Under the Dome: Inside The Maine State House 12.7.2012

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House is a weekly update that provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. If you would like more specific information regarding an item in this newsletter or related to government relations, please contact a member of our Government Relations Practice Group: John Delahanty, Andrea C. Maker, or Avery Day.

126th Legislature Officially Underway

Members of the 126th Legislature were sworn into office on December 5th, marking the first day of the 126th Legislature.  Before swearing new lawmakers into office, Governor LePage surprised many by chastising Democrats for hiring a political “tracker,” an issue recently raised by the Governor.  Another noteworthy event during the first day of session was the Legislature’s election of Constitutional Officers.  In a joint convention, the Legislature elected three new Constitutional Officers for the next two years.  Matthew Dunlap was elected to serve as the next Secretary of State, a position he served in from 2005 to 2011.  Neria Douglass, who has served as State Auditor since 2005, was elected to serve as the next State Treasurer.  Janet Mills was elected to serve as the next Attorney General, a position she served in from 2009 to 2011.

Included among the administrative matters decided this week, the Legislature voted to officially set cloture for January 18th at 4:00 p.m.  Cloture is the deadline by which bill proposals must be submitted to the Revisor’s Office in order to be introduced without limitation.  Legislators can introduce any number of proposals on any subject matter during the First Regular Session of a legislature, provided these proposals are submitted before cloture.  Proposals brought forth after this deadline, however, must be approved by the Legislative Council in order to be introduced.  New this year, the Revisor’s Office has asked that proposals being advanced by members of the lobby be fully drafted and not simply titles with concepts for the Revisor’s Office to develop. 

Upon completing their business this week, both the House and the Senate adjourned until January 8, 2013.  The Legislature will return on January 8th, but it is likely that little will happen that week, as many legislators will take part in the Maine Development Foundation’s legislative bus tour of Maine’s interior and western mountains from January 9th to the 11th