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Researching Federal, State and Local Regulations: Maine Local Regulations

This guide will introduce the user to resources used in researching federal, state, and local regulations.

Understanding Municipal Law

Secondary sources are not law in and of themselves, but may help a researcher understand an unfamiliar area of the law. The secondary sources listed below are varied; they will help the researcher understand the basics of municipal law, provide references to interpretive cases, and provide access to useful forms.

Maine County Government, Town & City Ordinances and Registry of Deeds

The Garbrecht Law Library has already created a guide, Maine Municipal Ordinances with links for each county government's website, if they have one. For each city or town that has ordinances published on its website, there is a link to their ordinance page. Some towns only provide for contact information to acquire ordinances. The guide will also provide a link to the list of municipalities for that county that is provided either by the county government's website or the state government's website as well as a link to the county Registry of Deeds.

The Maine Local Government Portal provides access to information online about every county and municipality in Maine, including contact information, basic facts, and online services.  

Maine has nearly 500 municipalities. Local government in Maine provides many essential services to the citizens of the community, including:

  • road construction and maintenance,
  • solid waste disposal,
  • water utilities and waste water treatment,
  • police and fire protection and emergency rescue,
  • land use planning and building inspection,
  • welfare,
  • and public education for grades Kindergarten through 12.

 

A Citizen's Guide to Town Meetings explains how town meetings work and how citizens can participate in the process.  It is published by the Maine Municipal Association, a voluntary membership organization offering an array of professional services to municipalities and other local government entities in Maine.   

Sources of Municipal Codes

The most challenging aspect of Municipal Code research arises largely from the difficulty in finding copies of municipal codes because there is no one singular clearinghouse for all municipal codes.  A large number of current municipal codes are freely available online via several publishers’ websites.  Some of the more popular such websites are below.  None of the following sites contain all of the municipal codes in the United States but the provide a helpful starting point for legal researchers.

Finding Older Municipal Codes

For those researchers who seek older, superseded versions of municipal codes, the research process becomes slightly more complicated.  Old versions of municipal codes may be found in multiple locations.  First, we suggest focusing your search in the geographical area in which the municipality is located, as institutions in that area are more likely to have the documents you seek.  Thus, you may want to start your search at the local public library for the municipality, and/or an academic, governmental, or other public law library in the municipality’s state.  Some researchers have also found success contacting the municipality’s clerk’s office, as well as the official archives for the municipality’s state.  The Maine Local Government Portal may be helpful in locating the contact information for those offices.  

Sample Municipal Codes and Other Guidance

Sample Municipal Codes and Other Guidance

For those researchers seeking information about trends in municipal ordinances, or for municipalities wishing to find out more information about laws that could improve their area, there are organizations that provide guidance regarding research supporting and language involved in drafting municipal codes: