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1994 Maine Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (1994)

handle is hein.sag/sagme0022 and id is 1 raw text is: MICHAEL E. CARPENTER                                                  REGIONAL OFFICES:
ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                96 HARLow ST., SUITE A
VENDEAN V. VAFIADES                                                   T1L: (207) 941-3070
CHIEF DEPUTY                    STATE OF MAINE                  59 PREBLE STREET
Telephone: (207] 626-8800         STATE HOUSE STATION 6               ThL: (207) 822-0260
FAX: [207] 287-3145                AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333
January 3, 1994
Hon. William Lemke
House of Representatives
State House Station 2
Augusta, ME 04333
Dear Representative Lemke:
You have inquired of this office whether the position of Speaker of the House
of Representatives carries with it a status such that removal of a Speaker or election
of a replacement Speaker would require more than a majority vote of the
membership of the House. For the reasons which follow, it is the opinion of this
Department that the Speaker may be removed and replaced by majority vote of the
Article IV, Part First, Section 7 of the Maine Constitution provides simply
that The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker, clerk, and other
officers.  The provision does not specify a fixed term of office such as, for example,
is provided for the Office of Governor (the Governor .. . shall hold the office for
four years-. . ., Me. Const. art. V, pt. 1, §2), nor does it specify that the election of the
Speaker shall occur at any particular time, such as is the case for the so-called
constitutional officers. (The Secretary of State shall be chosen biennially . . ., Me.
Const. art. V, pt.2, §1; see also art. V, pt. 3, §1 (Treasurer); art. IX, §11 (Attorney
General)). It thus appears that, on its face, the provision of the Maine Constitution
providing for the choosing of the Speaker neither specifies a-fixed term during
which the holder of that position may hold office, nor does it specify a particular
time at which the Speaker is to be chosen. In consequence, the Constitution does
not fix the tenure of the Speakers's office, and the Speaker must be viewed as
serving at the pleasure of the House of Representatives, and therefore may be
removed and replaced at any time by a majority of the House or Representatives. If
this were not the case, it would mean that the Clerk and the Assistant Clerk of the
House also could not be removed except by impeachment.

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