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2000 Maine Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2000)

handle is hein.sag/sagme0028 and id is 1 raw text is: 00-1

ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                       84 HARLOW ST. 2ND FLOOR
TEL: (207) 941-3070
FAx: (207) 941-3075
Telephone: (207) 626-B600               STATE OF MAINE                        44 OAK STREET, 4TH FLOOR
TDD:1207) 62.865            DEPARTMENT OF THE ATORNEY GENERAL               PORTLAND, MAINE 04101-3014
6 STATE HOUSE STATION                    TL (
AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333-0006                   TDD: (877) 428-8800
No vember 14, 2000
The Honorable Michael H. Michaud
8o Main Street
East Millinocket, Maine 04430
Dear Senator Michaud:
This will respond to your oral request for an opinion from this Office inquiring as
to whether it is constitutionally permissible for the Maine Senate to elect co-Presidents
of the Senate. In other words, you have asked whether two individuals could
simultaneously serve as Presidents of the Senate and somehow share that office. For the
reasons which follow, it is the opinion of this Office that the election of co-Presidents of
the Senate is not allowed under Maine's Constitution.
Article IV, Part II, § 8 of the Maine Constitution provides that [tPhe Senate shall
choose their President, Secretary and other officers. Thus, the Constitution itself
contemplates that the Senate will select certain officers including a President and
Secretary. Moreover, the literal language of the Constitution, as well as common sense,
would seem to suggest that the Constitution contemplates that the office of President of
the Senate be occupied by one person at a time.
The actual duties and responsibilities of the President of the Senate are not
described in detail in the Constitutonn itself. The Constitution only describes a few
limited duties the President of the Senate is either authorized or required to perform.
Among these is the authority, with the Speaker of the House, to call the Legislature into
session under certain circumstances. See Article IV, Part 3, § 1. Article V, Part 1, § 14
provides that       IwIhenever the office of Governor shall become vacant because of the
death, resignation or removal of a Governor in office, or any other cause, the President
of the Senate shall assume the office of Governor until another Governor shall be duly
qualified. Similarly, [w]henever the Governor is unable to discharge the powers and
duties of that office because of mental or physical disability, the President of the Senate

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