Maine may go unicameral
Wed June 10, 2009 8:37 am

The Maine legislature is considering a measure that would merge the House and Senate into a single body. The House currently contains 151 members, the Senate 35. The proposal would convert the legislature into a single house of 151 members. The idea was proposed as a way to save money. This is the report from Maine Public Broadcasting:

After voting to shrink itself, the Maine House has now endorsed a plan to replace itself, and the State Senate, with so-called unicameral Legislature that would merge both chambers into one body.

That one body would contain the same number of members that the House currently contains, 151. The Senate now has 35 members.

Supporters say the constitutional change would save the state millions of dollars during a typical, two-year legislative session, and improve the Legislature’s efficiency. But opponents say a unicameral Legislature lacks checks and balances.

The only other unicameral Legislature in the nation is Nebraska’s, which merged its two chambers in 1937.

The measure requires more votes in both the House and Senate. Today’s vote in the House fell short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed for final passage.

Hmm … eliminate the Senate? Sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

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