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Maine Bill to Shrink Number of State Legislators

Published on February 4, 2011, by in General.

Maine Representative Jon Hinck (D-Portland) has introduced LD 153, to shrink the size of each house of the state legislature. The Senate now has 35 members and the proposal would change that to 23, which would give Maine the third-smallest State Senate in the nation (Nevada only has 21 State Senators, and Alaska has only 20). The proposal would lower the number of representatives from 151 to 101.

Maine currently has both an independent State Senator, and an independent Representative. Also, in 2002 and 2004, the Green Party elected a state legislator in Maine. A smaller state legislature would probably make it more difficult for non-major party legislators to be elected. The proposal must receive a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature to pass. If it did pass the legislature, it would then appear as a proposed Constitutional change on the November 2012 ballot. Bills to shrink the legislature were introduced in 2009, but failed to pass.

9 Responses

  1. Richard G.

    Shrinking legislative branches are a mistake unless the population has actually decreased. which I would still disagree in shrinking them. Smaller legislature give more power to lobbyists and less voice for the people. Which is the problem with Congress already. Salaries should be cut and legislatures increased to give better representation. Right now we have too little to almost no representation because of small legislatures.

  2. Portlander

    Interestingly, Hinck defeated the Green Party state legislator, John Eder, in 2006. He is also representative for the Greenest district in the state.

  3. Chip in AK

    I’m going to assume this was supposed to refer to Alaska’s Senate as the smallest (Alaska has 20 in its Senate, and Nebraska has a unicameral legislature).

    @Richard G. – I tend to think that too, which is why I had at least some support for Alaska’s recent Constitutional amendment to increase the size of the House & Senate here (although it failed).

  4. An Alabama Independent

    Any attempt to shrink the members of a legislative body is an attempt to keep the political leaders distant to the people. That’s the way the major party bosses want it. Regardless of other differences in philosophies, 3rd parties and independents should always insist on as large of a legislative body as posssible and that are managable. I don’t know of a single legislative body in the United States today – including Congress – that is too large and unmanagable.

  5. Richard Winger

    Thanks, #3.

  6. Jeff Becker

    I’d like to see where one state senator per county (or parish if you’re in LA) becomes standard. Have the county commissions appoint their state senator and that way the state senates represent the counties (akin to federal Senate supposedly representing the states), and the State House is, of course, the people’s house.

  7. Demo Rep

    Reducing the numbers of party hacks in a regime = More Electors/Voters in each political concentration camp district = Easier to have a party hack oligarchy in a bare majority of the gerrymander districts.

    Any regimes with 3 (repeat 3) legislators in a regime ??

    See many LOW population townships and their legislative bodies in many States.

    P.R. and App.V.

  8. An Alabama Independent

    Not a bad suggestion, # 6, but as you know the US Supreme Court struck those possibilities down in 1962, I beleive it was, with their so-called “1 man 1 vote theory.” Even daydreaming such could happen today, I’d still prefer for the people of those counties (parishes in LA) to elect the State Senators, but allow the county commissions to “recall” them if they were not truly representing a county or a parish. This is what was happening on the national level in the late 1800’s, state legislators were being bought off to elect hand-picked ones to the US Senate. It became so corrupt, the 17th amendment became necessary, although I still say the State Legislatures should have been given “recall” authority over the popularly elected US Senators.

  9. Demo Rep

    # 8 The party hacks in the States can DEMAND constitutional amendments – Art. V.

    The political subarea stuff – (county unit) was blown away in 1963 – Gray v. Sanders [ONE person, ONE vote] — setting the stage for the 1964 gerrymander cases.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_v._Sanders

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