Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 384: To reduce unnecessary regulatory burden

Date: 02/09/1996
Issuer: William F. Weld
Mass Register: No. 785
Superseded by: Executive Order 485

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, government regulations are intended to protect essential public health, safety, environmental and welfare functions and to protect citizens from the unwarranted exercise of power by public officials;

WHEREAS, many of the regulations adopted by state government agencies have, in fact, impeded the public welfare and imposed unnecessary cost, burden and complexity;

WHEREAS, there has been a vast increase in the number and complexity of permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals that individuals and organizations must obtain from an increasing number of government agencies in order to undertake commercial, industrial, and personal projects or activities in the Commonwealth;

WHEREAS, many of these regulations are difficult to understand, and duplicate or may conflict with other regulations;

WHEREAS, the inefficiencies and intrusions resulting from excessive government regulation constitute an unreasonable financial and personal burden on residents of the Commonwealth:

WHEREAS, unnecessary and inconsistent government regulation inconveniences individuals, inhibits business growth and the creation of jobs, and places Massachusetts industries at a competitive disadvantage relative to their out-of-state and foreign competitors; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of the Commonwealth will be better served by reducing the number, length, and complexity of regulations, leaving only those that are essential to the public good;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM F. WELD, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order and decree that:

1. Each secretariat, agency, department, board, commission, authority or other body within the Executive Department under my supervision (hereinafter "Agency") shall promptly undertake a review of every regulation currently published in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations under its jurisdiction.

2. Except as provided below, each Agency shall sunset all its regulations on or before December 31, 1996 by taking such steps as are required by law (including pursuant to chapter 30A of the General Laws) to rescind, revise or simplify such regulations, after conducting the review prescribed in this Order.

3. In conducting such review, only those regulations which are mandated by law or essential to the health, safety, environment or welfare of the Commonwealth's residents shall be retained or modified. In order to find that a regulation meets this standard, the Agency must demonstrate, in its review, that: (a) there is a specific need for governmental intervention that is clearly identified and precisely defined; (b) the costs of the regulation do not exceed the benefits that would be effected by the regulation; (c) less restrictive and intrusive alternatives have been considered and found less desirable based on a sound evaluation of the alternatives; (d) the Agency has established a process and a schedule for measuring the effectiveness of the regulation; and (e) the regulation is time-limited or provides for regular review. Regulations not meeting this standard shall be rescinded in accordance with law.

4. In its review, each Agency shall ensure that every regulation is clear, concise and drawn in plain and readily understandable language.

5. Agencies are required to promulgate the shortest and simplest regulations necessary to achieve the purposes of such regulations. In the review required by this Order each Agency shall demonstrate how this objective has been achieved.

6. Beginning immediately, no Agency shall promulgate a new regulation which has not been reviewed pursuant to this Order and does not meet the standards set out in this Order. Any such regulation must also be approved pursuant to such standards, terms and schedules as the Secretary of Administration and Finance shall establish under paragraph 8 of this Order.

7. Each Agency head, including Cabinet Secretaries, shall appoint a senior official who shall be the contact person for all actions and reviews pursuant to this Executive Order The Agency head may, but need not, designate herself or himself as the contact person.

8. The Secretary of Administration and Finance shall, consistent with the requirements of law, establish such standards, terms and schedules as he deems appropriate and necessary to accomplish the reviews of existing and newly proposed regulations as required by this Order. The Secretary of Administration and Finance may also provide for such waivers or exceptions as are essential for the public health, safety, environment or welfare.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 9th day of February, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-six.

William F. Weld

William Francis Galvin
Secretary of State

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