Maine State Senate
|Maine State Senate|
|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)|
Democratic Party (15)
Republican Party (20)
|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|
- 1 Sessions
- 2 Ethics and transparency
- 3 Elections
- 4 Senators
- 5 Standing committees
- 6 Joint standing committees
- 7 History
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
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.
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 in the 2015 legislative session include the state economy, welfare reform and energy policy.
- See also: Dates of 2014 state legislative sessions
In 2014, the Legislature was in session from January 8 through May 2.
- 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 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.
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. 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.
- 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.
Lawmakers faced a $221 million budget deficit. They also looked to restructure the state Medicaid system, reduce energy costs and improve charter schools.
- 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. 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.
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
In 2010, the Legislature was in session from January 6 to April 12.
Role in state budget
- See also: Maine state budget and finances
- Budget instruction guidelines are sent to state agencies in July of the year preceding the start of the new biennium.
- State agencies submit their budget requests in September.
- Agency hearings are held from October through December.
- Public hearings are held from January through May.
- 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).
- The legislature typically adopts a budget in June. A simple majority is required to pass a budget. The biennium begins on July 1.
The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget. Likewise, the state legislature is legally required to adopt a balanced budget.
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.
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. 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.
Open States Transparency
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.
- 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
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.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Maine State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 17||Garrett Mason||0.1%||19,608||Colleen Quint|
|District 20,||Chris Johnson||0.8%||217,156,271||Leslie Fossel|
|District 21||Patrick Flood||1.4%||20,340||David Bustin|
|District 28||Brian Langley||2.1%||21,453||David White|
|District 32||Geoffrey Gratwick||2.9%||17,088||Nichi Farnham|
|District 35||Troy Dale Jackson||3.1%||16,537||Peter Edgecomb|
|District 29||David Burns||5.4%||16,602||Anne Perry|
|District 25||Colleen Lachowicz||5.7%||16,485||Thomas Martin, Jr.|
|District 11||Richard Woodbury||5.8%||24,804||Christopher Tyll|
|District 4||David Dutremble||7%||18,811||James Booth|
- 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:
|2010 Donors, Maine State Senate|
|Nadeau, James A||$8,386|
|Schweitzer, Daniel J||$3,810|
|James A Nadeau/Loan Forgiven, $000 balance||$3,500|
|Whalen, Francis J||$3,194|
|Maine Association of Realtors||$2,150|
|Maine Dental Association||$1,800|
|Bangor Historic Track||$1,750|
|Maine Credit Union League||$1,650|
- 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:
|2008 Donors, Maine State Senate|
|Davis, Gerald M||$5,200|
|Cushing, John William||$3,806|
|Maine Association Of Realtors||$3,000|
|Maine Senate Republican Victory Fund||$2,250|
|Maine Insurance Agents Association||$2,250|
|Maine Bankers Association||$2,000|
|Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon||$1,750|
|Pack, Russell Wayne||$1,535|
|Greenier, Joseph H||$1,503|
- 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:
|2006 Donors, Maine State Senate|
|Maine Association Of Realtors||$2,500|
|Maine Bankers Association||$2,000|
|Maine Insurance Agents Association||$1,750|
|Maine Association Of Insurance & Financial Advisors||$1,650|
|Maine Hospital Association||$1,500|
|Maine Medical Association||$1,250|
|Maine Forest Products Council||$1,250|
|Business Minded Democrats||$1,250|
- 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:
|2004 Donors, Maine State Senate|
|Linnehan Jr, John D||$200,000|
|Dow, Dana L||$40,832|
|Sawyer Jr, W Tom||$10,442|
|Dyar, Clyde E||$8,239|
|Hastings III, David R||$2,789|
|Senate Republican Leadership Of Maine||$2,750|
|Maine Bankers Association||$2,500|
|Maine Oil Dealers Association||$2,100|
|Senate Democratic Campaign Cmte Of Maine||$2,000|
- 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:
|2002 Donors, Maine State Senate|
|Fossel, Leslie T||$24,922|
|Sawyer Jr, W Tom||$12,041|
|Senate Republican Leadership Of Maine||$3,750|
|Leadership For Maine's Future||$3,750|
|Maine Bankers Association||$3,000|
|Maine State Employees Association||$3,000|
|Hall, Christopher G L||$2,830|
- 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:
|2000 Donors, Maine State Senate|
|Sawyer Jr, W Tom||$128,946|
|Sawyer Jr, W Tom||$15,100|
|Senate Republican Leadership Of Maine||$7,750|
|Leadership For Maine's Future||$7,250|
|Maine Bankers Association||$6,850|
|Maine State Employees Association||$5,500|
|Hall, Christopher G L||$5,500|
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."
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. The Governor must call for an election and allow all political committees representing the vacant seat to set all deadlines. The person elected to the seat serves for the remainder of the unexpired term.
- 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.
- 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.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2015|
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.
|Current Leadership, Maine State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Michael Thibodeau||Republican|
|State Senate Majority Leader||Garrett Mason||Republican|
|State Senate Assistant Majority Leader||Andre Cushing||Republican|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Justin Alfond||Democratic|
|State Senate Assistant Minority Leader||Dawn Hill||Democratic|
When sworn in
Maine legislators assume office after the first Wednesday in December after their election.
There are five (5) Senate Standing Committees:
- Bills in Second Reading Committee, Maine State Senate
- Engrossed Bills Committee, Maine State Senate
- Conduct and Ethics Committee, Maine State Senate
- Senatorial Vote Committee, Maine State Senate
- Senate Rules Committee, Maine State Senate
Joint standing committees
There are sixteen (16) joint standing committees in the Legislature:
- Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
- Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee
- Criminal Justice and Public Safety
- Education and Cultural Affairs
- Energy, Utilities and Technology
- Environment and Natural Resources
- Health and Human Services
- Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
- Insurance and Financial Services
- Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development
- Marine Resources
- State and Local Government
- Veterans and Legal Affairs
Partisan balance 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.
SQLI and partisanship
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
- ncsl.org, "Chart of Term Limits States," accessed December 16, 2013
- U.S. Census Bureau, "Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010," April 2011
- U.S. Census Bureau, "States Ranked by Population," April 2, 2001. Accessed February 13, 2014
- 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
- wlbz2.com, "Maine Legislature returns for short session," January 7, 2014
- WCSH 6, "Maine legislature to reconvene Tuesday," January 5, 2013
- Legislative Information Office, "LD 1279," accessed June 4, 2013
- Portland Press Herald, "Maine House vote kills bill to elect top state officials," June 4, 2013 (dead link) (dead link)
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- Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, "Proposed Constitutional Amendments," accessed June 4, 2013
- Bangor Daily News, "Maine lawmakers return Wednesday for 2012 session," January 3, 2012
- Maine.gov, 125th Legislature Session Schedule, June 16, 2011
- Bangor Daily News, "State lawmakers headed home but only for 12 days," June 16, 2011
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "2010 Legislative Session Calendar," October 30, 2010 (Archived)
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- Pew Charitable Trusts, "States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis," July 29, 2013
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- Sunlight Foundation, "Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information," accessed June 16, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Maine 2010 - Candidates," accessed August 19, 2014
- Follow the Money, "Maine 2008 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Maine 2006 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Maine 2004 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Maine 2002 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Follow the Money, "Maine 2000 - Candidates," accessed August 23, 2013
- Maine Legislature, "Maine Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 21A-381)
- Maine Legislature, "Maine Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013(Referenced Statute 21A-382)
- Maine Legislature, "Constitution of Maine," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Section Article IV, Section 5)
- Maine Legislature, "Maine Election Law," accessed December 16, 2013 (Referenced Statute 21A-361)
- NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- Maine Legislature, "Senate Rules," December 5, 2012
- Maine Legislature, "Senate Leadership," accessed August 19, 2014
State of Maine
|State executive officers||
Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Commissioner of Education | Superintendent of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Conservation | Commissioner of Labor | Chairman of Public Utilities |