The material that follows is best understood as applying to legislative documents, denoted by LD and an identifying number. This site may have information for a few Senate or House Orders, but orders are directives that apply only within a chamber and do not require agreement by both chambers. Senate or House Papers that may have joint resolutions that have to be approved by both chambers, but these do not necessarily follow the same path as legislative documents and do not become a part of the public law as contained in the Maine Revised Statues Annotated.A basic understanding of how a bill becomes law clarifies the outcomes listed under "Bills sponsored and cosponsored during the 129th session" below, and also explains the motions that were voted on in the overwhelming majority of the roll call votes that are covered here. One principle to keep in mind is that the Senate and the House have to agree on any legislation that becomes enacted - they can't enact different laws. The requirement that they agree on what is enacted implies the two chambers have to iron out any disagreements on a bill's path to becoming law if the bill is to be enacted into law.
To facilitate reaching agreement, each chamber sends a message to the other chamber of what action it has taken at at least three points on the path to becoming law:
Setting aside the motions related to disagreement for a moment, after a bill is written in proper legislative form, the path the bill takes to becoming law in a little more detail along with the motions that (sometimes) generate roll call votes follow.
A bill is initially referred to a particular Joint Standing or Joint Select Committee from the chamber that originated the proposed legislation. Their suggested committee assignment is then messaged to the other chamber for concurrence. If the topic of a proposed law implies it could be assigned to more than one committee and the chambers do not agree on the committee assignment, then this difference must be resolved prior to any further progress. All committee assignments are reviewed by the full House and full Senate, but this is usually a formality rather than becoming a topic of floor debate and (potentially) a roll call vote on a motion to refer to decide the issue (e.g., a motion to refer a bill to the Committee on Health and Human Services). Near the end of the session when time becomes an issue, a bill may be debated in the full chamber without being assigned to a committee under suspension of the rules.
A committee report may be unanimous or divided and is styled as an action (or a set of different actions for a divided report) that a chamber can take. If the Committee unanimously agrees that a measure "ought not to pass," then by Joint Rule 310.3, the proposed law is dead and typically no additional action is taken by the full chambers, although a motion to recall the bill is possible (see 3 below). If a committee unanimously agrees on an "ought to pass" report, or "ought to pass" with an amendment, then the bill as given in that report is automatically accepted and passed to be engrossed in the House (but not the Senate) unless a representative objects within two days after the report is issued by the committee.
Most committee reports are divided, which means they consist of more than one possible action reflecting the differing opinions of different committee members. Because committees have an odd number of members, if two actions are offered in a divided report, then one will usually be labeled a Majority report and the other a Minority report, reflecting the vote count for the two reports. If more than two actions are included in a divided report, then the actions are labeled as different reports, Report A, Report B, Report C, etc. The most frequently occurring recommended actions in divided reports are "ought not to pass," "ought to pass," and "ought to pass as amended by Committee amendment X-N" (where X is either "H" or "S" and N is a number - this reference for an amendment uniquely identifies the amendment). Additional reports available to committees but rarely adopted are "refer to another committee" and "ought to pass in new draft." After the committee has determined its report, the bill returns to the chamber it was initiated in and the next action takes place.
Before looking at the next action, observe that the Office of Fiscal and Program Review determines whether a bill has a fiscal impact (i.e., impacts revenues or costs to the state) as well as whether the proposed legislation constitutes a State Mandate as defined by Maine's Constitution. If the proposed legislation does have a fiscal impact, the Office of Fiscal and Program Review provides a fiscal note which describes the impact and is sent back to the chambers with the committee report. Legislation that incorporates a State Mandate requires a 2/3 yea vote from members of a chamber on a motion to enact in order to become law. In practice, fiscal notes that report that a measure has "no fiscal impact" are fairly common, and links to Adbobe Portable Document Files (i.e., PDFs) of fiscal notes are included on this site.
Motions to commit are rare in this data. Instead, a much more frequently observed motion is a motion to "accept" (i.e., agree on as a full chamber) a particular report from among a set of actions included in a divided committee report. For example, one possible motion will be listed here as Accept the Majority (or Minority) Report, Ought Not to Pass. If the chamber that first receives the committee report accepts an ought not to pass report (either by voice vote or by roll call vote), then its action suggesting that the bill not become a law is messaged to the other chamber which then gets to choose which report it will accept.
If the first chamber to hear the report instead accepts a different report that involves enacting the bill in some form (for this example, a motion listed here as Accept Minority Report, Ought to Pass as Amended by Committee Amendment X-N), then the bill receives its first reading, and the Committee amendment is then accepted as well. After the first reading and acceptance of Committee amendments, a second reading is scheduled for the next legislative day.
At the second reading of the bill, additional amendments may be offered from the floor of the chamber. Amendments are added to the legislation by a motion to adopt; for example a bill in its second reading in the House may generate a motion to Adopt House Amendment H-N1 to Committee Amendment X-N, where N1 is possibly different number than N and H refers to "House." An adopt motion can generate a roll call vote or be accepted without a roll call vote.
If no amendments from the floor are offered or when no further amendments are offered, the bill is passed to be engrossed. Engrossing means printing, and passing a bill to be engrossed implies that the bill is printed with any amendments that were adopted incorporated into the document. Although engrossing a bill also requires a motion, roll call votes are almost always about which committee report to accept or the adoption of possible floor amendments. Those votes indicate the form of the legislation (i.e., any amendments) the majority of a chamber wants to move forward, and engrossing a bill is almost always accomplished without a roll call vote. Although there are not roll call votes on motions to engross a bill, it is a key step because when a chamber takes that action, a message of that action is sent to the other chamber. In effect, that message says "this is the form of the legislation that a majority of this chamber would like to consider enacting."
Although it is fairly common for the House or Senate to suspend the rules to dispense with a second reading to save time (they already have printed copies of the legislation), if there is no suspension of the rules, then a bill must go through a first reading, second reading, and passage to be engrossed before a motion to enact can be offered. If both chambers engross the same law, then the bill is ready to be enacted.
At any time after the committee report is received or even before referring the bill to a committee, a motion to table the bill can be offered. Tabling a bill postpones further action until the next legislative day or a date set by the motion to table. A motion to table requires yea votes by a majority of members present to succeed. Alternatively, a motion to indefinitely postpone the bill may be offered. Indefinitely postponing a bill removes it from further discussion within the chamber. Although both chambers must pass a motion to indefinitely postpone a bill for the bill to be placed in the legislative file, when one chamber passes a motion to indefinitely postpone a bill it sends a strong message that the chamber does not wish to enact any form of the bill into law. If a majority is willing to vote yea on a motion to indefinitely postpone, then almost by definition there is not a majority in favor of enacting the bill into law.
Bills that have been passed to be enacted by the House and passed to be engrossed in the Senate and require expenditures from the General Fund or the Highway Fund are placed by the Senate on the Special Appropriations Table or the Highway Table, respectively. Near the end of the session, legislative leadership and the Appropriations Committee review committee recommendations to determine which bills on the Special Appropriations table are enacted. Following those decisions, bills are removed from the Special Appropriations Table in the Senate and motions are made to enact, amend, or indefinitely postpone each bill. Any bills that are enacted have already been enacted in the House and are forwarded to the Governor, and any bills that fail to be enacted or are amended are returned to the House for concurrence. Treatment of bills on the Highway Table is similar.
In the roll call data, the two chambers never reach the point where they have passed motions to enact different forms of the same bill (i.e., the same LD but with different amendments). Given the messaging between the two chambers, disagreement is usually either resolved before a chamber passes a motion to enact or the disagreement is fatal to the bill. However, if the chambers did pass motions to enact for different legislation, the differences would have to be resolved before the bill could advance. The means for resolving such differences are a Committee of Conference, which consists of three Representatives and three Senators who supported the measure within their chamber and are appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, respectively. The Committee of Conference attempts to reach agreement on one measure that can be enacted in both branches.
Bills that have been placed in the legislative file can be recalled. A motion to recall a bill for a bill that failed enactment must be offered by a legislator who voted against enactment, and requires a 2/3 vote to succeeed.
After a veto that occurs while the legislature is in session, the bill is returned to the legislature for motion to reconsider the bill. If both chambers pass the reconsideration motion by yea votes from at least 2/3 present at the time of the vote, then the veto is overridden and the measure becomes law despite the Governor's objections.
For example, suppose the House is first to act on a Committee report and chooses the action "amend LD X with Committee amendment A" and subsequently engrosses the bill. The message that is sent to the Senate tells the Senate the House has taken this step and is accompanied by the notation "for concurrence." If the Senate then takes the same action, the message the Senate sends back to the House says "in concurrence," and the House can advance a motion to enact with the knowledge that both chambers will be considering a motion to enact on the same legislation.
Suppose instead that the Senate chooses the action "amend LD X with Committee amendment B." The message sent back to the House after the Senate's action will include the phrases in "non-concurrence" and "for concurrence." The House then has several actions available, each of which requires a motion that passes by a majority present voting yea:
If the House passes a motion to insist or a motion to adhere, then the message sent back to the Senate that informs the Senate that the House has taken this action is accompanied by the notation "in non-concurrence," and either the Senate takes an action that resolves the non-concurrence or the bill is dead. The Senate has the same motions available to it that were available to the House, and of course the entire example could have started with the House taking an action that sent a notation in non-concurrence to the Senate.
One other alternative in addition to the motions recede and concur, insist, and adhere, is recede, which simply backs the chamber out of its last action, thereby opening a debate on the next action.
Simplifying a bit, if you view a legislator's job as voting on measures, then the values and ingenuity they express through the bills they sponsor and the values they express through the bills they cosponsor are why we might trust them to represent us by voting for us. One limitation to this interpretation of sponsorship and cosponsorship is that each bill can have only one sponsor and may have up to 10 co-sponsors (or more only by agreement of the Senate President and Speaker of the House). A second limitation on this interpretation is that bills must be sponsored (or at least "introduced") by a legislator in one of the chambers to become law, and some bills are sponsored at the request of the Governor or at the request of a legislator's constituent; bills that are by request of the Governor are noted on this site.
As a third caveat, casual study (something formal has to wait until later) suggests that legislators generally sponsor more legislation as the number of terms in office they have had increases and that senators tend to sponsor more legislation than representatives. Because this site contains information for roughly 850 sponsored documents and there are 188 legislators (35 senators, 151 representatives and two tribal representatives), legislators sponsor an average of a little less than 5 bills each.
For each sponsored or co-sponsored measure, three pieces of information are given:
While the bill is in the legislature, the two chambers may disagree at any of these steps. The two chambers must agree on the same form of the legislation in order to successfully enact it, and disagreement at other steps such as what committee should review the bill at least temporarily stop a bill's progress towards becoming law until agreement is reached. Motions that are available to craft agreement from disagreement appear frequently among roll call votes and are given below at the end.
It bears emphasis that a "yea" vote on a motion to accept an "Ought Not to Pass" report is a vote to stop progress towards enacting the bill at this stage, whereas a "nay" vote on a motion to accept an "Ought Not to Pass" can be taken to imply the legislator wants to enact the legislation in some form. It is fairly common for a chamber to take a roll call vote on a "minority (or majority) ought not to pass" motion which fails passage, and then proceed through engrossing the bill and enacting it with no further roll call votes. This site adds the explanation What happend after the ought not to pass motion failed whenever that happens.
Additionally, because the two chambers immediately message their actions to each other and because they must agree on the final form of legislation for it to be enacted, a number of motions can be used to facilitate a negotiation of the differences between the chambers at any stage from committee referral to enactment:
Finally, a motion to Reconsider is sometimes offered after a motion to enact a bill has failed as a second chance to pass the bill, and a yea vote is a vote to pass the bill. I use the term Reconsider after Governor's Veto to refer to the motion that occurs after the Governor vetoes a bill. A yea vote on a motion to "Reconsider after the Governor's veto" is a vote to pass despite the Governor's objection to it, and requires 2/3 of the members present. For any vote on a motion to Reconsider after the Governor's veto, I also add explanatory text What had passed to indicate any amendments to the bill that had been incorporated in what had passed to be enacted and was then vetoed by the Governor.
Additionally, if the vote led to enactment (e.g., the motion was to reconsider after the Governor's veto and the veto was overridden in both chambers), then links to the chaptered law and the fiscal note associated with the chaptered law are also present. Chaptered law is the legislation as it was enacted - it is the bill as it was passed to be engrossed, with underlined text representing new text to appear in the law, and text that is stricken through representing text no longer a part of the law. At the end of the session, Chaptered law appears in the document The Laws of Maine, compiled by the Office of the Revisor of Statutes and containing all public laws, private and special laws, resolves, and constitutional resolutions enacted in a session. Adobe Portable Document Format versions of the Laws of Maine dating back to 2009 are available here. Note well: Because this site focuses on roll call votes, it is NOT a substitute for The Laws of Maine. Laws can be and are enacted without a roll call vote being taken, through decisions at various steps that are either voice votes, divisions (a voting method similar to a secret ballot, it lists the total count of yeas and nays, but not the voter's identity), or decisions that are made "under the gavel," which refers to the leader of the chamber banging the gavel to make the decision after no member has offered a motion or called for a vote. Public laws are laws that ultimately enter the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated (MRSA); Private and Special Laws do not enter the MRSA, typically because they are limited in scope in some manner (e.g., apply to only a person or locality for a limited period of time).
If the bill did not become law by the roll call, then this website will usually have a link to the fiscal note that is relevant to the vote
(e.g., if the bill is being amended by Amendment XXX and Amendment XXX replaces the original proposed measure and Amendment XXX has a fiscal note,
then the link is to the fiscal note for Amendment XXX).
Legislative scorecards developed by the organizations listed below are summarized on each legislator's information page on this website. Specifically, each scorecard contains several bills that the organization either supports or opposes, and then scores each legislator based on whether their votes on the bills agrees with the organization's view - the summary score appears on this site.
Each section below gives the items on the scorecard and where to find them on these pages, as well as a link back to the scorecard source that opens in a new tab. The scorecards are either attached to the linked websites or comprise the websites, and provide each legislator's vote on each bill on the scorecard.
The aggregated scores that appear on this site for the Maine People's Alliance, Maine AFL-CIO and Planned Parenthood Action Fund are presented as percentages. The Maine Conservation Voters, 2017 scorecard is presented as a count with the number of absences noted.
In the presentation of the scorecards on the legislator info pages, this site provides a graph of the frequency distribution of the scores for the entire chamber, House or Senate, that is color coded by political party. The frequency distribution is just a count of the number of legislators with each score. The color coding of political parties permits you to see a legislator's score relative to all legislators and also relative to legislators within a particular legislator's caucus if the legislator is a Republican or Democrat. To save space, the legend abbreviates the party names, which are the following:
Next, a few words on absences that are my opinion. I think people try to extract, and maybe confuse, two pieces of information from the summary scores presented here: (1) does the legislator reflect my values and (2) what did they do through their votes to promote those values. Absences affect both of these.
For an example of (1), suppose two legislators score 100%, but one has some absences. Absences complicate understanding a legislator's values because an absence may be due to illness or some other obligation that might be assumed to be random (an Excused absence). However, in addition to illness, an unexcused absence can also reflect a choice not to vote even when the legislator is in the chamber. For example, a legislator may abstain from voting in the belief that their abstention, along with other legislators' abstentions, will lead to the defeat of a measure they do not want passed but do not want to be on the record as opposing. But they can also abstain because they believe their abstention will lead to passage of a motion they do not want to be on record as supporting. Yet a third possibility is that a legislator chooses not to vote because they perceive a conflict of interest for them in the legislation and would prefer that others decide the issue. The safest general recommendation is that if you want a legislator's opinion of a bill that they did not vote on, ask.
For (2), how absence affects passage of a motion, a Yea helps more than an absence which helps more than a Nay if the requirement for passage is some fraction (i.e., greater than 1/2, 2/3 or more) of members present. If the outcome depends on the number of members in the chamber (i.e., 35 Senators, 151 voting Representatives) then an absence has the same effect as a Nay vote.
Legislative scorecards have a long history. They reveal the scorecard creator's interests and legislative priorities and permit people who share those interests and priorities to hold legislators accountable. My thanks to all of the organizations who allowed me to summarize their scorecards here, and I recommend visiting their websites for thorough rationales for their positions.
What I report is the percentage of times the legislator voted the MPA's position on a selection of votes related to ballot initiatives from 2016 and 2017, the Clean Elections Initiative passed initially in 1995, and the ballot initiative process. The highest possible score is 100%, the lowest possible score is 0%. There are 11 bills scored in each chamber. LD 1865 is used only in the House and LD 1726 is used only in the Senate. Bills in the scorecard and where to find them on this site follow.
|Bill reference for the 128th session and MPA notation|
|LD 31 Changing the Citizen Initiative Process|
|LD 390 Repealing the Stand up For Students Initiative|
|LD 673 Cutting Wages for Tipped Workers|
|LD 837* Funding voter-approved Medicaid expansion law|
|LD 1210 Funding Maine's voter-backed Clean Elections Law|
|LD 1609 Cutting wages for young people|
|LD 1625 Repealing Ranked Choice Voting|
|LD 1646 Delaying Ranked Choice Voting until 2021|
|LD 1757 Attack on the minimum wage|
|LD 1864 Sending Homecare for All to Ballot|
|LD 1865 Increasing Restrictions on the Citizen Initiative Process|
|LD 1726 Banning signature collection at the polls|
What I report is the percentage of times a legislator voted with the MPA's values as expressed on the 15 bills below. The highest possible score is 100%, the lowest possible score is 0%. Each chamber is scored on 12 bills; LD 1566, LD 1865 and LD 1684 are in the House only; LD 1507, LD 1726 and LD 1769 are in the Senate only. Bills in the scorecard and where to find them here follow.
|Bill reference for the 128th session and MPA notation|
|LD 31 Changing the Citizen's Initiative Process|
|LD 837* Funding voter approved Medicaid expansion law|
|LD 1444 Promoting community solar|
|LD 1476 Continuing preventative care of ACA|
|LD 1707 Funding For Syringe Exchange Programs|
|LD 1757 Attack on the minimum wage|
|LD 1833 Forcing compliance with Trump's anti-immigration policies|
|LD 1864 Sending Homecare for All to ballot|
|LD 1904 Immigrant stigmatization|
|LD 1507 Student loan bill of rights|
|LD 1566 Fair Chance Act|
|LD 1684 Stopping Lunch Shaming at School|
|LD 1726 Banning signature collection at the polls|
|LD 1769 Cutting overtime pay|
|LD 1865 Increasing Restrictions on the Citizen's Initiative Process|
|Bill reference for the 128th session and MCV notation|
|LD 820 Mining|
|LD 182 Flame Retardants|
|LD 1504 Solar|
|LD 586 Public Lands|
|LD 454 Arsenic|
|LD 1392 MUBEC|
|LD 56 Bottle Bill|
Maine AFL-CIO Scorecard, 2017
What I report is the percentage of times a legislator voted in agreement with the AFL-CIO position on 10 votes. The highest possible score is 100%, lowest possible score is 0%. If a legislator was absent for 1 vote, the percentage is for 9 votes, if a legislator was absent for two votes, the percentage is for 8 votes, and so on. If a legislator's score is not divisible by 10, then the legislator must have been absent one or more times. Often the number of absences can be inferred from the score - for example, an 8/9 yields 89%, so that a legislator with an 89% was absent for 1 of 10 votes and voted the way the AFL-CIO prefers 8 of the 9 votes they were present for. There was no roll call vote for LD 1382 in the Senate, and no roll call vote for LD 1358 in the House - the remaining bills had roll calls in both chambers.
|Bill reference for the 128th session and AFL-CIO notation|
|LD 65 "Right to work" for less|
|LD 66 Union busting|
|LD 390 State Budget and Tax Fairness Referendum|
|LD 1553 Union recertification elections|
|LD 1441 Veterans bill|
|LD 591 Yield to bus|
|LD 182 Ban on toxic flame retardants|
|LD 1609 Minimum wage referendum repeal|
|LD 673 Subminimum wage for tipped workers|
|LD 1358 Public sector binding arbitration|
|LD 1382 Responsible contractor|
|Bill reference for the 128th session and PPMAF notation|
|LD 327 Personhood|
|LD 1237 BC|
|LD 1259 Equal Pay|
|LD 778 Minimum wage|