Baker Administration Enacts Three Month Regulatory Pause

Today, the Baker Adminstration announced that the Governor has instituted a three month pause on all new regulations as a first step to ridding the state of job killing regulations.  In a press release the administration stated:

Governor Charlie Baker today announced a 90-day pause on all new regulations to allow for the Administration’s long-term goal of streamlining unnecessarily burdensome regulations on the Commonwealth’s small businesses and job creators. The three month time frame will halt new regulations and those in the renewal process in order to enable the administration to implement new guidance that regulations going forward communicate a clear, desired and effective goal and focus on the development and implementation of the 2016 Fiscal Year Budget.

“If Massachusetts is to succeed in creating new jobs and making state government more efficient, we must tackle burdensome regulations,” said Governor Baker. “Regulations void of a clear and concise purpose increase the cost of doing business and make dealing with state government more difficult. This temporary freeze will allow us to review codes already on the books, ease the unnecessary amount of bureaucratic red tape and focus on crafting the next budget.”

The regulatory pause was outlined in a memo issued to all Cabinet Secretaries today by Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore, who in accordance with Executive Orders issued in prior administrations, has final approval before any regulation is filed.  The three-month period is effective until March 31st.

“Massachusetts’ looming budget deficit is one of our utmost priorities in the coming months,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “As we begin the hard work of reducing costs and responsibly meeting the needs of the Commonwealth, today’s announcement will help ensure our small businesses are not left behind.”

As outlined in a memo issued by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, any new regulation will be presumptively disapproved with limited exceptions for those mandated by statute to be implemented by a fixed date, those substantially reducing an existing regulatory burden, those essential to public health, safety, environment or welfare and those addressing unanticipated matters of importance to the Commonwealth.

The regulatory freeze follows the administration’s announcement on January 9th to issue an immediate hiring freeze across state government, launch a 100-day agency review for efficiency and cost-savings, and to direct all cabinet Secretaries conduct reviews of all contract amendments made since September 1, 2014 and those currently in the procurement process to determine they are in the best interests of the Commonwealth.

This is a long overdue step for Massachusetts government.

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