May 5, 2011
Contact: Caitlin E. Chamberlain
(207) 441-0501

Secretary of State Summers Testifies Before State & Local Government Committee

AUGUSTA, MAINE — Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. testified in Support of LD 940 “An Act To Increase Access to State Rule-making Notice” before the Joint Select Committee on State & Local Government.  The Secretary’s testimony appears below.

Testimony of
Charles E. Summers, Jr., Secretary of State
Department of the Secretary of State

Before the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government
May 4, 2011

In Support of LD 940:  “An Act To Increase Access to State Rule-making Notices”

Senator Thomas, Representative Cotta, and Members of the Committee, I support this legislation, as the sponsor proposes to amend it, which would require the Secretary of State to publish the notices of adopted rules only on our office’s publicly accessible website.  This bill, as amended also would require our office to improve the searchability of the website, and submit a report to this Committee by January 15, 2012, on the progress of improving the website.

The notices of rulemaking proposals would still be published both on our publicly accessible website and in the newspaper.  The notice of proposal gives the public information about any public hearing that is scheduled as well as the deadline for submitting public comments to the agency regarding the rule.  At the time the notice of rulemaking adoption is published, the rule already has been adopted by the agency, and is effective or is soon to be effective.  Therefore, the public no longer has an opportunity to provide information that might affect the rule.   The notice of rulemaking adoptions published on our website will include a link to the final copy of the rule or portion of the rule that was adopted.

During calendar year 2010, the Secretary of State published 250 notices of rulemaking adoptions in the newspapers, which cost the agencies a total of $228,459.54; and published 253 notices of rulemaking proposals, which cost the agencies a total of $274,685.12.  If the realized savings to the agencies of eliminating the newspaper publication of rulemaking adoption notices could be allocated to our office, it could be used to cover the costs of upgrading the rulemaking filing system. 

I would be happy to answer questions either now or at the work session.