In October of 1819, William King led a group of people who met to create a State Constitution. In 1820, Maine became the 23rd state in the nation as part of the Missouri Compromise. Part of the constitution created Maine's government. The Maine State Constitution states that the governing body of Maine shall consist of three co-equal branches known as the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.
Executive Branch - Enforces the Laws
The Executive Branch is responsible for execution of the laws created by the legislature. This branch is headed by the Governor, whose powers include the ability to call the Senate and House of Representatives into session and to either approve or veto any bills that may be passed by these two branches of the legislature. The Governor is elected every four years, and no individual may serve more than two consecutive terms in this office.
Legislative Branch - Makes the Laws
The Legislative Branch has the power to make laws. Maine's Legislature is a bi-cameral Legislature made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 35 members who are elected every 2 years, and the House has 151 members who are also elected every two years. In Maine, no Senator or Representative may serve more than four consecutive terms. For a Bill to become a law, it must pass through four steps in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; 1st reading, 2nd reading, engrossment and then enactment. If the House members vote to enact a bill, it is sent to the Senate for enactment and then to the Governor to sign into law. The Governor may either approve or veto any law. The Legislature however, can override a veto by a two-thirds majority vote by members of both the Senate and the House.
Judicial Branch - Interprets the Laws
The Judicial Branch has the power to interpret Maine laws. The Courts of Maine are headed by the Supreme Judicial Court. This branch must also answer any requests by either the Governor or the Legislature to issue an opinion on current laws or pending bills. All judicial officers are appointed by the Governor and serve a term of 7 years.
The State of Maine has three Constitutional Officers and one Statutory Officer. The three Constitutional Officers are the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, and State Attorney General. The Officer created by Maine Statute is the State Auditor.
The Secretary of State is responsible for keeping and preserving the records of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Among other duties, Maine's Secretary of State is also charged with safeguarding the Electoral process and protecting the motoring public by promoting the safe use of Maine roadways. The Secretary of State is elected by Senators and Representatives, by ballot, at a joint convention of the Legislature and serves for two years. The Secretary of State may not serve for more than 4 consecutive terms.
The State Treasurer is responsible for recording, collecting and investing all of the state's money. The treasurer is elected by Senators and Representatives, by ballot, at a joint convention of the Legislature and serves for two years. The State Treasurer may not serve for more than 4 consecutive terms.
The State Attorney General is the chief lawyer for the state. The Attorney General represents the State of Maine and its many agencies in court cases. Some of the areas investigated by the Attorney General are consumer fraud, suspicious deaths, and other major crimes. The Attorney General is elected by Senators and Representatives, by ballot, at a joint convention of the Legislature and serves for two years. The Attorney General may not serve for more than 4 consecutive terms.
The State Auditor is the chief officer charged with examining all of the State's financial records and reporting the findings to the Legislature each year. The State Auditor is elected by Senators and Representatives, by ballot, at a joint convention of the Legislature and serves for two years. The State Auditor may not serve for more than 2 consecutive terms.
For more information on the powers of the different branches of the Maine Government, check out the Maine Legislative Homepage.