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Maine's Constitutional Provisions for Citizen Initiative and People's Veto
Last updated: May 2017

Introduction

Legislative efforts to create a citizen's initiative and a people's veto began in 1903. This proposal was referred to the next Legislature, but was defeated by the House of Representatives. The measure was finally enacted in 1907 and sent to statewide referendum in 1908. The amendment was approved and added seven new sections to the Maine Constitution (Article IV, Part 3, §§16 to 22). The changes became effective on January 6, 1909. Maine became the first eastern state to adopt statewide initiative and referendum legislation.

Maine's first people's veto was in 1909 and its first initiated legislation was presented to the Legislature in 1911.


Browse by Resolve / Resolution / LD:  



Year LD Title of Legislation / Form of the Referendum Question Date and Result of Referendum Final Disposition Sections of Constitution Affected Legislative Record Committee Files / News Full LD History
1903 HD 393Joint Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Maine, Relative to Establishing a People's Veto through the Optional Referendum and a Direct Initiative by Petition and at Elections N/A Referred to the next Legislature N/A No debate.N/A N/A
1905 SD 24

New Draft:
SD 244
Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to Article 4 of the Constitution of the State of Maine, Establishing a People's Veto through the Optional Referendum and a Direct Initiative by Petition and at General Elections N/A Not enacted N/A Senate, March 22, 1905
p. 775-785

House, March 23, 1905
p. 829-835

House, March 24, 1905
p. 855
N/A N/A
1907 HD 9

New Draft:
HD 441
Resolves, Proposing an Amendment to Article Four of the Constitution of Maine, Establishing a People's Veto through the Optional Referendum, and a Direct Initiative by Petition and at General or Special Elections

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature Providing for the Establishment of a People's Veto through the Optional Referendum and a Direct Initiative by Petition and at General or Special Elections?
Sept. 14, 1908

Yes:  53,785
No:   24,543
Res. 1907, c. 121

Effective:
Jan. 6, 1909
Art. IV, Pt. 1, §1
Art. IV, Pt. 2, §§1, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
House, March 14, 1907
p. 638-647

Senate, March 15, 1907
p. 648-649

N/A N/A
1907 HD 32

New Draft:
HD 446
Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to Article 4 of the Constitution of the State of Maine, Establishing a People's Veto through the Optional Referendum and a Direct Initiative through Petition and at General or Special Elections N/A Not enacted N/A No debate.N/A N/A
1947 LD 238

Enacted with amendment:

Committee "A"
Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution for Additional Signers in Petitions for Referendum

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature to Provide for Additional Signers in Petitions for Referendum?
Sept. 13, 1948

Yes:  68,237
No:   65,698
Res. 1947, c. 37

Effective:
Oct. 20, 1948
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17 Senate, February 13, 1947
p. 205

House, February 26, 1947
p. 309-310

House, March 12, 1947
p. 465-471
N/A N/A
1949 LD 874 Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Change the Date of Filing Initiated Legislation

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature to Change the Date of Filing Initiated Legislation?
Sept. 11, 1950

Yes:  101,116
No:   46,238
Res. 1949, c. 61

Effective:
Oct. 12, 1950
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18No debate. N/A N/A
1951 LD 694

Enacted with amendment:

#355
Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution Providing for Additional Signers for Direct Initiative of Legislation

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature Providing that Direct Initiative of Legislation Shall Require not Less Than 10% of the Total Vote for Governor as Cast in the Last Previous Gubernatorial Election?
Sept. 10, 1951

Yes:  23,600
No:   21,986
Res. 1951, c. 110

Effective:
Sept. 26, 1951
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18 Senate, May 2, 1951
p. 1793-1794

House, May 3, 1951
p. 1869-1870
N/A N/A
1951 LD 576

Enacted with amendment:

#409
Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Make Temporarily Inoperative any Measure Adopted by the People which Fails to Provide a Revenue Adequate for its Service

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature to Make Temporarily Inoperative any Measure Adopted by the People which Fails to Provide a Revenue Adequate for its Service?
Sept. 10, 1951

Yes:  24,746
No:   20,900
Res. 1951, c. 126

Effective:
Sept. 26, 1951
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §19No debate. N/A N/A
1957 LD 93

Enacted with amendments:

#272
#397
Resolve, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution Changing the Date of the General Election

Shall the Constitution which now Provides that the General Election shall take Place on the Second Monday of September, Biennially, be Amended, as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature, to the Tuesday Following the First Monday in November?
Sept. 9, 1957

Yes:  63,820
No:   36,202
Res. 1957, c. 94

Effective:
Sept. 19, 1957
Art. II, §4
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20
Art. VI, §6
Art. IX, §10
Art. X, §4
House, May 14, 1957
p. 1570-1571

House, May 15, 1957
p. 1686-1693

House, May 16, 1957
p. 1766-1767

Senate, May 22, 1957
p. 2029-2030
N/A N/A
1975 LD 188

Enacted with amendment:
 
H-241
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Establish Filing Dates for Initiative and Referendum Petitions; Clarify When the Effective Date of a Bill is Suspended by the Filing of a Referendum Petition; Clarify the Process of Calling a Special Election for an Initiative or Referendum Vote; Limit Legislative Amendment and Repeal of Laws Initiated or Approve by the People; Clarify the Petition Process and Provide for Review of the Validity of Petitions

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature to Establish Filing Dates for Initiative and Referendum Petitions; Clarify When the Effective Date of a Bill is Suspended by the Filing of a Referendum Petition; Clarify the Process of Calling a Special Election for an Initiative or Referendum Vote; Limit Legislative Amendment and Repeal of Laws Initiated or Approve by the People; Clarify the Petition Process and Provide for Review of the Validity of Petitions?
Nov. 4, 1975

Yes:  105,073
No:   32,995
 Con. Res. 1975, c. 2

Effective:
Nov. 24, 1975
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §§12, 18, 20, 22 Senate, May 20, 1975
p. B1165

Senate, May 21, 1975
p. B1214

Senate, May 27, 1975
p. B1332
N/A N/A
1975 LD 904

OTP-ND:
LD 1827

Enacted with amendments:

H-491
H-851
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution to Provide for Annual Sessions of the Legislature

Shall the Constitution be Amended as Proposed by a Resolution of the Legislature to Provide for Annual Sessions of the Legislature with Limits on the Matters which May be Considered in the Second Regular Session of Each Biennium and to Change the Date of the Convening of the Legislature?
Nov. 4, 1975

Yes:  91,582
No:   47,877
Con. Res. 1975, c. 5

Effective:
Nov. 24,1975
Art IV, Pt.1, §§2, 5
Art. IV, Pt.2, §§4, 5
Art. IV, Pt.3, §§1, 16
Art. V, Pt.1, §§2, 3, 13, 14
Art. IX, §4
Art. V, Pt. 2

House, April 23, 1975
p. B652-654

Senate, April 25, 1975
p. B707

Senate, April 29, 1975
p. B767-768

Senate, May 1, 1975
p. B804-805

House, May 27, 1975
p. B1299

Senate, May 27, 1975
p. B1343

House, May 30, 1975
p. B1464-1465

Senate, June 4, 1975
p. B1625-1626

Senate, June 26, 1975
p. B2335-2337

House, June 27, 1975
p. B2346-2348

Senate, June 27, 1975
p. B2372

Senate, June 27, 1975
p. B2375-2376

Senate, June 27, 1975
p. B2386-2387

Senate, June 28, 1975
p. B2399

Senate, July 2, 1975
p. B2431-2432
N/A N/A
1980 LD 1747

Enacted with amendment:

H-881
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Amend the Referendum and Initiative Provisions

Shall the Constitution of Maine be Amended to Change the Referendum Provisions so that the Direct Initiative and People's Veto Elections can be Held at the Same Time as a Scheduled Statewide Election?
Nov. 4, 1980

Yes:  364,629
No:   96,099
Con. Res. 1979, c. 3

Effective:
Nov. 25, 1980
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §§2, 17, 18, 20, 21 House, March 18, 1980
p. 495
N/A N/A
1981 LD 1317

Enacted with amendment:

H-283
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Amend the Law and Constitutional Provisions Relating to Consolidating Initiative and Referendum Elections to Dates of Next General Election

Shall the Constitution of Maine be Amended to Change the Initiative Provisions to Require that for Initiatives Begun after the Effective Date of this Resolution All Signatures be Dated and Limit the Validity of a Signature to One Year?
Nov. 3, 1981

Yes:  141, 975
No:   77, 170
Con. Res. 1981, c. 1

Effective:
Nov. 23., 1981
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §18 House, May 8, 1981
p. 995-996
N/A N/A
1988 LD 2695 Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Clarify the Original Resolution Making the Language of the Constitution Gender Neutral

Shall the Constitution of Maine be Amended to Remove Gender-biased Language in Order to Clarify that the Constitution Applies to All Individuals?
Nov. 8, 1988

Yes:  292,335
No:   232,456
Con. Res. 1987, c. 4

Effective:
Nov. 28, 1988
Art. I, §§3, 4, 6, 6-A, 19, 20
Art. II, §1
Art. IV, Pt. 1, §§4, 5
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §§1-A, 2, 10, 11, 17, 19, 20
Art. V, Pt. 1, §§2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Art. V, Pt. 2, §§2, 3, 4
Art. V, Pt. 3, §§2, 3
Art. VI, §4
Art. IX, §§1, 3, 5, 10
No debate. Committee File:  Yes N/A
1996 LD 1628

Enacted with amendment:

H-714
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Regarding Municipal Certification of Direct Initiative Petitions

Do You Favor Amending the Constitution of Maine to Require that a Direct Initiative Petition be Submitted to Local Officials Earlier than is Presently Required in order to Allow 5 Working Days Rather than 2 Working Days for Local Officials to Certify the Petition?
Nov. 5, 1996

Yes:  367,994
No:   187,428
 Con. Res. 1995, c. 3

Effective:
Jan. 2, 1997
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §20 House, March 5, 1996
p. H-1657-1658
Committee File:  Yes

Yes
1999 LD 122

Enacted with amendment:

S-24
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Amend the Timing of Elections Following the Submission of a Petition for People's Veto

Do You Favor Amending the Constitution of Maine to Require that a Petition for a People's Veto be Voted on at the Next Statewide or General Election, Rather than at a Special Election?
Nov. 2, 1999

Yes:  285,174
No:   114,640
Con. Res. 1999, c. 1

Effective:
Nov. 22, 1999
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §17 House, March 30, 1999
p. H-466-470

Senate, April 8, 1999
p. S-521
Committee File:  Yes Yes
2006 LD 2033

Enacted with amendments:

S-513
S-544
H-895
Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine Regarding Procedure for the People's Veto and Direct Initiative

Do You Favor Amending the Constitution of Maine to State that a Citizen's Initiative or People's Veto Petition must be Submitted to Local or State Officials by the Constitutional Deadline in Order to be Certified and, in the Case of a Citizens' Initiative, must be Filed with the Secretary of State within 18 Months?
Nov. 7, 2006

Yes:  270,922
No:   229,749
Con. Res. 2005, c. 2

Effective:
Nov. 27, 2006
Art. IV, Pt. 3, §§18, 20 House, March 31, 2006
p. H-1426

Senate, April 5, 2006
p. S-1802
Committee File:  Yes

News:  The Law Library has numerous articles related to this legislation. Please contact a Reference Librarian.

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