A public hearing April 25 before the Committee on State and Local Government discussed several proposals to combine the Maine House of Representatives and state Senate into one governmental body.

Currently, Maine has 186 members of the Legislature. It is the sixth largest legislature in the country, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. The size of the Maine Legislature has not changed since 1841 and decreasing it will require a change to the Maine Constitution.

Rep. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, proposed a resolution — LD 804 — to combine the Senate and the House of Representatives to create one body, made up of 151 members, referred to as senators.

“The committee’s support for the measure sends a strong signal to the full Legislature and the people of Maine that we are serious about reducing the size of government,” Valentino said in a press release. “Consolidating our Legislature is important now, more than ever, as we work to cut spending and maximize our resources to support our schools, public safety and health care.”

The bill passed through committee with bipartisan support and will be considered by the House and Senate in coming weeks.