Maine State Senate

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Maine State Senate

Seal of Maine.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Partisan control:   Republican Party
Term limits:   4 terms (8 years)
2015 session start:   December 3, 2014
Website:   Official Senate Page
Senate President:   Michael Thibodeau (R)
Majority Leader:   Garrett Mason (R)
Minority Leader:   Justin Alfond (D)
Members:  35
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Article IV--Part Third, Maine Constitution
Salary:   $13,526/year Sess. 1, $9,661/year Sess. 2 + per diem
Last Election:  November 4, 2014 (35 seats)
Next election:  November 8, 2016 (35 seats)
Redistricting:  Maine Legislature has control
The Maine State Senate is the upper house of the Maine Legislature. The Senate consists of 35 members representing an equal number of districts across the state. Unlike the Maine House of Representatives, the Senate does not set aside non-voting seats for Native tribes. Members of the Maine State Senate serve two-year terms with term limits.[1] Each member represents an average of 37,953 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[2] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 36,426 residents.[3]

The Senate meets at the Maine State House in Augusta.

As of May 2015, Maine is one of 19 states that is under divided government and is therefore not one of the state government trifectas.

See also: Maine State Legislature, Maine House of Representatives, Maine Governor


Article IV, Part Third of the Maine Constitution establishes when the Maine State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 1 of the Part states that, following a legislative election, the Legislature is to convene its first regular session on the first Wednesday of December. The second regular session of the legislature is to convene in the next even-numbered year. This second session is to convene on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday in January. Section 1 also instructs the Legislature to enact statutory limits on the length of its regular sessions.

Section 1 also establishes the procedures for convening special sessions of the Legislature. A special session can be convened by the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House, with the consent of a majority of legislators from each political party.


See also: Dates of 2015 state legislative sessions

In 2015, the Legislature is projected to be in session from December 3, 2014 through June 17, 2015.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2015 legislative session include the state economy, welfare reform and energy policy.[4]


See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions

In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through May 2.

Major issues

Major issues during the 2014 legislative session included Medicaid expansion vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage (R) last session and welfare reform.[5]


See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions

In 2013, the Legislature was in session from December 5, 2012 through July 10, 2013.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included addressing education, energy, domestic violence, jobs and strengthening the state's economy, and a new two-year budget that's facing a $128 million deficit.[6]

Election of constitutional officers

The Maine House of Representatives voted 79-59 on June 4 to reject a proposal to allow voters to select the state’s Treasurer, Secretary of State and Attorney General. LD 1279 called for a referendum to amend the Maine State Constitution to shift the selection of these officers from the Legislature to voters.[7] The bill sponsored by Representative Andre Cushing (R) called for two-year terms for the Treasurer and Secretary of State and a four-year term for the Attorney General. Legislators currently select all three officers every two years. This legislation was blocked on June 3 by the Maine State Senate 18-16.[8]

The House and Senate votes largely followed party lines with Democratic majorities in both houses. Republican majorities in the House and Senate blocked similar legislation in 2011.[9][10]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 4 through April 14, in recess from April 14 through May 13, and adjourned May 31.

Major issues

Lawmakers faced a $221 million budget deficit. They also looked to restructure the state Medicaid system, reduce energy costs and improve charter schools.[11]


See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions

In 2011, the Senate was in session from December 1, 2010-June 28, 2011. Maine statutes required the legislature to adjourn by June 15, however, pursuant to Joint Order S.P. 520, the regular session was extended for five legislative days, slated to end on June 22, 2011.[12] However, on June 16, Governor Paul LePage ordered lawmakers home for 12 days, only to return to the statehouse for a special veto session to begin June 28.[13]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 6 to April 12.[14]

Role in state budget

See also: Maine state budget and finances
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The state operates on a biennial budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[15][16]

  1. Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
  2. State agencies submit their budget requests in September.
  3. Agency hearings are held from October through December.
  4. Public hearings are held from January through May.
  5. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in January (this deadline is extended to February for a newly elected governor).
  6. The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The biennium begins on July 1.

Maine is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[16]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget. Likewise, the state legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.[16]

Cost-benefit analyses

See also: Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative Cost-Benefit Study
Map showing results of the Pew-MacArthur cost-benefit study.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative released a report in July 2013 indicating that cost-benefit analysis in policymaking led to more effective uses of public funds. Looking at data from 2008 through 2011, the study's authors found that some states were more likely to use cost-benefit analysis, while others were facing challenges and lagging behind the rest of the nation. The challenges states faced included a lack of time, money and technical skills needed to conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses. Maine was one of 29 states with mixed results regarding the frequency and effectiveness in its use of cost-benefit analysis.[17]

Ethics and transparency

Following the Money report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[18] According to the report, Maine received a grade of C+ and a numerical score of 76, indicating that Maine was "middling" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[18]

Open States Transparency

See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Maine was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[19]



See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 10, 2014, and a general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for party candidates wishing to run in this election was March 17, 2014. The deadline for write-in candidates to run in the primary election was April 28, 2014, and the deadline for non-party candidates to run in the general election was June 2, 2014.


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate were held in Maine on November 6, 2012. A total of 35 seats were up for election. The signature filing deadline was March 15, 2012.

Maine state senators are subject to term limits and may serve no more than four two-year terms. In 2012, 10 state senators were termed-out.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate were held in Maine on November 2, 2010. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was March 15 at 5 PM-ET for Party Candidates and June 1 by 5 PM-ET for others. The primary Election Day was June 8, 2010.

Maine's state senators are elected to four-year terms. They are subject to term limits of no more than two consecutive four-year terms.

In 2010, the candidates running for state senate raised a total of $1,988,888 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were:[20]


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2008

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 10, 2008, and a general election on November 4, 2008.

During the 2008 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,854,105. The top 10 contributors were:[21]


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2006

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 13, 2006, and a general election on November 7, 2006.

During the 2006 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,990,662. The top 10 contributors were:[22]


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2004

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 8, 2004, and a general election on November 2, 2004.

During the 2004 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $2,095,278. The top 10 contributors were:[23]


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2002

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 11, 2002, and a general election on November 5, 2002.

During the 2002 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,323,033. The top 10 contributors were:[24]


See also: Maine State Senate elections, 2000

Elections for the office of Maine State Senate consisted of a primary election on June 13, 2000, and a general election on November 7, 2000.

During the 2000 election, the total of contributions to Senate candidates was $1,368,281. The top 10 contributors were:[25]


Section 6 of Part 2 of Article 4 of the Maine Constitution states, "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 4 of Part 1 of Article 4 of the Maine Constitution states, "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."


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
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If there is a vacancy in the senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat.[26][27] The Governor must call for an election and allow all political committees representing the vacant seat to set all deadlines.[28][26][27] The person elected to the seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.[29]

Term limits

See also: State legislatures with term limits

The Maine legislature is one of 15 state legislatures with term limits. Voters enacted the Maine Term Limits Act in 1993. That initiative said that Maine senators are subject to term limits of no more than four two-year terms, or a total of eight years.

The first year that the term limits enacted in 1993 impacted the ability of incumbents to run for office was in 1996.[1]



See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2013, members of the Maine legislature are paid $13,852/year (first regular session) and $9,661/year (second regular session). Legislators receive $38/day per diem for one of two options: housing or mileage and tolls. Additionally, legislators receive $32/day for meals.[30]

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 15
     Republican Party 20
Total 35

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Maine State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Maine State Senate.PNG


The President of the Senate is elected by the full body. The President is the presiding officer, whose duties include appointing all committees and a President Pro Tempore, enforce order, and vote in all cases. The President Pro Tempore serves as presiding officer when the President is absent.[31][32]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Maine State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate Michael Thibodeau Ends.png Republican
State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason Ends.png Republican
State Senate Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing Ends.png Republican
State Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Assistant Minority Leader Dawn Hill Electiondot.png Democratic

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Maine legislators assume office after the first Wednesday in December after their election.

Current members

Current members, Maine State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Peter Edgecomb Ends.png Republican 2014
2 Michael Willette Ends.png Republican 2014
3 Rodney Whittemore Ends.png Republican 2010
4 Paul T. Davis Ends.png Republican 2014
5 James Dill Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
6 David C. Burns Ends.png Republican 2012
7 Brian Langley Ends.png Republican 2010
8 Kimberley Rosen Ends.png Republican 2014
9 Geoffrey Gratwick Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
10 Andre Cushing Ends.png Republican 2012
11 Michael Thibodeau Ends.png Republican 2010
12 David Miramant Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
13 Chris Johnson Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
14 Earle McCormick Ends.png Republican 2014
15 Roger Katz Ends.png Republican 2010
16 Scott Cyrway Ends.png Republican 2014
17 Thomas Saviello Ends.png Republican 2010
18 John Patrick Electiondot.png Democratic 2010
19 James Hamper Ends.png Republican 2012
20 Eric Brakey Ends.png Republican 2014
21 Nathan Libby Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
22 Garrett Mason Ends.png Republican 2010
23 Linda Baker Ends.png Republican 2014
24 Stanley Gerzofsky Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
25 Cathy Breen Electiondot.png Democratic 2015
26 William Diamond Electiondot.png Democratic 2014
27 Justin Alfond Electiondot.png Democratic 2008
28 Anne Haskell Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
29 Rebecca Millett Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
30 Amy Volk Ends.png Republican 2014
31 Linda Valentino Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
32 David Dutremble Electiondot.png Democratic 2012
33 David Woodsome Ends.png Republican 2014
34 Ronald Collins Ends.png Republican 2010
35 Dawn Hill Electiondot.png Democratic 2010

Standing committees

There are five (5) Senate Standing Committees:

Joint standing committees

There are sixteen (16) joint standing committees in the Legislature:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Maine
Partisan breakdown of the Maine legislature from 1992-2013

From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Maine State Senate for 16 years while the Republicans were the majority for four years.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states had divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Maine, the Maine State Senate and the Maine House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Maine state government(1992-2013).PNG

SQLI and partisanship

To read the full report on the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) in PDF form, click here.

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Maine state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Between 1992 and 2002, the state experienced divided government until electing a Democratic trifecta, which occurred between 2003 and 2011. For two years (2011 and 2012), the state had a Republican trifecta before reverting back to divided government. Maine hit the bottom-10 in the SQLI ranking in 2006 and 2007 (42nd and 45th, respectively). Its highest ranking in the SQLI ranking occurred in 2012 (27th) under a Republican trifecta. The state rose seven points in the SQLI ranking between the years 2010 and 2011.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 38.38
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 28.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 33.73
Chart displaying the partisanship of Maine government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

State profile

Maine's population in 2014 was 1,330,089.

Maine's population in 2014 was 1,330,089 according to the United States Census Bureau. This estimate represented a 0.1 percent increase from the bureau's 2010 estimate. The state's population per square mile was 43.1 in 2010, falling below the national average of 87.4.

Maine experienced a 1.5 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012 based on census data, falling below the 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.[33]


Maine fell below the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees based on census data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 27.9 percent of Maine residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees compared to 28.8 percent at the national level.

The median household income in Maine was $48,453 between 2009 and 2013 compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 14 percent poverty rate in Maine during the study period compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate.[33]

Racial Demographics, 2013[33]
Race Maine (%) United States (%)
White 95.2 77.7
Black or African American 1.4 13.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 1.2
Asian 1.1 5.3
Two or More Races 1.6 2.4
Hispanic or Latino 1.4 17.1

Presidential Voting Pattern, 2000-2012[34][35]
Year Democratic vote in Maine (%) Republican vote in Maine (%) Democratic vote in U.S. (%) Republican vote in U.S. (%)
2012 56.3 41.0 51.1 47.2
2008 57.7 40.4 52.9 45.7
2004 53.6 44.6 48.3 50.7
2000 49.1 44.0 48.4 47.9

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[36]

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1, "Chart of Term Limits States," accessed December 16, 2013
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
  3. U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001. Accessed February 13, 2014
  4. Maine Democrats and Republicans Lay out Priorities for Upcoming Legislative Session, "Maine Democrats and Republicans Lay out Priorities for Upcoming Legislative Session," December 23, 2014
  5., "Maine Legislature returns for short session," January 7, 2014
  6. WCSH 6, "Maine legislature to reconvene Tuesday," January 5, 2013
  7. Legislative Information Office, "LD 1279," accessed June 4, 2013
  8. Portland Press Herald, "Maine House vote kills bill to elect top state officials," June 4, 2013 (dead link) (dead link)
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Bangor
  10. Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, "Proposed Constitutional Amendments," accessed June 4, 2013
  11. Bangor Daily News, "Maine lawmakers return Wednesday for 2012 session," January 3, 2012
  12., 125th Legislature Session Schedule, June 16, 2011
  13. Bangor Daily News, "State lawmakers headed home but only for 12 days," June 16, 2011
  14. National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Session Calendar," October 30, 2010 (Archived)
  15. National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  17. Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  19. Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
  20. Follow the Money, "Maine 2010 - Candidates," accessed August 19, 2014
  21. Follow the Money, "Maine 2008 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  22. Follow the Money, "Maine 2006 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  23. Follow the Money, "Maine 2004 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  24. Follow the Money, "Maine 2002 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  25. Follow the Money, "Maine 2000 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
  26. 26.0 26.1 Maine Legislature, "Maine Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 21A-381)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Maine Legislature, "Maine Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 21A-382)
  28. Maine Legislature, "Constitution of Maine," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Section Article IV, Section 5)
  29. Maine Legislature, "Maine Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Statute 21A-361)
  30., "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
  31. Maine Legislature, "Senate Rules," December 5, 2012
  32. Maine Legislature, "Senate Leadership," accessed August 19, 2014
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 United States Census Bureau, "QuickFacts Beta," accessed March 24, 2015
  34. Maine Department of State, "Election Results," accessed April 17, 2015
  35. The American Presidency Project, "Presidential Elections Data," accessed March 24, 2015
  36. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014