AUGUSTA – On Tuesday, Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon instructed the parliamentary officers of each chamber to send out a poll question to members of the 129th Maine Legislature asking whether they favor reconvening for a possible special session. Lawmakers have 48 hours to respond to the poll question registering their votes with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House. Results will be released following the vote.
The proposed special session would follow new health and safety policies unanimously adopted last week by Legislative Council, a 10-member bipartisan council made up of legislative leaders from each of the four caucuses.
Statement from Senate President Troy Jackson:
“The time is now for the Legislature to return to Augusta and finish the job. With Maine seeing fewer cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths, Maine lawmakers are in a good position to finish our work and deliver for Maine people.
“For months, we’ve been working in our communities to address inexcusable flaws in our unemployment system, advocate for small businesses so they can remain open and help people access health care, rental relief and food. Mainers are counting on us. I know given the economic circumstances and public health crisis, I’ll be making prudent decisions with my votes focusing on measures that support the health and well-being of Maine families, small businesses, seniors and communities. By reconvening, we have the opportunity to deliver when people need it most.”
Statement from Speaker of the House Sara Gideon:
“Bolstering our economic recovery and ensuring that we are addressing the needs of Mainers are the top priorities for this potential Legislative session. This will include public school readiness, help with housing and nutrition needs, aid to small businesses and the tourism economy, adequate childcare, access to rural healthcare, utilizing federal funding and more. Our people and our businesses have adapted with incredible patience, and faced an unprecedented challenge. As a Legislature, we should prepare ourselves to take every action available to continue providing much-needed assistance during this time.”
The Maine Constitution grants Presiding Officers the authority to reconvene the Legislature for a special session so long as they have the consent of a majority of Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Governor Janet T. Mills also has the authority to call the Legislature back into session at any time.
The Maine Legislature unanimously voted to adjourn sine die March 17 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and growing number of COVID-19 cases detected in Maine. Legislative leaders in both the House and Senate agreed to carry over all unresolved bills to a special session for consideration.