“7. Other subpoenas, etc. When the duties assigned to a committee so require, the Legislature may grant to it the power to administer oaths, issue subpoenas, compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of any papers, books, accounts, documents and testimony, and to cause the deposition of witnesses, whether residing within or without the State, to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for taking depositions in civil actions in the Superior Court. When the Legislature grants this power to a joint standing committee or joint select committee, such committee functions as an investigating committee and is subject to the provisions of chapter 21. No appropriation or allocation may be made for a specific study unless the Legislative Council has first approved a budget adopted by the joint standing committee that is to conduct the study. No appropriation or allocation may be made for the operation of any joint select committee unless the Legislative Council has first approved a budget adopted by the joint select committee. In case of disobedience on the part of any person to comply with any subpoena issued in behalf of a committee, or on the refusal of any witness to testify to any matters regarding which the witness may be lawfully interrogated, it is the duty of the Superior Court of any county, on application of a member of a committee, to compel obedience by proceedings for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from that court or a refusal to testify in that court. Each witness, other than a state officer or employee, who appears before a committee by its order or subpoena is entitled to receive for that witness’s attendance the fees and mileage provided for witnesses in civil cases in courts of record, which must be audited and paid upon the presentation of proper vouchers sworn to by such witness and approved by the chair of the committee” (Maine Statute 3§165).
“4. Investigating committee. An ‘investigating committee’ is any committee of the Legislature which has been granted by the Legislature the power to administer oaths, issue subpoenas and take depositions, as authorized by section 165, subsection 7. ‘Investigating committee’ shall include the Legislative Council when it exercises the authority granted under section 162, subsection 4, but shall not include the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices when it exercises the authority granted under Title 1, chapter 25” (Maine Statute 3§402).
“Whenever the Legislature delegates to a committee the power to administer oaths, issue subpoenas and take depositions in connection with any study or investigation, such committee shall automatically become an investigating committee for the purpose of such study or investigation and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter, whether or not such power is utilized by the committee in the course of such study or investigation” (Maine Statute 3§411).
“Scope of study or investigation
“The authorization creating an investigating committee shall clearly state, and thereby limit, the subject matter and scope of the study or investigation. No investigating committee shall exceed the limits set forth in such authorization” (Maine Statute 3§412).
“All testimony of subpoenaed witnesses shall be under oath. A voluntary witness may be required to testify under oath by legislative committee action. Oaths shall be administered by the chairman” (Maine Statute 3§426).
Joint Rules #
“Joint Standing Committee Responsibilities and Jurisdiction.
“Joint standing committees are formed to assist the Legislature in the performance of its constitutional duties and are vested with the general authority granted in the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 3, section 165 and certain other specific authority granted from time to time by the Legislature. The responsibilities of joint standing committees include, but are not limited to:
- “Pending Legislation. Considering and reporting to both chambers on legislation pending before the Legislature;
- “Budget and Fiscal Policy Issues. Reviewing and making recommendations on budgeting and fiscal policy issues concerning State Government;
- “Actions of Departments and Agencies. Conducting oversight and review of the actions of departments and agencies of State Government, including, but not limited to, review of agency rules under Title 5, chapter 375, subchapters II and II-A and agency evaluations under the State Government Evaluation Act;
- “Gubernatorial Appointments. Reviewing and making recommendations on gubernatorial appointments that require legislative confirmation under Title 3, chapter 6; and
- “Other Tasks. Performing other tasks assigned to them, including, but not limited to, reviewing specific provisions of law, conducting studies on assigned topics, issuing reports on policy and legal issues of interest to the Legislature, reporting out specific legislation pursuant to joint order and authorizing the annual budgets of certain counties” (Joint Rule 301).
“Interim Committee Activities.
“The chairs of a joint standing committee may request and upon finding of need the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House are authorized to jointly grant permission to a committee to meet out of session to conduct work of the committee, including review of agencies’ effectiveness under the Government Evaluation Act, review of major substantive rules and agency regulatory agendas under the Administrative Procedure Act and review of agency strategic planning and performance budgeting submissions under Title 5, chapter 151-C” (Joint Rule 315).