The Maine Legislature is the state legislature of Maine. It is a bicameral body composed of the lower house, the Maine House of Representatives, and the upper house, the Maine Senate. The Legislature convenes at the State House in Augusta.
In order to be a member of the Legislature, a person
- must be no less than 21 years old,
- must have been for five years a citizen of the United States,
- must have been a resident of Maine for 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, continue to be, a resident in the district represented.
The terms for both houses are two years. The Legislature has the power to make laws, subject to a veto by the Governor. The Legislature, however, by a vote of two-thirds in each house, may override the veto. The Legislature also has the power to propose constitutional amendments by a vote of two-thirds in each house. However, the proposal must be approved by a majority of voters in a statewide election in order to be passed.
The House of Representatives consists of 151 members, each chosen from single-member constituencies. The House is one of the few state legislative bodies in the U.S. to set aside special seats for Native Americans, where there are two nonvoting Representatives from the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribes. The special Representatives can sponsor legislation relating to Natives and Native land claims, as well as co-sponsor any other legislation brought before the House. However, the special representatives are not allowed to submit an actual legislative vote. The Penobscot and Passamaquoddy representatives are also entitled to sit as non-voting members of joint standing committees during hearings and deliberations. The Senate includes a varying number of members, which may under the Maine Constitution be thirty-one, thirty-three, or thirty-five.