Section 1. Oaths and subscriptions. Every person elected or appointed to either of the places or offices provided in this Constitution, and every person elected, appointed, or commissioned to any judicial, executive, military or other office under this State, shall, before entering on the discharge of the duties of that place or office, take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation: "I, do swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so long as I shall continue a citizen thereof. So help me God."
"I do swear, that I will faithfully discharge, to the best of my abilities, the duties incumbent on me as according to the constitution and laws of the State. So help me God."
Alternative affirmation. Provided, that an affirmation in the above forms may be substituted, when the person shall be conscientiously scrupulous of taking and subscribing an oath.
Administration of oaths to Governor, Senators, Representatives, and other officers. The oaths or affirmations shall be taken and subscribed by the Governor before the presiding officer of the Senate, in the presence of both Houses of the Legislature, and by the Senators and Representatives before the Governor, and by the residue of said officers before such persons as shall be prescribed by the Legislature; and whenever the Governor shall not be able to attend during the session of the Legislature to take and subscribe said oaths or affirmations, such oaths or affirmations may be taken and subscribed in the recess of the Legislature before any Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court and provided further that, if the Governor shall be unable to appear and administer the oath to the Senators and Representatives, such oaths shall be administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court or in the absence of the Chief Justice, by the senior Associate Justice of said Supreme Judicial Court present at the State Capitol on the first day of the term for which said Senators and Representatives shall have been elected.
Section 2. Offices incompatible with each other; election to Congress disqualifies. No person holding the office of Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, or of any inferior court, Attorney General, district attorney, Treasurer of the State, Adjutant General, judge of probate, register of probate, register of deeds, sheriffs or their deputies, clerks of the judicial courts, shall be a member of the Legislature; and any person holding either of the foregoing offices, elected to, and accepting a seat in the Congress of the United States, shall thereby vacate said office; and no person shall be capable of holding or exercising at the same time within this State, more than one of the offices before mentioned.
Section 3. Commissions. All commissions shall be in the name of the State, signed by the Governor, attested by the Secretary or a deputy of the Secretary and have the seal of the State thereto affixed.
Section 4. Elections on the first Wednesday after first Tuesday of January may be adjourned from day to day. In case the elections, required by this Constitution on the first Wednesday after the first Tuesday of January biennially, by the 2 Houses of the Legislature, shall not be completed on that day, the same may be adjourned from day to day, until completed, in the following order: The vacancies in the Senate shall first be filled; and the Governor shall then be elected, if there be no choice by the people.
Section 5. Removal by impeachment or address. Every person holding any civil office under this State, may be removed by impeachment, for misdemeanor in office; and every person holding any office, may be removed by the Governor on the address of both branches of the Legislature. But before such address shall pass either House, the causes of removal shall be stated and entered on the journal of the House in which it originated, and a copy thereof served on the person in office, that the person may be admitted to a hearing in that person's own defense.
Section 6. Tenure of office. The tenure of all offices, which are not or shall not be otherwise provided for, shall be during the pleasure of the Governor.
Section 7. Valuation. While the public expenses shall be assessed on estates, a general valuation shall be taken at least once in 10 years.
Section 8. Taxation. All taxes upon real and personal estate, assessed by authority of this State, shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof.
1. Intangible property. The Legislature shall have power to levy a tax upon intangible personal property at such rate as it deems wise and equitable without regard to the rate applied to other classes of property.
2. Assessment of certain lands based on current use; penalty on change to higher use. The Legislature shall have power to provide for the assessment of the following types of real estate whenever situated in accordance with a valuation based upon the current use thereof and in accordance with such conditions as the Legislature may enact:
A. Farms and agricultural lands, timber lands and woodlands;
B. Open space lands which are used for recreation or the enjoyment of scenic natural beauty;
C. Lands used for game management or wildlife sanctuaries; and
D. Waterfront land that is used for or that supports commercial fishing activities.
In implementing paragraphs A, B, C and D, the Legislature shall provide that any change of use higher than those set forth in paragraphs A, B, C and D, except when the change is occasioned by a transfer resulting from the exercise or threatened exercise of the power of eminent domain, shall result in the imposition of a minimum penalty equal to the tax which would have been imposed over the 5 years preceding that change of use had that real estate been assessed at its highest and best use, less all taxes paid on that real estate over the preceding 5 years, and interest, upon such reasonable and equitable basis as the Legislature shall determine. Any statutory or constitutional penalty imposed as a result of a change of use, whether imposed before or after the approval of this subsection, shall be determined without regard to the presence of minerals, provided that, when payment of the penalty is made or demanded, whichever occurs first, there is in effect a state excise tax which applies or would apply to the mining of those minerals.
3. School districts. The Legislature shall have power to provide that taxes, which it may authorize a School Administrative District or a community school district to levy, may be assessed on real, personal and intangible property in accordance with any cost-sharing formula which it may authorize.
4. Watercraft. Beginning with the property tax year 1984, all watercraft as defined by the Legislature shall be exempt from taxation as personal property, provided that certain watercraft as defined by the Legislature shall be subject to an excise tax to be collected and retained by the municipalities.
5. Historic and scenic preservation. The Legislature shall have the power to provide that municipalities may reduce taxes on real property if the property owner agrees to maintain the property in accordance with criteria adopted by the governing legislative body of the municipality to maintain the historic integrity of important structures or to provide scenic view easements of significant vistas.
Section 9. Power of taxation. The Legislature shall never, in any manner, suspend or surrender the power of taxation.
Section 10. Tenure of sheriffs. Sheriffs shall be elected by the people of their respective counties, by a plurality of the votes given in on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, and shall hold their offices for 4 years from the first day of January next after their election, unless sooner removed as hereinafter provided.
Removal of sheriffs from office and replacement. Whenever the Governor upon complaint, due notice and hearing shall find that a sheriff is not faithfully or efficiently performing any duty imposed upon the sheriff by law, the Governor may remove such sheriff from office and appoint another sheriff to serve for the remainder of the term for which such removed sheriff was elected. All vacancies in the office of sheriff, other than those caused by removal in the manner aforesaid shall be filled in the same manner as is provided in the case of judges and registers of probate.
Section 11. Attorney General. The Attorney General shall be chosen biennially by joint ballot of the Senators and Representatives in convention. Vacancy in said office occurring when the Legislature is not in session, may be filled by appointment by the Governor, subject to confirmation as required by this Constitution for Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court.
Section 12. Voting districts. The Legislature may by law authorize the dividing of towns into voting districts for all state and national elections, and prescribe the manner in which the votes shall be received, counted, and the result of the election declared.
Section 13. Bribery at elections. The Legislature may enact laws excluding from the right of suffrage, for a term not exceeding 10 years, all persons convicted of bribery at any election, or of voting at any election, under the influence of a bribe.
Section 14. Authority and procedure for issuance of bonds. The credit of the State shall not be directly or indirectly loaned in any case, except as provided in sections 14-A, 14-B, 14-C and 14-D. The Legislature shall not create any debt or debts, liability or liabilities, on behalf of the State, which shall singly, or in the aggregate, with previous debts and liabilities hereafter incurred at any one time, exceed $2,000,000, except to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, or for purposes of war, and except for temporary loans to be paid out of money raised by taxation during the fiscal year in which they are made, and except for loans to be repaid within 12 months with federal transportation funds in amounts not to exceed 50% of transportation funds appropriated by the Federal Government in the prior federal fiscal year; and excepting also that whenever 2/3 of both Houses shall deem it necessary, by proper enactment ratified by a majority of the electors voting thereon at a general or special election, the Legislature may authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State at such times and in such amounts and for such purposes as approved by such action; but this shall not be construed to refer to any money that has been, or may be deposited with this State by the Government of the United States, or to any fund which the State shall hold in trust for any Indian tribe. Whenever ratification by the electors is essential to the validity of bonds to be issued on behalf of the State, the question submitted to the electors shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth the total amount of bonds of the State outstanding and unpaid, the total amount of bonds of the State authorized and unissued, and the total amount of bonds of the State contemplated to be issued if the enactment submitted to the electors be ratified. For any bond authorization requiring ratification of the electors pursuant to this section, if any bonds have not been issued within 5 years of the date of ratification, then those bonds may not be issued after that date. Within 2 years after expiration of that 5-year period, the Legislature may extend, by a majority vote, the 5-year period for an additional 5 years or may reauthorize the bonds. If the Legislature fails to take action within those 2 years, the bond issue shall be considered to be reauthorized and no further bonds may be issued. For any bond authorization in existence on November 6, 1984, and for which the 5-year period following ratification has expired, no further bonds may be issued unless the Legislature, by November 6, 1986, reauthorizes those bonds by a majority vote, for an additional 5-year period, failing which all bonds unissued under those authorizations shall be considered to be reauthorized. Temporary loans to be paid out of moneys raised by taxation during any fiscal year shall not exceed in the aggregate during the fiscal year in question an amount greater than 10% of all the moneys appropriated, authorized and allocated by the Legislature from dedicated revenues to the General Fund and dedicated revenues to the Highway Fund for that fiscal year, exclusive of proceeds or expenditures from the sale of bonds, or greater than 1% of the total valuation of the State of Maine, whichever is the lesser.
Section 14-A. Authority to insure industrial, manufacturing, fishing, and agricultural mortgage loans. For the purposes of fostering, encouraging and assisting the physical location, settlement and resettlement of industrial, manufacturing, fishing, agricultural and recreational enterprises within the State, the Legislature by proper enactment may insure the payment of mortgage loans on real estate and personal property within the State of such industrial, manufacturing, fishing, agricultural and recreational enterprises not exceeding in the aggregate $90,000,000 in amount at any one time and may also appropriate moneys and authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State at such times and in such amounts as it may determine to make payments insured as aforesaid. For the purposes of this section, a documented fishing vessel or a vessel registered under state law shall be construed as real estate.
Section 14-B. Authority to insure revenue bonds of the Maine School Building Authority. In order to encourage and assist in the provision and construction of public school buildings in the State, the Legislature by proper enactment may insure the payment of revenue bonds of the Maine School Building Authority on school projects within the State not exceeding in the aggregate $6,000,000 in amount at any one time and may also appropriate moneys and authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State at such times and in such amounts as it may determine to make payments insured as aforesaid.
Section 14-C. Authority to insure mortgage loans for Indian housing. For the purpose of fostering and encouraging the acquisition, construction, repair and remodeling of houses owned or to be owned by members of the 2 tribes on the several Indian reservations, the Legislature by proper enactment may insure the payment of mortgage loans on such houses not exceeding in the aggregate $1,000,000 in amount at any one time and may also appropriate moneys and authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State at such times and in such amounts as it may determine to make payments insured as aforesaid.
Section 14-D. Authority to insure Maine veterans' mortgage loans, and to appropriate moneys and issue bonds for the payment of same. For the purposes of recognizing the services and sacrifices of Maine's men and women who have served their state and country through honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war or national emergency; enlarging the opportunities for employment of Maine's veterans; insuring the preservation and betterment of the economy of the State of Maine; and stimulating the flow of private investment funds to Maine's veterans, the Legislature by proper enactment may insure the payment of any mortgage loan to resident Maine veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States, including a business organization owned in whole or in part by a resident Maine veteran, when such loans are made in connection with such legitimate purposes and under such terms and conditions as the Legislature may determine, not exceeding in the aggregate $4,000,000 in amount at any one time and may also appropriate moneys and authorize the issuance of bonds on behalf of the State at such times and in such amounts as it may determine to make payments insured as aforesaid.
Section 15. Municipal borrowing regulated by Legislature through general law. The Legislature shall enact general law regulating the total borrowing capacity of municipal corporations.
Section 16. Seat of government. Augusta is hereby declared to be the seat of government of this State.
Section 17. Continuity of Government in case of enemy attack. Notwithstanding any general or special provision of this Constitution, the Legislature, in order to insure continuity of state and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from disasters caused by enemy attack, shall have the power and the immediate duty to provide for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices, of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices, and to adopt such other measures as may be necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations including but not limited to the financing thereof. In the exercise of the powers hereby conferred the Legislature shall in all respects conform to the requirements of this Constitution except to the extent that in the judgment of the Legislature so to do would be impracticable or would admit of undue delay.
Section 18. Limitation on use of funds of Maine State Retirement System. All of the assets, and proceeds or income therefrom, of the Maine State Retirement System or any successor system and all contributions and payments made to the system to provide for retirement and related benefits shall be held, invested or disbursed as in trust for the exclusive purpose of providing for such benefits and shall not be encumbered for, or diverted to, other purposes. Funds appropriated by the Legislature for the Maine State Retirement System are assets of the system and may not be diverted or misappropriated by any subsequent action.
Section 18-A. Funding of retirement benefits under the Maine State Retirement System. Beginning with the fiscal year starting July 1, 1997, the normal cost of all retirement and ancillary benefits provided to participants under the Maine State Retirement System must be funded annually on an actuarial sound basis. Unfunded liabilities may not be created except those resulting from experience losses. Unfunded liability resulting from experience losses must be retired over a period not exceeding 10 years.
Section 18-B. Payment of unfunded liabilities of the Maine State Retirement System. Each fiscal year beginning with the fiscal year starting July 1, 1997, the Legislature shall appropriate funds that will retire in 31 years or less the unfunded liabilities of the Maine State Retirement System that are attributable to state employees and teachers. The unfunded liabilities referred to in this section are those determined by the Maine State Retirement System's actuaries and certified by the Board of Trustees of the Maine State Retirement System as of June 30, 1996.
Section 19. Limitation on expenditure of motor vehicle and motor vehicle fuel revenues. All revenues derived from fees, excises and license taxes relating to registration, operation and use of vehicles on public highways, and to fuels used for propulsion of such vehicles shall be expended solely for cost of administration, statutory refunds and adjustments, payment of debts and liabilities incurred in construction and reconstruction of highways and bridges, the cost of construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of public highways and bridges under the direction and supervision of a state department having jurisdiction over such highways and bridges and expense for state enforcement of traffic laws and shall not be diverted for any purpose, provided that these limitations shall not apply to revenue from an excise tax on motor vehicles imposed in lieu of personal property tax.
Section 20. Mining Excise Tax Trust Fund. The principal amount of the Mining Excise Tax Trust Fund or any successor fund may not be expended unless the expenditure is approved in a separate measure by a 2/3 vote of all the members elected to each House of the Legislature and by the Governor.
Section 21. State mandates. For the purpose of more fairly apportioning the cost of government and providing local property tax relief, the State may not require a local unit of government 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 vote of 2/3 of all members elected to each House. This section must be liberally construed.
Section 22. Revenues generated by fisheries and wildlife management. The amount of funds appropriated in any fiscal year to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or any successor agency responsible for fisheries and wildlife management, other than commercial marine fisheries management, may not be less than the total revenues collected, received or recovered by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or successor agency, from license and permit fees, fines, the sale, lease or rental of property, penalties and all other revenue sources pursuant to the laws of the State administered by the department or successor agency, except that revenues received from the Federal Government may be allocated as provided by federal or state law and the Legislature may establish special funds and deposit revenues collected, received or recovered by the department or successor agency into those special funds, provided that the revenues are allocated and expended only for the purposes of those special funds as provided by law.
Sec. 23. State park land. State park land, public lots or other real estate held by the State for conservation or recreation purposes and designated by legislation implementing this section may not be reduced or its uses substantially altered except on the vote of 2/3 of all the members elected to each House. The proceeds from the sale of such land must be used to purchase additional real estate in the same county for the same purposes.