The Maine House of Representatives, on of the two houses of the Maine Legislature, contains 151 voting members elected from as many House Districts. House members are assigned to Joint Standing Committees, as are members of the Senate, to hear and recommend proposed legislation.
Both House and Senate districts are reapportioned every ten years, based on the decennial population census, to keep them approximately equal in population.
In recent years, the reapportioned districts have taken effect with the election four years after the census year: 1984, 1994, 2004. However, beginning in 2012, reapportionment will be in effect with the election two years after the census year.
The House membership also includes non-voting members of the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy Indian tribes, elected by the tribes. The tribal representatives may introduce and sponsor legislation, and may take part in floor debates and committee activities.
The Speaker of the House presides at the rostrum, assisted by the Clerk of the House, who manages the organizational business of the chamber and records the actions of the body. Both are elected by the full House and usually are members of the majority party in the House.
The majority party’s “floor leader” sits in the front row of the member seating, at the extreme right in this photo. The minority floor leader sits on the opposite side in the front row.
The large vertical list in each corner contains the names of all members and displays their votes when a recorded vote is called.
The House, as with other State offices, was of course much more primitive in accommodations during the earliest period of the Capitol Building in Augusta.
This is the House chamber, probably before the remodeling of the Capitol Building in 1909. (Courtesy of Maine State Archives.)