2. Authority to pledge the credit of the State and to issue bonds for loans to Maine students in higher education and their parents. For the purpose of assisting the youth of Maine to achieve the required levels of learning and to develop their intellectual and mental capacities, the Legislature, by proper enactment, may authorize the credit of the State to be loaned to secure funds for loans to Maine students attending institutions of higher education, wherever situated, and to parents of these students. Funds shall be obtained by the issuance of state bonds, when authorized by the Governor, but the amount of bonds issued and outstanding shall not at one time exceed in the aggregate $4,000,000. Funds loaned shall be on such terms and conditions as the Legislature shall authorize.
Municipal charter amendment
Section 1. Power of municipalities to amend their charters. The inhabitants of any municipality shall have the power to alter and amend their charters on all matters, not prohibited by Constitution or general law, which are local and municipal in character. The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure by which the municipality may so act.
Section 2. Construction of buildings for industrial use. For the purposes of fostering, encouraging and assisting the physical location, settlement and resettlement of industrial and manufacturing enterprises within the physical boundaries of any municipality, the registered voters of that municipality may, by majority vote, authorize the issuance of notes or bonds in the name of the municipality for the purpose of purchasing land and interests therein or constructing buildings for industrial use, to be leased or sold by the municipality to any responsible industrial firm or corporation.
This section sets the oath of office, the date of elections, and allows for impeachment. It also states that all "taxes upon real and personal estate, assessed by authority of this State, shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof." However the Legislature is allowed to set special assessments for the following types of property, including: certain farms and agricultural lands, timberlands and woodlands, open space lands, and waterfront land that supports commercial fishing.
Article X has 7 sections. It describes how the Maine Constitution can be amended, saying that any such amendments may not be "repugnant to this Constitution". Text of Article X:
Section 1. (See Section 7 and Note.)
Section 2. (See Section 7 and Note.)
Section 3. Laws now in force continue until repealed. All laws now in force in this State, and not repugnant to this Constitution, shall remain, and be in force, until altered or repealed by the Legislature, or shall expire by their own limitation.
Section 4. Amendments to Constitution. The Legislature, whenever 2/3 of both Houses shall deem it necessary, may propose amendments to this Constitution; and when any amendments shall be so agreed upon, a resolution shall be passed and sent to the selectmen of the several towns, and the assessors of the several plantations, empowering and directing them to notify the inhabitants of their respective towns and plantations, in the manner prescribed by law, at the next biennial meetings in the month of November, or to meet in the manner prescribed by law for calling and holding biennial meetings of said inhabitants for the election of Senators and Representatives, on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November following the passage of said resolve, to give in their votes on the question, whether such amendment shall be made; and if it shall appear that a majority of the inhabitants voting on the question are in favor of such amendment, it shall become a part of this Constitution.
Section 5. (See Section 7 and Note.)
Section 6. Constitution to be arranged by Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court; Constitution to be enrolled and printed with laws; supreme law of the State. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court shall arrange the Constitution, as amended, under appropriate titles and in proper articles, parts and sections, omitting all sections, clauses and words not in force and making no other changes in the provisions or language thereof, and shall submit the same to the Legislature; and such arrangement of the Constitution shall be made and submitted to the regular session of the Legislature in 1973 and every 10 years thereafter unless sooner authorized by the Legislature; and the draft and arrangement, when approved by the Legislature, shall be enrolled on parchment and deposited in the office of the Secretary of State; and printed copies thereof shall be prefixed to the books containing the Revised Statutes of the State. And the Constitution, with the amendments made thereto, in accordance with the provisions thereof, shall be the supreme law of the State.
Section 7. Original sections 1, 2, 5, of art. x not to be printed; section 5 in full force. Sections 1, 2 and 5, of Article 10 of the Constitution, shall hereafter be omitted in any printed copies thereof prefixed to the laws of the State; but this shall not impair the validity of acts under those sections; and said section 5 shall remain in full force, as part of the Constitution, according to the stipulations of said section, with the same effect as if contained in said printed copies.
Note: The omitted sections may be found in the text of the Constitution prefixed to the official publication of the laws passed by the first Legislature of the State, which convened May 31, 1820, pages xxiv-xxvii, and pages xxviii-xxxi; in the text of the Constitution prefixed to the publication of the Laws of Maine, authorized by Resolve of March 8, 1821, Volume 1, pages 41-50, and in such text prefixed to the Revised Statutes of 1841, 1857 and 1871.
Amendments to the Constitution
The Maine Constitution may be amended in two ways:
- According to Section 15 of Part III of Article IV, the legislature can, by a 2/3 concurrent vote of both branches, call a constitutional convention. Maine has never called such a convention; however, two "constitutional commissions" were impanelled, one in 1876 and one in 1962, but neither led to significant changes.
- According to Section 4 of Article X, if the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine State Senate both vote by at least a 2/3rds majority, a proposed amendment to the constitution can be placed on the statewide ballot on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November after the state legislature acts. Amendments proposed in this way become part of the constitution if they are approved by a simple majority vote of the state's electorate.
The Maine Constitution of 1819 was the first state constitution in the United States that only required one legislative proposal followed by a vote of the people in order to amend itself. All other state constitutions up to Maine's required two legislative actions.
In 1818, Connecticut was the first state to allow the people to weigh in on a new amendment via a statewide vote; however, to amend the Connecticut Constitution, two legislative actions were still required--as had been the case with all previous state constitutions--prior to the vote of the people. The reason for two legislative actions was to test popular sentiment with reference to a proposed amendment, but the need for doing this was reduced when the proposed constitutional amendment was submitted to a direct vote of the people.
Since 1818, most states adopting new constitutions have followed either the Connecticut or Maine plans by providing for the proposal of amendments either by two successive legislatures or simply by one legislature, with the amendment becoming effective upon the subsequent approval of the people.
In 1997 and 2000, the Maine legislature referred to the ballot, both times unsuccessfully, attempts to have a portion of the Constitution repealed that the legislature deemed to probably be unconstitutional:
- Maine Repeal Mental Illness Provision (1997)
- Maine Repeal of Mental Illness Voting Restrictions Amendment (2000).
After the voters chose not to vote to remove the controversial provision from the constitution, the Disability Rights Center of Maine filed a lawsuit in federal court in Maine on behalf of three individuals who were under guardianship because of mental illness challenging the constitutionality of the relevant part of the Maine Constitution. In federal court, the provision in the constitution was found to violate both the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court determined in August 2001 that the constitutional provision that forbade people who were mentally ill and under guardianship from voting unfairly (and unconstitutionally) targeted "a subset of mentally ill citizens based on a stereotype rather than any actual, relevant incapacity.",
- Constitution of the State of Maine
- Constitutional amendments from 1911-present.
- Downloadable Constitution (PDF)
- Some historical notes on the Maine Constitution
- Subject matter index to the Maine Constitution
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Constitutionalism of the American States, Kenneth Palmer and Jonathan Thomas, University of Missouri Press, 2008
- ↑ The Referendum in America, by Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer, published by Charles Scribner & Sons, 1900
- ↑ Who wrote the Constitution for Maine?
- ↑ The revision and amendment of state constitutions, Walter Fairleigh Dodd, John Hopkins Press, 1910
- ↑ Text of "Doe v. Rowe", the August 2001 federal ruling invaliding Maine's constitutional requirement prohibiting mentally ill under guardianship from voting