A legislative committee voted 11-0 Wednesday in favor of giving subpoena power to the governor’s commission investigating the mass shooting in Lewiston.

The Judiciary Committee added some limits, such as a time limit on the authorization, but ultimately agreed the measure was necessary.

“I think everybody in this room can agree the commission’s work needs to be done,” said Rep. Jennifer Poirier, R-Skowhegan. “People need answers, and we’re not here fighting that. We all want to see that happen, and as soon as possible.”

Once the amendments are made to the language and reviewed by the committee, the bill will go the full Legislature. Two-thirds of the House and Senate must vote in favor in order for the commission to be given subpoena power immediately as it seeks interviews and documents related to shootings at two locations that killed 18 people and wounded 13 others.

Two members of the Judiciary Committee were absent for the vote, which followed hours of debate about limits on the subpoena power.

The amendments approved by the committee include a July 1 deadline for subpoenas to be issued, a requirement that the commission’s final report include details of the subpoena power’s use and a statement of intent that approval of the power does not create a precedent for future executive branch commissions.


The executive director of the commission investigating the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston told lawmakers Monday that the commission has struggled to get people to provide information or turn over records that are important to its work.

The challenge highlights the critical need for the Legislature to grant the commission subpoena power, Anne Jordan told lawmakers.

“A subpoena to appear and testify, or to produce records, would permit the commission to gather the necessary facts and evidence to fulfill its solemn mission,” Jordan said during a public hearing before the Judiciary Committee. “Without such power, there will be scores of unanswered questions and missing information.”

The governor’s commission is scheduled to meet again Thursday morning to hear testimony from family members of people killed during the shootings. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. in Augusta and will be livestreamed.

Officials with the Maine State Police are scheduled to testify before the commission at its next meeting, on Feb. 15.

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