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2011 Maine Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2011)

handle is hein.sag/sagme0060 and id is 1 raw text is: 201 1-01 REGIONAL OFFICES
41         2011-01    4 HARLOW'ST., 2ND FLOOR
TEL- (207) 941-3070
FAX- (207) 941-3075
William J. Schneider
AT ORNEY G ENERIAL                    0      0                       41 CONGRESS ST, STE. 301
TEL (207) S22-0260
FAX. (207) 822-0259
STATE OF MAINE                     14 ACCEss HIGHWAY. STE.I
TEL: (207) 626-8800            OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL              CARIBOU, MAINE,04736
ITFY: 1-800-577-6690                6 STATE HOUSE STATION                  TEL (207) 496-3792
AUGUSTA, MAINE 04333-0006
June 16. 2011
Senator Barry J. Hobbins
Senator Justin Alfond
3 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0003
Dear Senator Hobbins and Senator Alfond:
I am writing in response to your letter of June 10, 2011, in which you inquired whether
the provisional balloting system set forth in LD 1376, entitled An Act to Preserve the Integrity
of the Voter Registration and Election Process, would impose a mandate on municipalities
pursuant to Article IX, section 21 of the Maine Constitution and thus require state funding of
90?/ of those costs or enactnent by a two thirds vote of all members in each chamber. For the
reasons explained below, it is the opinion of this Office that this legislation does not constitute a
mandate within the meaning of the constitutional provision.
Ari~ce IX, section 21 provides in its entirety as follows:
For the purpose of more fairly apportioning the cost of govermnent and providing
local property tax relief, the State may not require a local unit of goverrmient to
expand or modify that unit's activities so as to necessitate additional expenditures
from local revenues unless the State provides annually 90% of the funding for
these expenditures from State funds not previously appropriated to that local unit
of government. Legislation implementing this section or requiring a specific
expenditure as an exception to this requirement may be enacted upon the votes of
2/3 of all members elected to each House. This section must be liberally
In order to qualify as a mandate' under this provision. an action of the Legislature must
not onlY require units of local government to expand or modi,y their activities, but that
cxpansion or modification must necessitatc additional expenditurcs of local revenue. Even if
legislative action fits this definition of a mandate, the state is not required to fund costs incurred
by local units of government to comply with a federal law or regulation ... except to the extent
that the State imposes requirements or conditions that exceed the federal requirements. 30-A
M.lR.S. 6 5685(3)(D). This provision of the implementing statute is often referred to as the
federal mandate exception.


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