State-by-State 2011 Legislative Year in Review: Maine

Maine’s legislature approved of one constitutional amendment related to the courts in 2011:

HB 397 Provides if legislature fails to reapportion legislative districts or if the districts are successfully challenged, the Supreme Judicial Court is to make the reapportionment.

New laws or resolutions affecting the courts enacted or adopted by the Maine legislature in 2011 include the following:

HB 32 Allows family law magistrates to wear black robes.

HB 935 Eliminates the requirement that the State Court Library Committee meet at least 4 times a year and gives the State Court Library Committee flexibility in the provision of resources to law libraries.

SB 297 Creates the Commission To Study Priorities and Timing of Judicial Proceedings in State Courts. Commission to “study the priority and timing of judicial proceedings in state courts including, but not limited to, judicial proceedings that require priority treatment pursuant to statute.” Reduces the size of the commission and revises the membership to include 3 Senators, instead of 2. Deletes as required members representatives of the Maine State Bar Association, the Maine Prosecutors Association and Pine Tree Legal Assistance. Requires the commission to seek the participation of these organizations as well as the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services and the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Authorizes the commission to seek the participation of any other individuals or organizations.

SB 337 Allows the judicial branch to contract with state agencies or private debt collection services to collect overdue fines and fees