PUBLIC LAWS OF MAINE
Second Regular Session of the 119th
S.P. 302 - L.D. 873
An Act to Clarify Responsibilities for the
Maintenance of Veterans' Grave Sites
Mandate preamble. This measure requires one or more local units
of government to expand or modify activities so as to necessitate
additional expenditures from local revenues but does not provide
funding for at least 90% of those expenditures. Pursuant to the
Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 21, two thirds of all of
the members elected to each House have determined it necessary to
enact this measure.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
Sec. 1. 13 MRSA §1101, as amended by PL 1977, c. 255, §1, is
further amended to read:
§1101. Maintenance and repairs; municipality
In any ancient burying ground, as referenced in Title 30-A,
section 5723, or public burying ground in which any Revolutionary
soldiers or sailors or
soldier or sailor veterans
of the Armed Forces of the United State of America who served in
the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps in any war is
are buried, the town municipality in
which said burying ground is located shall keep in good condition and
repair , all graves, headstones, monuments or markers
designating the burial place of said Revolutionary soldiers or sailors
or soldier or sailor who served in the United States Army,
Navy or Marine Corps veterans of the Armed Forces of the
United States of America who served in any war and shall keep the
grass suitably cut and trimmed on such those
graves during the summer season from May 1st to
September 30th of each year. Towns may raise and
appropriate money for such purposes. Each said town shall be liable to
a penalty of not more than $100 for neglect to keep in good condition
and repair all such graves, headstones, monuments and markers or
failing to keep the grass suitably cut and trimmed on said graves.
Sec. 2. 13 MRSA §§1101-A to 1101-E are enacted to read:
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicates,
the following term has the following meaning.
1. Ancient burying ground. "Ancient burying ground"
means a private cemetery established before 1880.
§1101-B. Ancient burying grounds
1. Access to ancient burying grounds on privately owned land.
The owner of an ancient burying ground shall provide municipalities
access necessary to perform the duties pursuant to section 1101 and
Title 30-A, section 2901. Any unreasonable denial to provide
municipalities access may result in the owner being held responsible
for any fines, court costs and attorney's fees incurred by
municipalities in legally obtaining access or for failing to meet the
requirements of section 1101.
2. Maintenance by landowner. A person who owns a parcel of land
that contains an ancient burying ground and chooses to deny access to
the municipality shall assume the duties as described in section 1101
and Title 30-A, section 2901, subsection 1. Maintenance of an ancient
burying ground by the owner exempts the municipality from performing
the duties as described in section 1101.
§1101-C. Notice of responsibility
When a municipality fails without good reason to maintain the good
condition and repair of a grave, headstone, monument or marker or
fails to keep the grass suitably cut and trimmed on any such grave
pursuant to section 1101 and at least one of the municipal officers
has had 14 days' actual notice or knowledge of the neglected
condition, a penalty of not more than $100 may be assessed on the
§1101-D. Unorganized townships
If an ancient burying ground or a public burying ground as
described in section 1101 is located in an unorganized township, the
county in which the township is located is subject to sections 1101,
1101-B and 1101-C.
§1101-E. Graves on land owned by Federal Government
Veterans' graves as described in section 1101 that are located on a
site that was owned by the Federal Government as of January 1, 2000
are not subject to the requirements of section 1101.
Sec. 3. 30-A MRSA §2901, as amended by PL 1989, c. 211, is
further amended to read:
§2901. Decoration of veterans' graves on Memorial Day
1. Decoration of veterans' graves. Each municipality, as
directed by its municipal officers,
shall annually shall
decorate on May 30th the day Memorial Day is
observed the graves of veterans of the Armed Forces of the United
States of America with an American flag and appropriate floral
decorations flag holders.
2. Erection of flagpole as alternative.
Municipal officers shall not be required to observe the requirements
of subsection 1 in any cemetery when on May 30th an American flag is
flown from a flagpole of durable material. Municipal officers shall
actively encourage any group of citizens or veterans' organizations to
erect suitable flagpoles in cemeteries where veterans are buried.
3. No effect on individuals' right to decorate. This section
does not in any way affect the right of any friend or relative of a
deceased veteran to decorate the grave.
4. Bell ringing on Veterans Day. Each municipality shall,
unless it will cause the municipality to incur an additional expense,
cause any public bell or clarion within its possession or control to
be rung at 11:00 a.m. on Veterans Day, and the municipal officers of
each municipality shall request that any other bell or clarion within
town municipality be rung voluntarily at
11:00 a.m. on Veterans Day, and shall take such steps as are necessary
to properly coordinate public and volunteer events.
5. Unorganized townships. If veterans' graves as
described in this section are located in an unorganized township, the
county in which that unorganized township is located is subject to the
provisions in this section.
6. Graves on land owned by Federal Government.
located on a site that was owned by the Federal Government as of
January 1, 2000 are not subject to the requirements of this section.
Effective August 11, 2000, unless otherwise