Regulatory Reform Gaining Speed in Augusta

April 7, 2011

April 14th Hearing Set for An Act to Ensure Regulatory Fairness and Reform

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 7, 2011 Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – Republican leaders in the executive and legislative branch heralded the progress on regulatory reform at the State House. Earlier this week the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform reached bipartisan agreement on the components on their proposal and a public hearing on the bill has been set for 1:00 PM on April 14th at the State House.

Regulatory reform has been a focus of Republican leadership in Augusta since the November Election. More than a month before taking office, Governor LePage kicked off an initial red tape workshop in Augusta where job creators came together to discuss opportunities for improving Maine’s regulatory climate. Over a thousand business owners and managers offered ideas at the twenty five red tape workshop sessions hosted throughout Maine by local chambers of commerce.

The bipartisan membership of the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform took a similar approach, holding field hearings throughout Maine to solicit public comment on improving Maine’s business climate.

Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney of York is the Senate Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform. “We have pretty strong bipartisan support, and frankly, this is just a first step of changing the culture of State Government,” Sen. Courtney said. “The Administration has already started to change that culture and I believe it will manifest itself and improve Maine’s economic environment. I’m looking forward to working with the Administration to continue down that path of change.”

Representative Jonathan McKane of New Castle is the House Chair of the committee. “I’ve wanted for a long time to change Augusta’s attitude toward business in this state and I believe we have finally started the process,” said Representative McKane. “We have worked overtime listening, learning and doing our best to try and solve the regulatory problems that we have been shown.”

“Governor LePage is pleased with the progress on LD1,” offered Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary to the Governor. “The provisions included in the committee amendment are commonsense reforms that can help move Maine forward while still protecting Maine’s citizens and natural treasures. The Governor looks forward to working with the committee and the entire Legislature to finish what has been started.”

Governor Paul LePage strongly supports several measures that are in current draft language of the bill including the creation of a business ombudsman program within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the amendment covering use of primary source of information.

Currently, DECD provides assistance services that are convenient to businesses throughout the State. The proposed small business ombudsman program is designed to help business persons navigate through the regulatory processes. The ombudsman would resolve problems encountered by business persons with other state agencies, facilitate responsiveness of State Government to small business needs and report to the commissioner and the Legislature on breakdowns in the economic delivery system, including problems encountered by businesses dealing with state agencies.

The program will also connect businesses with the proper agencies that can provide the business services or assistance requested.

“The ombudsman will help the state be more effective in helping businesses more easily navigate state services as well as licensing and permitting issues. Essentially, it will make DECD a one stop shop, that will help both consolidate and map the way for businesses to promptly get the answers and services they need.” said Philip Congdon, DECD Commissioner.