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Avandgrid Networks, Inc. v. Secretary of State

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20198
Nos. Cum-20-181, (Maine, 08/13/2020)

The Maine Supreme Court held unconstitutional a state ballot initiative that proposed to reverse a Maine Public Utilities Commission order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a 145-mile transmission line in New England. A power company argued the initiative violated the Maine Constitution by exceeding the scope of legislative powers reserved to the people, usurping the power of the executive and judicial branches, and singling out one corporation to exempt from the generally applicable law, and sought to enjoin the initiative from being placed on the November 2020 ballot. The lower court concluded that the initiative's constitutionality was not subject to judicial review before the election, and dismissed the company's claims. On appeal, the high court found that the constitutionality question was ripe for review and that the initiative failed to meet the constitutional requirements for inclusion on the ballot because it exceeded the scope of the people's legislative powers conferred by the state constitution. It therefore vacated the lower court's dismissal and remanded for it to enter declaratory judgment for the power company.