January 11, 2011
Contact: Dave Lackey

Secretary of State Summers Says Initial Review Identifies Numerous Obsolete or Overly Onerous Rules

Summers will immediately eliminate these rules, as permitted by law

AUGUSTA — Maine Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. today said that following an initial review, he has identified numerous rules and regulations that can be eliminated or repealed. In most cases, Summers said, these regulations represent ongoing bureau oversight of provisions that might have been long since repealed in statute, or that simply duplicate statutory requirements.

?When rules remain on the books beyond their time, or duplicate requirements already set by statute, it?s crucial that we identify and eliminate them,? Summers said. ?That?s why I asked my own Deputies to review the rules our bureaus implement and oversee; I believe a regular review of these rules will help prevent the continued promulgation of outdated or unneeded regulation.?

This morning, Summers ordered an immediate moratorium on rulemaking within the bureaus overseen by his office; in addition to the initial review to identify outdated regulations and rules, he said each bureau will also conduct an exhaustive review of existing and pending rules to likewise prevent unneeded rulemaking and burdens on business.

Rolling back obsolete rules, ironically, can be as time-consuming as implementing them in the first place. Summers said in many cases, the rule repeal might require the Department to issue a public notice of the intent to repeal and a statement indicating why the action was being taking; holding a public hearing or requesting public comment; and then responding with the repeal and a final review to the Legislative Council. The process could take weeks – despite the minimal impact of the outdated rule.

As example, Summers cited two rules identified by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles he believes can likely to be eliminated, because they are based on legislation eliminated in statute several years ago. One regulation relates to the form used for businesses seeking Hazardous Materials licenses; another authorizes operation of Intrastate and Interstate-Exempt Carriers of property for hire.