legislator decides to sponsor a bill,
sometimes at the suggestion of a constituent,
interest group, public official or the Governor. The legislator may
ask other legislators in either chamber to join
the legislator's direction, the
Revisor's Office, Office of Policy and Legal Analysis,
and Office of Fiscal and Program Review staff provides research and
drafting assistance and prepares the bill in proper technical
The legislator gives the bill to the Clerk of the House or
of the Senate. The bill is numbered, a
suggested committee recommendation is made and the
bill is printed. The bill is placed on the
respective body's calendar. Read
The bill is referred to one of the Joint Standing or Joint Select committees in
the originating branch
and then sent to the other body for concurrence.
When scheduled by the chairs, the committee
conducts a public hearing where it accepts testimony supporting and opposing the proposed
legislation from any interested party. Notices of public hearings are printed in
newspapers with statewide
distribution and posted on the Legislature's web site (See Advance Notice of Public Hearings)
When the bill is reported to the floor it receives
a first reading
and any committee amendments are adopted at this time. The committee reports the bill to the originating
body as is, with
amendment, with a divided report or with a unanimous recommendation
of Ought Not to Pass. Read
The next legislative day the bill is given its second reading and
floor amendment may be offered. When one
chamber has passed the bill to be engrossed, it is sent to the
other body for its consideration.
The House has a consent calendar for unanimous
Ought to Pass or Ought
to Pass as Amended bills which takes the place of first and second
The bill goes through a similar process.
If the second chamber amends the bill,
it is returned to the first chamber
for a vote on the changes. It may then be sent to a conference
committee to work out a compromise agreeable to both chambers.
A bill receives final legislative approval when it passes
both chambers in
identical form. Read
After final passage (enactment) the bill is sent
to the Governor. The Governor has ten days in which to
sign or veto the bill. If the Governor does not sign the
bill and the Legislature is still in
session, the bill after ten days becomes law as if the
Governor signed it.
If the Legislature has adjourned
for the year the bill does not become law.
This is called a pocket veto.
If the Legislature comes back into
session, the Governor has three days in which to deliver a
veto message to the chamber of origin or the bill becomes
A bill becomes
law 90 days after the end of the
in which it was passed. A bill can become law immediately
if the Legislature, by a 2/3
each chamber, declares that an emergency exists. An emergency law takes effect on
the date the Governor signs it unless
otherwise specified in its text. If a bill is
vetoed, it will become law if the Legislature
veto by a 2/3 vote of those members
present and voting in each chamber. Read
are more detailed descriptions of the steps described above:
While a legislator performs a number
of different tasks, the legislative function is essentially that of proposing,
considering and enacting laws. Each year, Maine legislators consider
thousands of ideas for state laws.
The process by which an idea becomes a law
is a complicated one, involving many steps. It is designed to prevent hasty or
uninformed decisions on matters that can affect the lives of every Maine
citizen. Although the process may seem confusing at first, rules and
procedures clearly define the steps that apply to every bill.
to simplified Step 1
Ideas for bills come from many different
sources: legislators, legislative committees, study groups, lobbyists, public interest
groups, municipal officials, the Governor, state agencies and individual
citizens. In some cases, the person or group requesting the legislation may have
already drafted the bill. In most cases, however, the legislator turns to a
legislative staff office to draft the bill. All legislation, regardless of
where initially drafted, is processed and prepared for introduction by
legislative staff in accordance with standards established by the
Revisor of Statutes.
During the First Regular Session of the Legislature, there are no formal
limitations on the type or number of bills that may be submitted prior to cloture. The Second
Regular Session of the Legislature is limited by the Constitution of Maine to budgetary
matters, the Governor's legislation, legislation of an emergency nature
approved by the Legislative
Council, legislation submitted pursuant to
authorized studies and legislation submitted by direct initiative petition of
The Joint Rules establish cloture deadlines for the submission of state agency
and legislator-sponsored bills during the First Regular Session. The Joint
Rules also authorize the Legislative Council to establish deadlines and
procedures for introduction of bills in the Second Regular Session.
A bill may be introduced pursuant to authorizing law or resolve; in all other
cases, a bill must have a legislative sponsor. A bill may have up to ten
sponsors: one primary sponsor, one lead cosponsor from the other chamber and
eight cosponsors from either chamber. The cosponsor of a duplicate or closely
related bill may also be added as a cosponsor if he or she agrees to withdraw
the duplicate bill, even if this makes the total number of sponsors more than
In addition to introducing their own legislation, legislators also act as
sponsors for bills proposed by other people or groups. Usually, legislators
support bills they sponsor. They may, however, introduce a bill "by
request" as a service to their constituents when they do not fully
support the purpose of the measure. A legislator who wishes a bill to be
identified as "by request" should clearly so indicate when filing a
bill drafting request.
Bill Drafting and Signing: Before formal introduction, the Revisor
of Statutes reviews all proposed bills, and either drafts them or edits any
initial drafts to make them conform to proper form, style and
usage. When a
request for a bill is filed, it is assigned a Legislative Request (LR)
number which is used to track the request until it is printed as a Legislative
The Revisor's Office serves as the central registry for all bill requests
and administers the cloture deadlines established by the Joint Rules. The
Joint Rules provide that bill requests that do not contain enough information
or direction to draft a bill are not considered complete and may therefore be
to simplified Step 2
After processing by the Revisor's Office, a bill must be signed by the
sponsor and any cosponsors. The Joint Rules require the sponsor and cosponsors
to sign the bill or provide changes within deadlines established by the
presiding officers. The signed bill draft is then sent up for printing to the
Secretary of the Senate or Clerk of the House, depending on whether the
sponsor is a senator or representative.
Reference to Committee: The Secretary and Clerk suggest the
committee of reference, assign the bill a Senate Paper (S.P.) or House Paper (H.P.)
number and Legislative Document (L.D.) number, and place it on the next Calendar for consideration in that
legislative body. Bills are usually identified and referred to throughout the
rest of the session by their L.D. numbers.
When the Secretary and Clerk disagree on the committee of reference, they
refer the matter to the President and the Speaker; if the latter disagree, the
Legislative Council resolves the question. When the Legislature is in recess, the Secretary and Clerk, pursuant to the
Joint Rules, refer bills and order them printed. No floor action is required.
A notice of the action appears in the House and Senate
The suggested reference is made to the committee that seems most
appropriate based on the bill's subject matter. For example, most bills that
deal with utilities are reviewed by the Committee on Utilities and Energy. However, a bill making tax changes for utilities could be referred to
either the Committee on Utilities and Energy or the Committee on Taxation. When a bill has a subject matter that falls within the jurisdiction of more
than one committee, suggested references may be made and the Legislature may
vote to refer the bill to more than one committee.
to simplified Step 3
The vote on reference is the first floor vote taken on a bill. In most
cases, approval of the suggested committee reference is a matter of form.
Occasionally, the reference is debated and the House and Senate may refer the bill to a different committee. If the House and Senate cannot agree on which committee will hear the bill,
that piece of legislation can go no further in the process.
In a few unusual circumstances, a bill may be engrossed without reference to a
committee under suspension of the Joint Rules. That means that the bill goes directly to the floor of the
appropriate body for discussion and action. Engrossing without reference
usually occurs when the bill is of an emergency nature and the time to go
through the public hearing process is not available.
Form of a Bill: There are a number of different types of House and
Senate Papers, designed for different purposes. Among these are bills,
expressions of legislative sentiment, memorials, orders, resolutions, resolves
and constitutional resolutions. The
discussion here focuses primarily on the particular form of paper called a
bill. Unlike other papers, a bill, if enacted, becomes a state
law. The legislative process is primarily concerned with the drafting,
consideration and enactment of bills.
Every bill has certain basic components, in addition to the assigned House Paper or Senate Paper number
and L.D. number. These components include the number of the legislative session, the
date of introduction, the name of the committee suggested for reference, the
sponsor and any cosponsors, the title, the text of the bill and the summary. View
a sample L.D.
In the text, any existing statutory language proposed to be repealed is
crossed out and all new language is underlined. When a bill repeals and
replaces an existing statute, or creates an entirely new statute, all of the text
Following the text of the bill is the Summary (formerly referred to as the Statement of
Fact), a plain-English
explanation of the content and intent of the bill which is prepared by the Revisor's
to simplified Step 4
Virtually all bills are reviewed, analyzed and discussed by one or more
legislative committees before they are considered on their merits by the full
Legislature. Bills are referred to committees by both houses, receive a public
hearing, are worked on in committee work sessions, and are given a
recommendation, or "report," by the committee to the whole
The Joint Rules authorize 17 Joint Standing
Committees, each consisting of three members of the Senate and 10 House members. The President of
the Senate and Speaker of the House appoint all committee members and
committee chairs. Each committee has a Senate Chair and a House Chair.
Each Committee is assigned one or more legislative analysts from the Office of Policy
and Legal Analysis (OPLA) or the Office of Fiscal and Program Review (OFPR) by the
respective office directors. The analyst provides nonpartisan staff services
to all committee members. Each committee also has a committee clerk who is
responsible for maintaining official records of the committee and for
providing general clerical and administrative support.
Bill Distribution: Once the committee of reference has been
suggested and the bill has been printed, it is distributed to members of the
Legislature and to all town and city clerks who request copies. Bills are available to the public
through the Legislative Document Room at the State House. The Clerk of
the House provides copies of all bills through a subscription service for
which a fee is charged. The Legislature provides access to bills on the Internet at http://janus.state.me.us/legis.
Public Hearing: The next step is a public hearing, usually held
within the State House or the
. After the committee chairs set the date and place for public hearings,
notices are placed in advance in the weekend editions of
's major newspapers, typically two weekends in advance of the hearing. Notice
is also published in the weekly Advance Notice of Public Hearing schedule and through the Legislature's
Activities Calendar and from the Clerk of the House through a subscription service
for which a fee is charged.
The public hearing, presided over by a committee chair, allows legislative
sponsors to explain the purpose of the bill and citizens, state officials and
lobbyists to tell committee members their views on a bill.
Customarily, the bill's sponsor testifies first, followed by any cosponsors
and other proponents. Opponents testify next, and finally, those persons who
would like to comment on the bill but not as an opponent or proponent. At the
conclusion of a person's testimony, committee members may ask questions. The
committee's formal action on a bill comes later at what is called a work
Work Session: The purpose of work sessions is to allow committee
members to discuss bills thoroughly and vote on the committee's
recommendation, or report, to the Legislature. The committee works with its
legislative analyst to draft amendments or review amendments proposed by
others. Some bills require several work sessions.
Work sessions are open to the public and, at the invitation of the
committee, department representatives, lobbyists and others may address the
committee about bills being considered, suggest compromises or amendments, and
answer questions. The committee may also ask its legislative analyst to
research and explain certain details of the bill.
Amendments are suggested changes to the bill, which may clarify, restrict,
expand or correct it. At times, revisions are so extensive that the entire
substance of the bill is changed by the amendment. On rare occasions,
extensive revision of the bill may take the form of a new draft, rather than
an amendment. A new draft is printed as an L.D. with a new number.
Authorization of the President and Speaker is required to prepare a new draft.
Committee Report: The committee's decisions on bills and amendments
are expressed by votes on motions made during a work session; the final action
is called a committee report. The report a bill receives is often
the most important influence on its passage or defeat. Several types of
unanimous and divided reports on a bill are possible.
A unanimous report means all committee members agree. Possible unanimous committee reports are: "ought to pass," "ought to pass as amended," "ought to pass in new draft," "ought not to pass" and "referral to another committee."
If committee members disagree about a bill, they may issue a divided
report, which usually includes majority and minority reports on the bill.
Example: a majority 'ought not to pass' report and a minority report of 'ought
to pass as amended.' A less frequent situation occurs when there are more than
2 reports. Example: 6 members vote for 'Report A,' 'ought to pass,' 5 members
vote for 'Report B,' 'ought not to pass,' and 2 members vote for 'Report C,'
'ought to pass as amended.'
If an 'ought not to pass' report is unanimous, the bill is placed in the
legislative file and the letter from the committee chairs conveying this
report appears on the House and Senate Calendars. When that occurs, no further
action may be taken by the Legislature unless a Joint Order recalling the bill
from the file is approved by 2/3 of the members of both houses voting in both chambers. If it is recalled, the bill is reconsidered.
Unless the committee report is a unanimous 'ought not to pass,' a
legislator may move, at the appropriate time during floor debate, to
substitute the bill for the report. A majority vote is required for the motion
to proceed. Such a motion is usually made only when neither report of a
divided report has been accepted.
Prior to reporting out a bill, the committee must determine whether the
bill will increase or decrease state revenues or expenditures as well as
whether the bill constitutes a State Mandate under the Maine Constitution. The
Office of Fiscal and Program Review makes the determination of whether the
bill will have a fiscal impact. If it does, the office has the responsibility
for producing a fiscal note, which describes the fiscal impact. If the bill
constitutes a State Mandate, this fact is also noted in the fiscal note. If
the bill does have a fiscal impact, the committee must amend the bill to add
the fiscal note. Any necessary appropriation or allocation is also added by
Return to simplified Step 5
of Committee, cont'd
To be enacted, bills must pass through at least four steps on the floor of
both the Senate and House: first reading, second reading, engrossment and
enactment. An understanding of the Senate, House and Joint Rules is essential
to follow and influence a bill's progress on the floors.
Once a bill is reported out by a committee, it is returned to the chamber in
which it originated. If there is a new draft or committee amendment reported
by the committee, it is drafted by the committee's legislative analyst,
prepared by the Revisor's Office and submitted to the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House for
printing and distribution. If a fiscal note is required it will be prepared by
the Office of Fiscal and Program Review and included in the committee
amendment. The Secretary or Clerk places the title of the bill
and the committee report on the printed Calendar.
The first time the bill, as reported by the committee, is placed on the
Calendar, the body votes to accept or reject the committee report, or one of
the reports if the committee was divided.
Committee reports shall include one of the following recommendations:
Ought to Pass
Ought to Pass as Amended
Ought to Pass in New Draft
Ought Not to Pass
Refer to Another Committee
When the committee recommendation is not unanimous, a minority report or reports are required.
If an "ought to pass" report is accepted in either chamber, the bill
receives its first reading by the Clerk or Secretary. Committee Amendments are
read and adopted. Since legislators have
copies of the printed bills and committee amendments, a motion is usually made
to dispense with a complete reading. After the first reading, the bill is assigned
for a second reading, which is usually the next day.
If the bill has received a unanimous 'ought to pass' or 'ought to pass as
amended' committee report, the House of Representatives uses the "Consent
Calendar," which allows bills with either of those reports to be listed and to be
engrossed for passage after they have appeared there for two legislative days,
provided there is no objection. However, on the objection of any member, a
bill can be removed from the Consent Calendar and debated. There is not a Consent Calendar in the Senate.
A legislator who wishes to delay a bill at any step of the process to get
more information, or for other reasons, may make a motion to table
the bill until the next legislative day or some other time. A legislator who strongly
opposes a bill may make a motion for indefinite postponement.If the motion
to indefinitely postpone is approved, the bill is defeated. These motions
require approval by majority vote in both bodies to succeed.
to simplified Step 6
A bill may be debated on its merits at several points in the process. The
debate may appear uncontrolled to those looking on, but frequently a debating
sequence has been arranged. Usually, the chairman of the committee to which
the bill was referred speaks first in favor of the committee report, or to
answer questions, followed by other committee members who support the bill and
by the sponsor and by those who may not support the committee report. Members indicate to the Speaker or the President that they
wish to speak by pressing the electronic switch at their desk or rising in
their place.The presiding officer decides who to recognize first and keeps track of how many times a legislator has spoken on a particular issue, whether on the main motion or on a subordinate one.
During floor debate, members communicate with each other by sending
messages delivered by chamber staff, or by moving to the back of the chamber to
Voting: At any point, a legislator or the presiding officer may call for a vote on the current motion on the bill. When debate on a motion is over, a vote on the motion is in order. The vote may be a voice vote, or a vote "under the hammer," where approval is presumed unless an objection is raised before the presiding officer bangs the gavel. Two other types of votes are a "division" and a "roll-call vote." For a division, only the total number of votes cast for and against the motion is recorded. For a roll call vote, the members' names and how they voted are recorded. Any member may request a roll call, which requires the support of one-fifth of the members present to be ordered. A roll-call vote is signaled by the ringing of bells and members are given a few minutes to return to their seats. The Sergeant-at-Arms is ordered to secure the chamber and no one is permitted to leave until the vote is recorded.
In the House, members vote in a division or roll call by pushing a button at their desks; the results are displayed on two large boards on the front walls. In the Senate, divisions and roll calls are also done electronically. Members reserve the right to request that the yeas and nays be called by the Secretary. In this manner, the Senators are called in alphabetical order and respond with "yea" or "nay."
The Maine Legislature records and transcribes all the remarks that are made on the record. A complete account of all the arguments made on bills is available in the Legislative Record, which is generally available within a few weeks of the debate. The Record is also available on the Senate and House web sites.
Floor Amendments: Floor amendments to a bill may be offered by Senate and House members at appropriate times during floor debate. Requests for floor amendments should be filed with the Revisor's Office with as much lead time as possible. Floor amendments must be signed, presented to the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House, numbered, printed and distributed to the members before they may be offered on the floor. If an amendment affects an appropriation or causes an increase or decrease in state revenues, it must also include an amended appropriation or fiscal note.
to simplified Step 7
Passage to be Engrossed: After the debating and amending processes
are completed, a vote is taken in both houses to pass the measure to be
engrossed. "Engrossing" means printing the bill and all adopted
amendments together in an integrated document for enactment. Bills passed to
be engrossed are prepared by the Revisor's Office and sent to the House and
then the Senate for final enactment.
Enactment: After being engrossed, all bills must be considered for
enactment or final passage first in the House and then in the Senate. The necessary vote
for enactment is usually a simple majority; there are important exceptions.
Emergency bills and bills excepted from the State Mandate provision of the
require a two-thirds majority of the entire elected membership of each body;
referenda for bond issues and constitutional amendments require a two-thirds
vote of those present. After a bill is
enacted by both the House and the Senate, it is sent to the Governor. If it
fails enactment in both houses, it goes no further in the process. If the House and Senate disagree on enactment, additional votes may be
taken. These give each house the opportunity to recede and concur (backup and
agree) with the other body or to insist or adhere to its original vote. If the disagreement cannot be resolved, the bill is said to have failed
enactment and died between the bodies.
During the debate on a bill, motions for reconsideration and to suspend the
rules are often used to aid in reaching a consensus. The House and Senate may
develop and pass different versions of the same bill.
Committee of Conference: The Senate and House may develop and pass different versions of the same bill. When this happens, a special "conference committee" is in order and may be appointed by the presiding officers. A committee of conference consists of three members from each chamber who voted on the prevailing side. A report from a conference committee is usually accepted by both the Senate and House, but if it is not, or if the committee is unable to agree, the bill is defeated unless a new conference committee is appointed and successfully resolves the disagreement.
Appropriations Table: Bills that affect state revenues or expenditures fall into a special category. Once bills that affect the General Fund or Highway Fund have been passed to be engrossed in the Senate and enacted in the House they are assigned in the Senate to the special Appropriations Table (if they involve the General Fund) or to the special Highway Table (if they involve the Highway Fund). They are listed on the Senate Calendar and are held in the Senate for consideration late in the session.
At the end of the session, after the budget bills have been reported out by the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, and usually after the budget bills have been enacted, the Appropriations Committee and legislative leadership, having received recommendations from committees, review bills on the special Appropriations Table to determine which bills can be enacted given available General Fund resources. The Transportation Committee follows similar deliberations for bills on the special Highway Table, considering available Highway Fund resources. Following those decisions, motions are made in the Senate, usually by the Senate chairs of the Appropriations and Transportation Committees, to remove bills from the special tables and to enact, amend or indefinitely postpone them. If enacted in the Senate, these bills are sent to the Governor for approval, as are all other enacted bills. Any of these bills that fail to be enacted or require amendment in the Senate are returned to the House for concurrence.
All joint orders or legislation proposing legislative studies are placed on a special study table. The Legislative Council reviews proposed studies and establishes priorities for allocation of budgetary and staffing resources to those studies. Legislative studies authorized by the Legislature or Legislative Council are budgeted and study expenses are charged to a study line in the Legislative Account, unless the authorizing legislation makes an appropriation to a study.
to simplified Step 8
After a bill has been enacted by the Legislature, it is sent to the
Governor, who has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to exercise one of four
options: the Governor may sign the bill, veto it, allow it to become law
without signature, or disapprove a dollar amount by using the line-item veto.
If the Governor signs the bill, it ordinarily becomes law 90 days after the
adjournment of that legislative session - unless it is an emergency measure,
in which case it takes effect upon the Governor's signing or on a date
specified in the bill.
If the Governor vetoes the bill, it is returned to the house of origin,
where a 2/3 vote of those present and voting in both the House and Senate is
required to override. The Governor's veto message may include comments on
particular aspects of the bill and the reasons for rejecting it, possibly
raising new issues for legislators to debate. If the Legislature overrides the
Governor's veto, the bill becomes law without gubernatorial approval.
If the Governor does not support a bill but does not wish to veto it, it
becomes law without the Governor's signature, if not signed and not returned
to the Legislature within 10 days.
When the Legislature adjourns before the 10-day time limit has expired, a
bill on which the Governor has not acted prior to the adjournment of the
session becomes law unless the Governor vetoes it within three days after the
next reconvening of that Legislature. If there is not another meeting of that
particular Legislature lasting more than three days, the bill does not become law.
In addition to the preceding options, the Governor may
exercise line-item veto power: within one day of receiving legislation for his
or her signature, the Governor may disapprove the dollar amount appearing in
an appropriation section or allocation section, or both, of the legislation.
The Governor must propose a decrease in the appropriation or allocation or an
increase in the deappropriation or deallocation. Those portions not revised
by the Governor become law; the Governor's proposed revisions become law
unless the Legislature overrides the changes by approving each original
appropriation or allocation by majority vote of all elected members in each
to simplified Step 9
Numbering: Once a bill becomes a law, it is assigned a chapter number. Chapters are numbered consecutively, starting with Chapter 1 for the first law enacted in the first regular session, and continuing through all regular and special sessions of that legislative biennium. All laws are identified by the first year of the biennium. Thus, public laws passed by the 121st Legislature are identified as Chapters of the Public Laws of 2003, even though the laws of the Second Regular Session were passed in 2004 After each session, copies of every individual measure enacted or finally passed are available from the Engrossing Division of the Revisor's Office.
Laws of Maine: Following the adjournment of each Regular Session,
all public laws, private and special laws, resolves, and constitutional
resolutions passed in that year are published by the Office of Revisor of
Statutes in the Laws of Maine. These soft bound volumes are available to the
public on request and are found in the law libraries in each county.
The information is also available on the Legislature's web page http://www.mainelegislature.org/ros/LOM/LOMpdfDirectory.htm.
Codification: The Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, the codified
compilation of Maine Public Laws, is updated annually by West Publishing
Company in cooperation with the Revisor of Statutes to include changes enacted
by each Legislature.
The unannotated statutes are available on the internet.
Further Action: After a bill is enacted, it may be affected by
subsequent actions, including referenda, regulatory interpretations, and court
Referenda: If the Legislature approves by the necessary 2/3 vote of
both chambers a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment, that resolution
must be submitted to the people for a referendum at the next general election.
Constitutional amendments do not require approval by the Governor, but must be
approved by a majority of the voters.
A referendum can also result from a successful direct initiative petition
by the voters to either enact or repeal a law. After the Secretary of State
verifies the signatures on the petitions, the measure is submitted to the
Legislature, which may pass that law as submitted, or refer the initiated
measure to the people for referendum vote. The Legislature may also enact an
alternative version, called a competing measure, in which case both versions
are referred to the people for a referendum vote.
A third type of referendum is triggered by a successful petition to
exercise the people's veto. Voters may petition for a referendum to approve or
disapprove any law enacted by the Legislature but not yet in effect. If the
law is not ratified by a majority of voters in a statewide general election or
special election, it does not take effect.
The Legislature at times inserts referendum provisions in legislation for
policy reasons, for instance, substantive amendments to water district
charters customarily include a local referendum provision. If the referendum
is not approved as provided in the legislation, then those portions of the
legislation subject to referendum approval do not take effect.
Finally, the Maine Constitution requires that referenda be held for all
Agency Rulemaking: Many laws authorize state agencies to adopt rules
to implement laws. These rules must be adopted in accordance with the Maine
Administrative Procedure Act (the 'APA'). This Act requires, among other
things, public and legislative notice of rulemaking and that major substantive
rules be submitted to the Legislature for review and approval.
Court Action: Another way in which laws may be affected is by court
action. As a result of cases brought to them, the Maine courts interpret laws
passed by the Legislature. Court decisions may clarify the purpose of a law,
its application, or the meaning of certain words in the context of the
statute. The courts also may determine whether a law conforms to the
provisions of the United States Constitution and the Maine Constitution.
to simplified Step 10