Gov. Janet Mills (D) and Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey have introduced legislation to grant subpoena power to the commission tasked with investigating the mass shooting that occurred last October.
The Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston was established by Executive Order on November 9, 2023.
At the Commission’s first public meeting on November 20, the members unanimously agreed to proceed with asking the governor to request subpoena power from the legislature in order to “ensure [their] effectiveness and advance [their] goal of transparency.”
That same day, Mills and Frey announced their willingness to work with the Commission to secure them this power.
Prior to the Commission’s official formation, Mills and Frey had preemptively pledged in a joint letter to the members of the Commission that they were willing to “seek any appropriate authorization from the Legislature” that was needed to “discharge [their] fact finding responsibilities fully and properly.”
The official legislation requesting the subpoena power — LD 2192 — was introduced Thursday and sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook), Speaker of the House Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland), Senate Minority Leader Trey Stewart (R-Aroostook), and House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor).
“This legislation, which comes at the request of the Independent Commission, will ensure that the Commission has the tools it needs to fully and effectively discharge its critical mission of determining the facts of the tragedy in Lewiston,” Mills and Frey said in a joint statement Wednesday.
“We know that the Legislature shares the goal of understanding the facts in an independent, nonpartisan manner, are grateful for the bipartisan support of the four legislative leaders, and hope the Legislature will quickly approve the measure,” said Mills and Frey.
According to the press release from the governor and attorney general, LD 2192 “would enable the Independent Commission to issue subpoenas to compel the production of documents and the testimony of witnesses with a majority vote of the body.”
“In the event that an individual or entity does not comply, the Independent Commission would be permitted to apply to the Maine Superior Court to seek to compel compliance in any state, federal or military court or tribunal,” the press release explains.
Should the requisite two-thirds of both chambers vote in support of the LD 2192, the legislation would take immediate effect.
Check Out More of the Maine Wire’s Coverage of the Independent Commission to Investigate the Facts of the Tragedy in Lewiston