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Related Veteran Cemetery  Legislation

The following legislation concerning veteran's graves took effect August 11, 2000.
Information supplied by Don Simoneau, American Legion Veterans Graves Committee.

Passed by House 4/6/2000. Passed by Senate 4/8/2000  Signed by Governor King.

LD 873 -An Act to Clarify Municipal Responsibility for the Maintenance of Veterans' Gravesites.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

 
Sec. 1. 13 MRSA sect;1101, as amended by PL 1977,

c. 255, sect; 1, is further amended to read:

  sect;1101. Maintenance and repairs; municipality 
In any ancient burying ground, as referenced in Title 30A, section 5723 or public burying ground in which any Revolutionary soldiers or sailors or veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States of America who served in any war is buried, the 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 soldiers or sailors who served in the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps in any war and shall keep the grass suitably cut and trimmed on those graves from May 1st to September 30th of each year.

sect;1101-A. Definition

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicated, the following term has the following meaning.

13. Ancient burying ground. "Ancient burying ground means a private cemetery established before 1880.

sect;1101-B Ancient burying grounds

 1. Access to ancient burying grounds on privately owned land. The owner of a ancient burying ground shall provide municipalities access necessary to perform the duties referenced in section

1101 and in Title 30A, section 2901. Any unreasonable denial to provide municipalities access shall 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 which contains an ancient burying ground and chooses to deny access to the municipality may assume the duties as described in section 1101 and Title 30A, section 2901. Maintenance of a ancient burying ground by the owner exempts the municipality from performing the duties referenced in section 1101.

sect;1101-C Notice of responsibility

When a municipality fails without good reason to maintain the good condition and repair of any grave, headstone, monument or marker referenced in section 1101 or fails to keep the grass suitably cut and trimmed on any such grave, 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 municipality.

sect;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.

sect;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 this section.

 
Sec. 2. 30-A MRSA sect; 2901, as amended by PL 1989, c. 211, is further amended to read:

30-A sect; 2901. Decoration of veterans graves on Memorial Day; erection of flagpoles

1. Decoration of veterans graves. Each municipality, as directed by its municipal officers, annually shall decorate on 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 flag holder.

2. 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.

3. 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 the town be rung properly at 11:00 a.m. on Veterans Day, and shall take such steps as are necessary to properly coordinate public and volunteer events.

4. 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.

 5. Graves on land owned by Federal Government. Veterans graves 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.