Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Legislative Council

The Legislative Council is the administrative body for the Legislative Branch. It comprises the ten members of legislative leadership: the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Majority and Minority Floor Leaders and the Majority and Minority Assistant Floor Leaders for both the Senate and House of Representatives. Council members elect a Chair and Vice-Chair at the beginning of each legislative biennium; the chair alternates between the Senate and House by tradition every two years.

The Council’s specific powers and duties are set forth in law and legislative rule. It is responsible for providing professional, nonpartisan staff support services to the Legislature, its officers, members, committees and commissions. These include legislative research, bill drafting; policy, legal and fiscal analysis; fiscal note preparation; committee staffing; computer support; public information; library and reference services; and general administrative services.

Other responsibilities delegated by the Legislature include preparing legislative budget requests and overseeing that budget; establishing salary, benefit and employment practices; planning and oversight of projects designed to improve the organization, operation and physical facilities of the Legislature; and assignment of work to legislative committees when the Legislature is not in session.

The Council also has responsibility for screening and approving requests to introduce legislation after cloture (after deadline bills) in any legislative session and exercises this same role for all bill requests prior to their introduction in the second regular session and all special sessions.

The Legislative Council is required by law to meet at least once monthly.

Condensed from Office of the Executive Director. “Legislative Council.” http://www.maine.gov/legis/execdir/Legislative%20Council.htm (accessed January 5, 2012)

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