February 18, 2018
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Maine’s 2015 legislative session by the numbers

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

The first regular session of the 127th Maine Legislature is over.

Like spring becoming summer, the end of the legislative session ushers in the next phase of the political calendar, commemorated by the media and other watchers under the dome: The season of post-session analysis.

Expect to see lots of stories about who won, who lost, and what it all means, man.

The arrival of these stories is predictable, but their function is a necessary effort to make sense of a session marked by dysfunction. You’ll surely see some from the reporters and contributors here at the BDN.

But for now, here’s a look at the cold, hard, numerative record of the session that was.

1,531: The number of items submitted by lawmakers for consideration during the first regular session of the 127th Maine Legislature. Of those, 1,455 were substantive acts and resolves that were given legislative document or “LD” numbers, commonly referred to as “bills.” There were also 76 orders and resolutions, which are less weighty, or are procedural in nature.

1,437: The number of bills that received at least initial votes on the floors of the House and Senate. (18 of the 1,455 bills were withdrawn by their sponsors at the committee level.)

497: The number of bills finally enacted by both chambers of the Legislature and sent to the governor for his consideration. The figure represents roughly 34.5 percent of all the bills that made it to consideration by the full Legislature.

115: Number of bills that died “between the chambers” because the House and Senate could not agree on them.

147: Number of enacted bills signed by Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican.

167: Number of enacted bills LePage allowed to become law without his signature.*

178: Number of enacted bills that LePage vetoed (roughly 36 percent), shattering by far the record for most vetoes in a single year.* This is 22 more vetoes than LePage signed in the entire two-year cycle of the previous Legislature.

126: Number of bills that became law despite LePage’s vetoes after successful override votes in both chambers of the Legislature.

(That gives LePage a batting average of less than .300 in seeing his vetoes sustained — a far cry from the .940 average he enjoyed during the first year of the previous Legislature, adding legitimacy to the commonly held notion this year that even GOP lawmakers have grown tired of LePage’s propensity to use his veto pen. With 135 override votes, the Democrat-controlled House was only slightly more eager to turn back LePage’s vetoes than the GOP-controlled Senate, which voted to override 131 vetoes.)

*65: The number of bills LePage attempted to veto on the last day of session, only to be rebuked by lawmakers who said he’d missed his 10-day window to nix the bills. LePage says he acted in a timely manner within the confines of the state Constitution, but the Legislature has already chaptered the bills as law. Now the issue is before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. These bills are included in the figure for bills that became law without the governor’s signature, but if LePage prevails, the number of vetoed bills will balloon to 243.

3: Number of bills still sitting on LePage’s desk. These bills were enacted by the Legislature during the last day of its session. If the governor vetoes them, lawmakers will consider veto overrides when they return in January.

170: Number of bills referenced to the Committee on Health and Human Services, most of any of the Legislature’s 16 joint standing committees.

28: Number of bills referenced to the Committee on Marine Resources, the least of any of the committees.

This list was compiled from information obtained from the Legislative Information Office and the Office of the Revisor.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

 


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