The Legislative Council is the administrative body for the Legislative Branch of State government. It comprises the ten elected members of legislative leadership: the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders and the Majority and Minority Assistant Floor Leaders for both the Senate and House of Representatives. The Legislative Council convenes and the Council members elect a Chair and Vice-Chair at the beginning of each legislative biennium; the chairmanship alternates between the Senate and House by tradition every two years.
The Council's responsibilities encompass many aspects of the administration of the legislative branch of government. Its specific powers and duties are set forth in law (3 MRSA, section 162) and legislative rule. The Council is responsible for providing professional, nonpartisan staff support services to the Legislature and its officers, members, committees and commissions. These services include legislative research, bill drafting; policy, legal and fiscal analysis; fiscal note preparation; committee staffing; computer support services; public information; library and reference services and support; and general administrative services. The Legislative Council's staff is organized in six offices that operate under the direction of the Council's Executive Director.
Other responsibilities delegated by the Legislature to the Council include preparing legislative budget requests and overseeing the legislative budget; establishing salary and benefit schedules for all legislative employees, except as otherwise provided by law; approval of employment practices; planning and oversight of projects designed to improve the organization, operation and physical facilities of the Legislature; and assignment of work to legislative committees when the Legislature is not in session. The Council also has responsibility for screening and approving requests to introduce legislation after cloture (after deadline bills) in any legislative session and exercises this same role for all bill requests prior to their introduction in the second regular session and all special sessions.
The Legislative Council is required by statute to meet at least once monthly. Information concerning meeting agendas is available from the Office of the Executive Director of the Legislative Council. Preliminary meeting agendas and meeting summaries are available from that office upon request.
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