Governor LePage Releases Statement on Strengthening Administrative Procedure Act

May 6, 2015

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage released the following statement with regard to LD 1354, “An Act to Improve the Maine Administrative Procedure Act”:

“Rule-making is delegated to the Executive Branch by the Legislature. In this process, agencies are entrusted to write regulations. Repeatedly, we are unable to do this important work because we have an Attorney General who says the agency rules are illegal.”

“As Governor, I do not have the sole authority to create laws. The Legislature passes laws and the executive branch implements and enforces those laws. Rule-making by the Executive Branch is a necessary step to ensure laws are carried out in a meaningful and just manner. In a perfect world the Legislature, which passes laws, would do this work.”

“When the Attorney General inserts veto power, the executive branch is unable to complete the work of the people. Our bill seeks to restore and strengthen the balance of the separation of powers by realigning the Attorney General’s role in rule-making to that of an attorney rather than that of an executive.” Cynthia Montgomery, chief legal counsel, for the Governor testified on this bill Monday. Testimony is here.

Background: Attorney General Mills has actively blocked important rule making efforts of the Administration, including, a proposed rule change, which prevents benefits being given out to non-qualified aliens in accordance with federal law. Municipalities still have the option to provide general assistance, but would not receive state assistance. In addition, Attorney General Mills thwarted the Administration’s efforts to implement rules with regard to welfare drug testing of criminals convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 41 states provide for an authority to review administrative rules, although not all of them have the power to veto rules. In the states that have veto authority, the act of the veto may require enactment of a statute (13 states) or passage of a resolution (15 states).