The following terms are commonly used in the legislative process in Maine. References to rules are to the rules
adopted by the 118th Legislature.
Act: A bill passed or enacted by both chambers that becomes a public law or private and special law. Does not include resolves, constitutional resolutions, orders or other papers.
Adhere: A parliamentary procedure whereby, in response to conflicting action on a bill by one chamber, the other chamber of the Legislature votes to stand adamantly by its previous action. It is not proper for the adhering body to request a committee of conference, and a vote to adhere to a negative vote kills a bill. This motion is stronger than the motion to "INSIST”, and is opposite of the action to "RECEDE."
Adjournment: The end of the legislative day. The time for reconvening is generally part of the motion to adjourn. A motion to adjourn is nondebatable.
Adjournment sine die: Literally, “adjournment without a day.” This designates the final adjournment of the legislative session when all legislative business has been completed.
After deadline bill: A request for introduction of a bill, resolve or constitutional resolution filed after the applicable cloture date. After deadline bills must be approved by a majority of the Legislative Council before they may be introduced.
Aides, legislative: Professional partisan staff assistants to the Legislature, responsible to members of their respective parties for constituent work, media relations and other duties.
Allocation: A legislative authorization to spend funds, other than from the General Fund (e.g., federal funds, funds in dedicated accounts), for a specific purpose. (See "APPROPRIATION.")
Amend: To alter or modify a law, bill or instrument.
Amendment: This term is generally used to describe the modification of the constitution (a "CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT") or the modification of a legislative document. (See "AMENDMENT, COMMITTEE" or "AMENDMENT, FLOOR.") A proposal to modify current law, on the other hand, is simply a "BILL" if the bill is enacted it becomes a "LAW."
Amendment, committee: An amendment of a legislative document proposed by all or part of the joint standing committee or joint select committee to which it was referred.
Amendment, floor: An amendment offered to modify a legislative document or another amendment to the document, presented by a legislator while the document is on the floor of that legislator’s chamber, i.e., a senate amendment or house amendment.
Appropriation: A legislative authorization to spend funds from the General Fund for a specific purpose. (See "ALLOCATION.")
Appropriations table: Most bills affecting General Fund revenues or that require an appropriation are placed on the Special Appropriations Table prior to enactment in the Senate. All such bills are then reviewed by the Appropriations Committee and leadership, who, in the closing days of the session, recommend passage, amendments or defeat. Bills on the appropriations table are listed on the Senate Calendar.
Bicameral: Literally, “having two rooms”. The term is used to refer to Legislatures having two chambers.
Biennium: A two-year period. This term is used to describe the two-year cycle of a Legislature or the period of the state budget.
Bill: A proposal for a law; strictly speaking, it refers only to proposed public or private and special laws. Other types of proposals include "RESOLVE," "RESOLUTION," and "CONSTITUTIONAL RESOLUTION." Any such proposal is generally referred to as an L.D. or Legislative Document. (See also “FORM OF A BILL” and “HOW TO READ A BILL” in Part I, D, 1, d and e)
Blaine House: The residence of Maine’s Governors since 1920, named after James G. Blaine (1830-1893), presidential candidate, U.S. Secretary of State and Governor of Maine. The Blaine House is located north of the State House on the corner of Capitol and State Streets..
Body: One chamber of the Legislature; the term used in floor debate to refer to the chamber where debate is occurring (this body) or to the other chamber (the other body).
Bond issue: Issuance of a certificate of indebtedness by a governmental entity in return for money it borrows. (See “CERTIFICATE OF PARTICIPATION”, “LEASE APPROPRIATION BOND” and "REVENUE BOND.")
Budget: An estimate of receipts and expenditures for a fiscal year or a biennium.
Budget document: Governor’s program of estimated receipts and expenditures.
By request: Manner of introducing a bill or other proposal. It indicates that the legislator sponsoring the proposal does so to honor the request of some person, e.g., a constituent. Since many proposals are in fact introduced on behalf of another person, the designation “by request” on a proposal generally implies that the sponsor is not a strong supporter of the measure.
Calendar: The printed agenda of each chamber, printed daily during the session; also referred to as the Advance Journal and Calendar.
Caucus: Conference of members of a legislative group, most commonly a political party, to decide on policies or strategies.
Censure: Formal statement of disapproval made by the Legislature against one of its members.
Certificates of Participation (COP’s): Financing arrangements in which an entity enters into a commitment to lease equipment or facilities and to purchase the equipment or facilities at the expiration of the term of the lease. The revenue stream for the payment of these debt instruments is subject to appropriations or allocations by the Legislature. This arrangement is different than a lease-purchase agreement in that investors hold fractional shares of the lease.
Chair: Presiding officer of a group. The chair of the Senate is the President; in the House, the chair is the Speaker. Joint standing committees have both a House chair and a Senate chair.
Chamber: Refers to either the Senate or the
House of Representatives. (See "HOUSE." and “BODY”)
Clerk, committee: Clerical assistant to a committee; has custody of bills referred to the committee; prepares public notices.
Clerk of the House: Chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives; elected by the members of the House. The Clerk is responsible for preparing the calendar, reference of papers, taking votes, reading papers, and other duties.
Cloture: Deadline for submitting completed requests for bills, resolves and constitutional resolutions to be considered in a legislative session.
Code: A compilation of laws in force, arranged by subject matter. The Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (MRSA) is the codified version of Maine’s public laws. The annual volume entitled "LAWS OF THE STATE OF MAINE" is not codified. Within the MRSA, there are codes relating to single subjects, e.g., the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC, Title 11), Maine Criminal Code (Title 17A) and Maine Probate Code (Title 18A).
Committee: A group of people delegated to examine a certain subject or certain proposals. Legislative committees can take several forms ( see following definitions), but the most common use of the term is to refer to joint standing committees.
Committee of conference: A legislative committee, established pursuant to the Joint Rules and composed of three members of each chamber. The purpose of a committee of conference is to attempt to reconcile differences between the chambers with respect to a proposal.
Committee, joint: A committee composed of legislators from both the House and the Senate.
Committee, joint select: A committee of legislators established pursuant to the Joint Rules and convened for a specific, finite purpose. A select committee consists of three senators and ten house members unless otherwise specified by the order creating the committee.
Committee, standing: A legislative committee established pursuant to Senate or House rules that carries on a continuous course of business within the Senate or House. The standing committees are as follows:
Standing Committees of the Senate
On Bills in the Second Reading
On Engrossed Bills
On Conduct and Ethics
Standing Committees of the House
On Bills in the Second Reading
On Engrossed Bills
On Leave of Absence
On Rules and Business of the House
Committee, joint standing: A legislative committee comprised of 3 Senators and 10 members of the House of Representatives established pursuant to joint rule to deal with legislative measures in specific subject areas. The number and jurisdiction of the joint standing committees may vary in each biennium.
Committee of the whole: The entire membership of a chamber when sitting as a committee.
Communication: A letter or other written message made to one or both chambers and appearing in the Calendar.
Concur: Agree. When both chambers have acted similarly on a proposal, it is a concurrent matter; if different actions are taken, it is a nonconcurrent matter. A motion to recede and concur calls for that chamber to agree with the action taken by the other chamber. (See "RECEDE.")
Concurrence: Agreement; typically, between the chambers.
Conference committee: See "COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE."
Confirmation: Approval of an appointment; typically, the procedure whereby a committee holds a public hearing on a gubernatorial appointment and makes a recommendation on the appointment to the Senate. The Senate votes whether to accept or reject the recommendation.
Conflict of interest: See Conflict of Interest in Part II.
Consent calendar: In the House, a bill that does not involve a gain or loss of revenue and that has received a unanimous “ought to pass” or “ought to pass as amended” committee report is placed on the consent calendar. If there is no objection, after two legislative days, the bill is considered passed to be engrossed.
Constitutional resolution: A proposal for a change to the Constitution of Maine which, if passed, goes to the voters for their approval. (See "RESOLUTION.")
Convention, joint: A gathering of the members of both bodies in one chamber for a particular purpose, e.g., to receive the Governor.
Day, legislative: A day on which both chambers convene to conduct official business. At times business may be conducted by committees, leadership or other groups when the Legislature has not convened; those days are not considered legislative days.
Debate: Formal argument and discussion in a chamber following rules of order.
Division: A vote whereby the number of proponents and opponents is counted. It differs from a roll call vote (also known as a vote by "YEAS AND NAYS") in that a division does not attribute a particular vote to a certain person. A division differs from "UNANIMOUS CONSENT" (or under the gavel, or under the hammer) in that a count is made and unanimity is not presumed. In the House, members use the electronic voting system used for roll calls, but the individual votes are not recorded. The Senate has an electronic voting system and the capability to conduct a division electronically but, generally, prefers to hold a division by having the members rise in their seats and be counted.
Doorkeeper: The employee in each chamber who controls the entrances to the chambers. The doorkeeper of each chamber is appointed by the presiding officer of the chamber.
Effective date: The date on which a law goes into effect, 90 days after “ADJOURNMENT SINE DIE”, unless a different date is specified in the law. (See also "EMERGENCY BILL.")
Emergency bill: Generally, this is a measure that, due to some exigency is passed to take effect immediately upon signing by the Governor or to take effect on some other date specified in the bill which is earlier than 90 days following final adjournment. Emergency bills require an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the elected members in each chamber to be enacted. In order to introduce a bill in the second regular session (except bills containing certain budgetary matters, etc.), it must be determined to be of an emergency nature (Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 1). Such a measure, while it addresses an emergency, is not generally referred to as an emergency bill and does not require a two-thirds vote for enactment.
Emergency clause: A clause, usually inserted at the end of emergency legislation, that sets the effective date of the measure. That date is usually the date the Governor approves the measure but it may be some other date.
Emergency preamble: The preamble to emergency legislation that sets out the reasons why the Legislature considers the measure to merit emergency treatment.
Enacting clause: Formal language required in order for a bill to be enacted. Under the Constitution of Maine (Article IV, Part First, Section 1), the words that must precede the substance of the bill are: “Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine.”
Enactment: The process whereby a measure becomes an act. Enactment is the legislative action after engrossment and is the last step before a measure is signed by the President and Speaker and sent to the Governor for approval. Measures that reach this stage are by convention referred to as finally passed.
Engrossed: Literally, printed. An engrossed bill is a document that physically incorporates the bill and all adopted amendments to the bill. The engrossed bill may be passed to be enacted and subsequently approved by the Governor.
Errors bill: A bill generally introduced each year to remedy nonsubstantive, technical errors in enacted laws. Generally, the term refers to a bill entitled, “An Act to Correct Errors and Inconsistencies in the Laws of Maine,” which is within the jurisdiction of the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary. There are special procedures associated with the amendment of this bill.
Ex officio: A person who is a member of a board or committee by virtue of the office the person holds, as opposed to a regularly appointed member. The person may or may not be a voting member.
Failure of enactment: The status of a measure which, on a vote, fails to garner enough votes for passage, such as an emergency measure that receives a vote of less than two-thirds the elected membership of a chamber.
First reading: The initial reading of a measure on the floor of a chamber that is followed by a second reading. There is no floor debate on a bill in its first reading if a favorable committee report has been accepted.
Fiscal note: Information on the fiscal impact of a measure that is incorporated into a measure after the substantive provisions. The fiscal note is removed from the text of the measure at engrossment. In accordance with Joint Rule 312, any bill affecting state revenues, appropriations or allocations or requiring local units of government to expend additional local funds must have a fiscal note attached to any favorable committee report or floor amendment.
Fiscal year: For State Government, the 12-month period from July 1st to June 30th for which the budget is formulated. Municipal and county governments may operate on different 12-month fiscal-years
Floor: Figuratively, within the chamber while that chamber is in session, as in floor amendment or floor debate. Floor actions are distinguished from actions taking place elsewhere, e.g., lobbying, or committee actions.
Floor leader: Refers to Democratic/Republican leadership position in each house.
General obligation bond: A bond that is repaid out of the general assets of the State.
Germane: Relevant. Unlike congressional practices allowing all manner of riders to bills, Maine’s legislative rules limit amendments to those that are relevant to the purpose of the bill as evidenced by its title.
Governor’s bill: A measure proposed by the Governor. A Governor’s bill has a legislative sponsor or sponsors.
Grandfather clause: A provision in a proposal that exempts some party from the proposal’s coverage on the basis of the party’s present status, e.g., a provision that current license holders are “grandfathered” and are not required to comply with additional licensing requirements imposed by the proposal.
Hearing, public: The procedure whereby interested members of the public are invited to testify before a committee on a proposal. A public hearing is distinguished from a "WORK SESSION" in that while the public is allowed to attend a work session, testimony is generally not solicited or accepted.
Highway Table: Most bills affecting Highway Fund revenue or requiring an allocation from the Highway Fund are placed on the Special Highway Table prior to enactment in the Senate. Bills on the Highway Table are reviewed by the Transportation Committee which, in the closing days of the session, recommend passage, amendment or defeat. Bills on the Highway Table are listed on the Senate Calendar.
House: Refers either to the Senate or the House of Representatives. In certain contexts, House is used to refer specifically to the latter. (See "CHAMBER” and “BODY.")
House of Representatives: One of the two chambers of the Maine Legislature that are vested with the legislative power of the State. The House is composed of 151 representatives elected for two-year terms.
House rules: Rules adopted by the House of Representatives that govern procedures in that body, the duties of officers and the rights and duties of members. (See "JOINT RULES.")
Indefinite postponement: A motion made on the floor of a chamber to defeat a measure. The motion frequently takes the form, “I move that the bill and all its accompanying papers be indefinitely postponed.”
Initiative: The procedure established in the Constitution of Maine (Article IV, Part Third, Section 18) whereby citizens originate a legislative proposal. The Legislature has the option of enacting the measure as proposed or sending it out for ratification by the voters at a vote or “REFERENDUM.” Bills introduced through the initiative process are assigned an Initiated Bill (IB) number and a LD number. (See also “PEOPLES’ VETO.”)
Insist: A parliamentary procedure whereby a chamber, in response to conflicting action on a bill by the other chamber, votes to stand by its previous action. It is generally accompanied by a request for a committee of conference. Insist is similar but less adamant than an action to "ADHERE," and the opposite of an action to "RECEDE."
Introduction: The presentation of a measure for consideration by the Legislature.
Joint order: An order approved jointly by the House and Senate. (See "ORDER.") Typical joint orders include study orders, an order for adjournment sine die, an order to amend the Joint Rules; an order to print additional documents and an order to a committee to report out a bill.
Joint Rules: Rules adopted by both the House and Senate at the outset of a first regular session. The rules govern the procedures to be followed in all areas of joint legislative activity, including filing of bills, cloture dates, committee composition and actions, studies and confirmations. The rules appear in the pamphlet entitled “House and Senate Registers” that is distributed to all legislators early in the first session and are also distributed separately by the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate. In order to take any action contrary to the procedures set forth in the joint rules, each chamber must agree to a suspension of the rules. The joint rules may be amended by a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
Journal: The record of daily proceedings published by the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 5 of the Constitution of Maine. The journals do not ordinarily contain debate. A transcription of floor debates may be found in the "LEGISLATIVE RECORD."
Law: Measure passed by both chambers and approved by the Governor or otherwise finally approved (e.g., by overriding a Governor’s “VETO”.
Laws, private and special: Laws that are enacted to address particular persons or institutions and that, due to their limited scope, are not codified in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (MRSA). An example of a private and special law is the creation of or change in a water district charter.
Laws, public: Laws of general scope and application, codified in the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (MRSA). Most laws are public laws. Some portions of public laws are not, however, codified in the MRSA. Appropriations clauses, transition clauses and some other provisions are unallocated, i.e., they are not assigned places in the MRSA.
Laws, resolve: Laws having a temporary or limited purpose that do not amend the general public laws (e.g., a resolve to allow an individual to sue the State).
Laws of the State of Maine: The bound collection of all public laws, private and special laws, constitutional resolutions, resolves, selected joint resolutions and other significant legislative papers passed in a session. Also includes the "REVISOR'S REPORT." The Laws of the State of Maine is published by the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.
Lease Appropriation Bond: A bond similar to a revenue bond that finances the construction or renovation of the physical plant of a facility. The revenue stream to pay off the bond is subject to appropriations or allocations by the Legislature to operating funds for the lease payments associated with the use of the physical plant or facilities.
L.D. (Legislative Document): A legislative measure in its official printed form, that is given a number by the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate and is referred to as “L.D. XXX.” Some measures, such as orders, do not become legislative documents in this sense. Types of L.D.s include those that would create public laws (see "LAWS, PUBLIC"), private and special laws (see "LAWS, PRIVATE AND SPECIAL") and resolves (see "LAWS, RESOLVE"). A CONSTITUTIONAL RESOLUTION is a form of L.D. that does not become effective upon enactment but which is subject to REFERENDUM. There are other types of legislative papers that are not legislative documents. (See “BILL”, "AMENDMENT" and "ORDER.") (See also “FORM OF A BILL” and “HOW TO READ A BILL” in Part I, D, 1, d and e)
Legislative Council: The legislative body having authority over operation of the Legislature, including approval of bills for introduction and administrative and personnel matters other than personnel matters within the separate control of the House or the Senate. (See Part III for a further discussion of the Legislative Council.) The composition of the Council is as follows:
Democratic Floor Leader
Republican Floor Leader
Assistant Democratic Floor Leader
Assistant Republican Floor Leader
Democratic Floor Leader
Republican Floor Leader
Assistant Democratic Floor Leader
Assistant Republican Floor Leader
Legislative day: See "DAY, LEGISLATIVE."
Legislative Document Clerk: The officer appointed by the Speaker of the House to operate the Document Room on the third floor of the State House, where copies of legislative documents are provided to legislators, staff and the public.
Legislative Record: See "RECORD, LEGISLATIVE."
Lobbyist: Generally refers to a person or group who, as the agent of another person or group, opposes or supports the enactment of bills. The Lobbyist Disclosure Procedures law (3 MRSA §311 et seq.) provides a fairly detailed definition. Representing another person or a group at a public hearing does not, in itself, constitute lobbying.
L.R. (Legislative Request): A request for drafting and introduction of a legislative instrument that is assigned a number by the Revisor of Statutes. This number is used to track instruments through the legislative process from initial drafting to final enactment. Until an instrument is assigned an L.D. number, the L.R. number is used to identify it. (See “L.D.”)
Majority Leader: A member of either chamber selected by the members of the majority party in that chamber to act as their spokesperson and “CAUCUS” leader.
Mandate, state: An action by the State that requires a local unit of government to expend additional local revenues. The Constitution of Maine (Article IX, Section 21) requires the State to fund 90% of the cost to local governments of state mandates. The Constitution of Maine provides that the Legislature can create exemptions from this requirement by a two-thirds vote of all members of each chamber.
Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedures: The standard reference manual of legislative rules regarding parliamentary procedures. These rules govern legislative procedures in situations not addressed by the House or Senate rules and the Joint Rules.
Memorial: See "RESOLUTION."
Minority Leader: A member of either chamber selected by members of the minority party in that chamber to act as their spokesperson and caucus leader.
Nonconcurrence: Situation where the other chamber has voted in a manner inconsistent with the chamber in which the matter now lies.
Order: Documents requiring some legislative action (e.g., a "JOINT ORDER") or expressing some legislative sentiment. (e.g. a "RESOLUTION") Common orders include congratulatory orders that recognize the accomplishment of some person, orders in memoriam expressing the Legislature’s regret at the death of some person, study orders, orders to committees to report out bills heard, orders to recall bills from the legislative files or from the Governor’s desk prior to signature and orders to print additional documents.
Out of order: A departure from parliamentary procedure or a violation of rules. Unless done under suspension of the rules, an action out of order is prohibited.
Override: A shorthand way of referring to the legislative act of overriding a Governor’s "VETO."
Page: A floor assistant appointed by the presiding officer, who acts as messenger, distributes documents and keeps legislators’ document books up to date. Honorary pages, sponsored by individual legislators, are appointed from time to time by the presiding officer.
Pair (vote): A procedure whereby a member who is present, instead of voting, “pairs” his or her vote with a member who is absent and who, had that member been present, would have voted on the opposite side of the question. A paired vote does not count toward the number required for a vote; thus, if a two-thirds vote of elected membership is necessary, a paired vote will not be counted toward fulfilling the two-thirds. Pairing is currently authorized by Senate rule with the consent of the President of the Senate. Pairing is not permitted under the House rules.
Paper: A document before the Legislature, i.e., “Senate Paper” or “House Paper.”
Peoples’ Veto: The procedure established in the Constitution of Maine (Article IV, Part Third, Section 17) by which the voters may petition for a REFERENDUM on the question of whether legislation passed by the Legislature but not yet in effect should take effect. (See INITIATIVE.)
Point of information: A request from a legislator to the presiding office for clarification of a procedural matter.
Point of order: An objection raised by a legislator that one of the rules is being or has been violated.
Postmaster: Officer appointed by the President of the Senate to oversee legislative mail operations.
President of the Senate: The presiding officer of the Senate, elected by the senators.
President pro tempore: The presiding officer of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate to preside when the President is absent or leaves the podium for any reason.
Public hearing: See "HEARING, PUBLIC."
Quorum: The minimum number of members of a chamber, committee or other group that must be present before that group may conduct official business.
Quorum call: A parliamentary procedure to determine whether a quorum exists in either chamber. Under the Constitution (Article IV, Part Third, Section 3) each chamber may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner it sees fit. Usually that is accomplished by a command from the presiding officer for all members within the sound of the bell to take their seats.
Recede: Action whereby, in the face of a conflicting action on a bill by the other chamber, one chamber elects to revoke its prior action. Frequently, this action is coupled with the decision to agree with the other chamber, i.e., to recede and concur. (See "CONCUR.", “ADHERE” and “INSIST.”)
Recess: A period during which the Legislature, while not adjourned to another day, is not convened for doing business. For example, a chamber may recess for party caucuses or until a certain time later in the day.
Recommit: A common expression for the action whereby a bill that has been reported out of committee is returned to that committee or to another committee for further consideration. The proper motion is to "commit" the bill to the committee.
Reconsideration: An action whereby a chamber returns to revote on a prior action in order to amend or reverse that decision. The motion must be made by a legislator who voted on the prevailing side of the previous vote and requires majority approval if made on the same legislative day or the legislative day following the original vote. After that, a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules is necessary for reconsideration. The paper must be in the possession of the chamber voting for reconsideration.
Record, legislative: The transcript of legislative actions and debates, prepared by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House. Copies are transcribed and are available to legislators and the public.
Redistricting: The decennial redrawing of legislative district lines following a census.
Reference: The procedure whereby bills are sent to committees for consideration.
Referendum: Popular vote on proposals that may be initiated by the people (See “INITIATIVE” and “PEOPLES’ VETO.”) or by the Legislature. Referenda may be binding or advisory, statewide or restricted to a lower level of government.
Report, committee: A recommendation by a committee that some action be taken on a measure before the committee for consideration. Possible reports are:
Ought to Pass
Ought to Pass as Amended by
Ought to Pass in New Draft
Ought Not to Pass
Referred to Another Committee
Report, study: A report presented by a group directed to study or investigate a particular subject or problem; frequently includes proposals for legislation.
Reporter, House/Senate: The employee in each chamber who transcribes all floor debate for insertion into the “LEGISLATIVE RECORD.”
Re-refer: The common expression for the committee recommendation to refer a bill to another committee. The correct name of the report is "referred to another committee."
Repeal: To revoke or annul an existing law by statutory enactment.
Resolution: An expression of the will of the Legislature that does not have the effect of law. The Legislature sometimes expresses its views on federal matters through a resolution directed to the U.S. Congress. Other examples include expressions to commemorate an event and expressions of regret due to the death of a prominent individual. A resolution is similar to an order, but generally is reserved for the most solemn occasions. A resolution should not be confused with a "RESOLVE." (See "CONSTITUTIONAL RESOLUTION.")
Resolve: See "LAWS, RESOLVE."
Revenue bond: A bond that is to be paid off by revenues produced by the facility it finances, e.g., user fees for a parking garage or room fees for a dormitory.
Revisor’s Report: An annual report of the Revisor of Statutes that makes technical corrections (such as corrections of misspellings and typographical errors) that the Revisor has made to the statutory database pursuant to 1 MRSA c. 4.
Roll call vote: A vote in either chamber where the result is a list of the votes cast by each member, also called a vote by “THE YEAS AND NAYS”. A roll call vote may be requested by any legislator; but must have the approval of one-fifth of the membership. In the Senate and the House, votes are registered electronically and exhibited on the large panels in each chamber. Distinguished from a "DIVISION" and from "UNANIMOUS CONSENT."
Rules: The rules of parliamentary procedure either in committee or on the floor may refer to the Joint Rules, the rules of either chamber, committee rules, Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure and Reed’s Rules or any other standard authority.
Seat number: The number corresponding to the number of each representative’s seat in the House. Seat numbers can be used as an address for interoffice mail. This number relates only to seating placement and not to district number. Seats are assigned by the Speaker taking into consideration the seniority and physical needs of the members. In the Senate, seats are assigned by the majority leader in consultation with the President based on seniority. Seats are not designated by number in the Senate.
Second reading: The reading of a measure, after which, if approved, it is passed to be “ENGROSSED.” (See "CONSENT CALENDAR.")
Secretary of the Senate: The chief administrative officer of the Senate, elected by the members of the Senate. The secretary is responsible for preparing the calendar, reference of papers, taking votes, reading papers and other duties.
Senate: One of the two chambers of the Maine Legislature. The Senate is required under the Constitution of Maine to consist of an odd number of members, from 31 to 35. Currently, it has 35 members who serve two-year terms.
Senate rules: Rules governing procedure in the Senate, including provisions regarding the powers and duties of the Senate officers and floor procedure in the Senate. (See "JOINT RULES.")
Sergeant-at-Arms: The officer in either chamber who is responsible for maintaining order in the chamber and who serves as escort to the committee named to deliver messages to the Governor or the other body. The Sergeant-at-Arms supervises the distribution of materials to legislators.
Session: Period during which the Legislature assembles and carries out its business. There are three basic types of sessions: regular session, special session and special confirmation session (see next three definitions).
Session, regular: A session of both chambers, during which the Legislature carries on its customary business. There are two regular sessions in each biennium. Statutory adjournment for the first regular session is the third Wednesday in June on odd-numbered years. For the second regular session statutory adjournment is the third Wednesday in April in even-numbered years. The statutory adjournment dates may be extended by vote of the Legislature (3 MRSA §2). During the first regular session, a legislator may submit legislation on any topic before cloture. In the second regular session the Constitution of Maine limits bills to budgetary matters, bills in the Governor’s call, direct initiatives, legislation derived from committee studies during the interim and legislation of an emergency nature. The Legislative Council reviews each legislator's requests for legislation in the second regular session to determine whether it meets constitutional requirements.
Session, special: A session of both chambers, called by the Governor or on the Legislature’s own initiative, where the Legislature meets to carry on certain pressing business. In the event of a special session called by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, the first order of business is ratification of the call by a majority of the members of each political party. Typically, the Legislature considers a limited number of proposals, and the session may last only a few days.
Session, confirmation: A session of the Senate alone where decisions are made regarding the confirmation of gubernatorial appointments.
Session laws: See "LAWS OF THE STATE OF MAINE."
Sinking fund: A fund arising from particular taxes or other sources of revenue that is appropriated towards the payment of a government debt. Normally used in the issuance of revenue bonds or non-general obligation debt.
Speaker of the House: The presiding officer of the House of Representatives elected by the members of the House.
Speaker pro tempore: The temporary presiding officer of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House to preside in the Speaker’s absence or whenever the Speaker leaves the podium for any reason.
Sponsor: A legislator who proposes a measure to the Legislature.
Statute: The general term for acts of the Legislature. Statutes are distinguished from other bodies of law, such as department rules, constitutional provisions and common law developed by the courts. Statute may also refer to the bound volumes of the law, or the MRSA.
Study: Interim work conducted by a group or committee of legislators (and, in some cases, other parties) to provide a more complete or thorough knowledge of a subject than is usually possible during the regular session. Studies may be authorized by the Legislative Council. Generally, studies result in a study report that often includes proposed legislation. (See "REPORT, STUDY.")
Substitution of bill for report: Action whereby a chamber chooses to accept the original bill instead of any report of a committee modifying the bill.
Summary: A brief description of the content of a measure which appears at the end of a legislative document or amendment. By Joint Rule, a summary is required to be prepared by the Revisor’s Office. It is removed from the bill at engrossment and is not enacted as law.
Suspension of rules: A parliamentary procedure that permits actions that would otherwise be “OUT OF ORDER” to be taken. A two-thirds vote is required to suspend the rules.
Table: To delay action. A measure may be tabled until later in the day, until another certain date, or unassigned, i.e., to an in-definite time. (See "APPROPRIATIONS TABLE.")
Unanimous consent: The procedure by which action is taken without a vote, also referred to as an action “under the gavel,” or “under the hammer.” Distinguished from a "DIVISION," or a "ROLL CALL VOTE," each of which results in a vote count.
Veto: Disapproval of an act, typically by the Governor. If the Governor vetoes an entire measure, a two-thirds vote of each chamber is required to override it (see Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part Third, Section 2). The Governor may reduce dollar amounts in legislation using a line-item veto. (See “PEOPLES’ VETO” and "LINE-ITEM VETO." See also discussion under Governor's options on enacted bills in Part I of this handbook.)
Veto, Line Item: A limited form of veto established in the Constitution of Maine (Article IV, Part Third, Section 2-A) by which the Governor can reduce specific appropriations or allocations in legislation. Each change by the Governor becomes part of the enacted law unless the Legislature overrides the change by reaffirming each original allocation and appropriation. The reaffirmation requires a majority vote of all elected members.
Voice vote: A type of vote where the result is decided by the apparent number of voices calling “yea” versus “nay.”
Work session (working session, workshop): A meeting of a legislative committee to discuss committee business or to work on bills. “COMMITTEE REPORTS” are developed at work sessions.
Yeas and nays: A “ROLL CALL VOTE.”