The Legislature will convene in December more closely divided than when it last recessed, reflecting the state it represents and a nation that just gave the popular vote to one presidential candidate and the presidency to another. At this point of great friction, it is important that lawmakers respect and transcend that division, and work together to find compromises that honor all Mainers.

They will have an opportunity almost immediately. The referenda approved statewide at the polls last week provide general direction for the Legislature on important matters, and require that lawmakers find common ground on the details.

Maine voters on Nov. 8 approved, by a very slim margin, Question 2, calling for a 3 percent surcharge on annual household income above $200,000, with the money raised to go toward meeting the state’s obligation of providing 55 percent of school funding.

However, because of the intricacies of tax structure and school funding, it gives the governor’s office and the Legislature plenty of room to maneuver. Outside of this issue, tax rates could be lowered, lessening the impact of Question 2’s tax hike and lowering the amount of money the state has to spend. Other sources of school funding could be diminished, or what exactly counts toward the 55 percent could be changed. After all, Maine voted once before to put the 55 percent funding requirement in statute, and it still has been all but ignored.

That would be a mistake if it happens again. Maine voters have said twice now that they want the state to pick up its share of school funding, and lawmakers should listen. Perhaps the closeness of the vote this time shows that Maine voters aren’t convinced on the source of the funding laid out in Question 2, but there is little doubt they want the funding.

At a time when neither Democrats nor Republicans can claim electoral victory, that gives the Legislature a mandate only to find a way together to provide the required school funding. They have for years fought over the source of the funding, but without any urgency. Tuesday’s vote should give them that urgency, and both sides should be prepared to give something up to acheive that goal.

The same could be said for setting up the regulatory framework necessary for legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana to Mainers over the age of 21. Maine voters, again by a slim margin, say they want legal marijuana for adults, but beyond that the Legislature has quite a bit of latitude to create the system under which it is grown and sold.

There will also be fights over raising the minimum wage, which passed easily but faces a call for alteration from some business leaders.

Then, of course, comes the two-year budget proposal from Gov. Paul LePage, which is expected to include a number of forceful proposals, including a sales-tax hike and calls for cuts in the number of state employees and in the number of school superintendents, all of which will draw criticism from both sides of the aisle.

As lawmakers negotiate these matters, they should remember the divided state they represent and be prepared to leave some of what they want on the table. That is the only way for Maine to move forward and accomplish what needs to be done, without becoming as divided in spirit as it is in politics.

Republicans took a good step forward last week by re-electing Sen. Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, as Senate majority leader. Thibodeau, a stalwart conservative, has shown an ability to work with Democrats without scoring cheap political points and even when it is potentially damaging to his position in the party, particulary as it pertains to his relationship with LePage.

Democrats, who will have new members in leadership as Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves step down, should keep that in mind as they elect leaders this week.

The Legislature is divided because the state is divided. It is now up the the Legislature, for better or worse, to show how those divisions should be expressed and addressed.

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