Maine: An Encyclopedia
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Government, State

State Government in Maine is divided between state and local levels. Unlike the federal government in which states retain certain powers in relation to the national government, local governments have no powers not delegated by state government.

Maine state government is rather modest when measured in terms of employees and expenditures compared to the overall population, employment, and size of the economy.

Here is a brief overview.  See the articles on each branch for more details.

JUDICIAL BRANCH

The purpose of the Judicial Department, established in 1820, is to administer the State courts within that Department. The court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Superior Courts and the District Courts. The District Courts deal mainly with civil and minor criminal matters; Superior Courts handle more serious criminal matters and some civil cases; the Supreme Court, or “Law Court” hears appeals and decides issues involving constitutional interpretation.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

The President of the 35 member Senate and the Speaker of the 151 member House have offices adjacent to their respective chambers on the third floor of the State House in Augusta.

The legislature was established: in 1820 “To make and establish all reasonable laws and regulations for the defense and benefit of the people of this State, not repugnant to the Constitution, nor to that of the United States.” Maine Constitution, Article IV, Part Third, Section I.

The Constitutional Offices of Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Attorney General are selected by the legislature and are considered attached to that branch. In most practical respects, their departments function as executive agencies.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

This is a brief summary of the major responsibilities of Maine governmental departments, taken largely from the purposes articulated in the State’s budget document. In addition to these, there are several independent agencies with specialized functions. Among them are the Housing Authority, the Retirement System, and the Finance Authority of Maine.

Executive Department

This Department, also established at statehood in 1820, encompasses the Governor’s Office and other related executive offices. The State Planning Office is one of several agencies placed, from time to time, within the Department.

The Governor directs the affairs of the state according to law; takes care that the laws are faithfully executed; gives the Legislature information regarding the condition of the State, and recommends measures for their consideration. The chief executive also submits to the Legislature a biennial budget for the operation of State government.

The Governor acts as Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of the State; nominates and appoints all judicial, civil and military officers of the State, except as otherwise provided by law. He or she may require information from any military officer or any officer in the Executive Branch upon any subject relating to their respective duties. The chief executive has the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons; and to accept for the State any and all gifts, bequests, grants or conveyances to the State of Maine.

Additional resources

State of Maine, Annual Report, Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services.

This entry was posted in Government and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
This entry was last modified: March 08, 2012 02:58 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *