Study Commissions, Task Forces & Working Groups

(from Maine Townsman, July 2007)

Although the Legislature adjourned on June 21st and will not officially reconvene the second session until January 2, 2008, much work will be conducted during the interim period. Over the next several months, study commissions, task forces and working groups will be meeting, analyzing and studying a variety of issues, including several of municipal interest.

What follows is a list of the municipally significant studies authorized by the 123rd Legislature. You will note that two different processes were used to create these commissions, task forces and working groups. One process created the study groups through an Executive Order (an act of the Governor) or Joint Order (an act of the Legislature). The other process created the study groups through the enactment of a bill or resolve.

Membership on these studies varies. In some cases, the study participants are only members of the Legislature. In other cases, a state agency is directed to work with an unspecified list of interested parties to accomplish the assigned task. In still other cases, the order, law or resolve that created the study group explicitly identifies the non-legislators who will participate in the study. In those types of studies, it is not uncommon for a "statewide organization representing municipalities", for example, to be asked to recommend a municipal candidate for membership. Regardless of membership makeup, all study meetings are open to the public and interested municipal officials are urged to participate.

Any municipal official interested in serving on or learning more about any of these studies is encourage to contact Kate Dufour at 1-800-452-8786 or

Executive Orders

An Order Establishing the Governor's Council on Maine's Quality of Places. (Ordered by Governor John Baldacci.) Effective date: March 3, 2007 to April 16, 2008.

This Executive Order creates the Council on Maine's Quality of Places, which is directed to: (1) examine the State's public programs, decision-making processes, investment practices, private market incentives, institutional capacities and research efforts to assess readiness to maintain Maine as a desirable place to live, work, raise a family and to build a useful and productive life; (2) recommend an action plan for protecting, investing in, and enhancing Maine's distinctive quality of place; (3) propose structures, institutions, processes, programs, activities and investments that will ensure the long-term protection and enhancement of Maine's quality places; and (4) propose coordination with and among the actions of existing and recommended public, private and nonprofit "quality of place" efforts in Maine.

The 18-member Council has been appointed and includes representation from a variety of public and private organizations, including state agencies, the state university system, natural resource based organizations, and the municipal, planning and business communities. The municipal representatives include Bangor City Manager, Edward Barrett, and Orono Town Planner, Evan Richert. The complete list of Council members is found on the Maine State Planning Office website at:

Joint Orders

HP 1018 - Joint Order to Create the Joint Select Committee on Prosperity. (Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Cummings of Portland) Passed: June 20, 2007

This Joint Order establishes the Committee on Future Maine Prosperity. The 15-member Committee includes four members of the Senate (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) and 11 members of the House (5 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 1 unenrolled representative). The Committee is charged with developing a comprehensive plan to achieve sustainable prosperity in Maine. The Committee is directed to review all existing resources describing proposals for long-term economic and quality of life growth for Maine, including the Brookings report "Charting Maine's Future: An Action Plan for Promoting Sustainable Prosperity and Quality Places". Based on its findings, the Committee is also charged with developing recommendations to achieve the growth goal. The Committee is authorized to meet five times before being dissolved on January 4, 2008. :

SP 731 - Joint Order Directing the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation to Study Certain Transportation-related Matters. (Sponsored by Sen. Dennis Damon or Hancock Cty.) Passed: June 20, 2007

This Joint Order authorizes the members of the Transportation Committee to meet up to four times in 2007 for the purpose of: (1) describing the features of the collector and state aid highway network; (2) studying the evolution of state and federal laws governing state aid highways; (3) identifying inequities experienced by municipalities as a result of current law; (4) comparing Maine's responsibility over the state aid system with other states; (5) assessing the need to (among other issues) adjust state/municipality responsibilities for maintenance and capital improvements of state aid road system and amend the amount of local road assistance program funding provided; and (6) making recommendations addressing how the state aid system is currently maintained and funded and illustrating the anticipated positive or negative impacts to property tax valuations, local road conditions and state aid road conditions associated with any proposed change. The Committee is also authorized to submit legislation in the second session to implement any proposed recommendations.

For a complete description of the following enactments that create various study committees, task forces or working groups, please refer to the bill’s description in the “New Laws” article in this edition of the Townsman.

Business, Research and Economic Development

LD 289 - Resolve, Directing the Commissioner of Labor to Convene a Task Force to Evaluate and Recommend Revisions to the Definition of Service Dog. (Sponsored by Rep. Robinson of Raymond.) Resolves 2007, c. 96

LD 677 - Resolve, Directing the Development of a Building Code and Building Rehabilitation Code Implementation Plan. (Reported by Sen. Dow of Lincoln County for the Community Preservation Advisory Committee.) Resolves 2007, c. 46

LD 1469 - Resolve, To Enhance Accountability in Tax Increment Financing. (Sponsored by Rep. Berry of Bowdoinham.) Resolves 2007, c. 70

Criminal Justice

LD 676 - An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Task Force To Study Maine's Homeland Security Needs. (Reported by Sen. Strimling of Cumberland County for the Task Force to Study Maine's Homeland Security Needs.) PL 2007, c. 462

Health and Human Services

LD 1661 - Resolve, To Support Community Planning for the Aging of the Population. (Sponsored by Rep. Campbell of Newfield.) Resolves 2007, c. 29

LD 1812 - Resolve, Regarding the Role of Local Regions in Maine's Emerging Public Health Infrastructure. (Sponsored by Rep. Cummings of Portland.) Emergency passed, Resolves 2007, c. 114 (6/21/07)

Natural Resources

LD 1743 - An Act Concerning the Sustainable Use of and Planning for Water Resources. (Sponsored by Sen. Bartlett of Cumberland Cty.) PL 2007, c. 399

LD 1903 - An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Working Group Studying Mold in Buildings. (Reported by Rep. Koffman of Bar Harbor for the Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources.) PL 2007, c. 355

Marine Resources

LD 1318 - Resolve, To Conduct an Independent Review of the Department of Marine Resources, Public Health Division. (Sponsored by Rep. Webster of Freeport.) Emergency passed, Resolves 2007, c. 82 (6/15/07)

State & Local Government

LD 142 - Resolve, To Improve the Professional Development of County Officials. (Sponsored by Rep. Barstow of Gorham.) Resolves 2007, c. 3

LD 1462 - Resolve, Regarding the Department of Audit's Municipal Internal Control Observation Program. (Sponsored by Sen. Weston of Waldo Cty.) Resolves 2007, c. 66


LD 208 - Resolve, Directing the Department of Economic and Community Development To Analyze and Evaluate the Effect of Tax Increment Financing for Retail Businesses on Economic Development. (Sponsored by Rep. Simpson of Auburn.) Resolves 2007, c. 127

LD 543 - Resolve, To Establish the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law Review Committee. (Sponsored by Rep. Saviello of Wilton.) Carry Over

For details about the nature of this Tree Growth study please refer to the “MMA Agenda” article published in this edition of the Maine Townsman.

LD 789 - Resolve, Directing the Bureau of Revenue Services To Convene a Study Group on the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax. (Sponsored by Rep. Sirois of Turner.) Resolves 2007, c. 107

LD 1707 - Resolve, Directing the Bureau of Revenue Services To Convene a Study Group on Excise Tax Enforcement. (Sponsored by Rep. Wheeler of Kittery.) Resolves 2007, c. 113


LD 576 - Resolve, To Examine Issues Related to Distracted Driving. (Sponsored by Rep. Babbidge of Kennebunk.) Resolves 2007, c. 86


Utilities & Energy

LD 1347 - Resolve, Regarding Alternative Fuel Incentives To Stimulate the Production, Distribution and Use of Biofuels. (Sponsored by Rep. Pingree of North Haven.) Resolves 2007, c. 51