Maine plan to overhaul legislature presented to committee

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April 4, 2011

Representative Linda Valentino has proposed a measure that would make the Maine State Legislature a unicameral form of government.

AUGUSTA, Maine: Maine Rep. Linda Valentino (D) has proposed a state constitutional amendment that, if passed, would eliminate Maine's current House and Senate legislative structure. Maine would join Nebraska as the second state to possess a unicameral legislature.

On Monday, Valentino told the State and Local Government Committee that her proposed constitutional amendment (LD 804) would save taxpayers $11 million a year, and would result in fewer errors as bills pass through the legislature.[1] Like Nebraska, members of the unicameral legislature would be called senators.

The bill also includes a reduction in the size and length of the legislature. Legislative sessions would be shortened by two months in the first year of a two-year session, and by a month in the second year. In addition, 37 members would be trimmed from the current 188 member legislature (35 senators, 153 representatives), to meet the new requirement of 151 senators.[2]

In order for the amendment to take effect, it would need to be approved my two-thirds of lawmakers, and by a simple majority of Maine voters. A reapportionment plan would be required by the Legislature, convening in 2013.[1] Through 2006, the Maine Constitution has been amended 171 times.

The bill currently sits in committee.

Maine Senate partisan breakdown

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 15
     Republican Party 20
Total 35

Maine House partisan breakdown

Party As of April 2015
     Democratic Party 79
     Republican Party 68
     Independent 4
     Non-voting 3
Total 154

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