- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for AG Healey Calls on Trump Administration to Freeze Non-essential Rulemaking During COVID-19 Pandemic
BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today announced she has joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in calling on the Trump Administration to focus its efforts on protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and freeze most other pending rulemaking.
In a letter sent today to the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the coalition contends that state and local governments across the country are focused on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and that the federal government should be doing the same, and not pushing forward new non-essential regulations. The attorneys general urge the federal government to halt most non-COVID-19-related rulemaking activity and to consider reopening certain already-closed rule comment periods to allow state and local governments, businesses and others impacted by the public health crisis to provide input related to COVID-19.
“The Trump Administration should focus on ensuring our first responders and medical professionals have the resources they need to save lives and protect themselves,” AG Healey said. “I’m calling for all non-essential rulemaking to be put on hold. It’s the right thing to do.”
Among the rule proposals that could be postponed if the federal government were to prioritize rulemaking related to COVID-19 are proposals that would eliminate or roll back protections against pollution and climate change, predatory lending, housing discrimination, sexual harassment and violence in schools, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in federally-funded programs. Other proposals that could be delayed—including cutbacks in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps and stripping asylum seekers of the ability to get work authorizations—would affect far more Massachusetts residents today than when they were originally proposed because of the recent economic downturn.
Beyond calling on the federal government to dedicate itself to rules related to COVID-19, the letter calls for a general freeze on all new and pending rules other than those that address emergency situations or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial, or national security matters, or that are required by statutory or judicial deadlines.
Last week, AG Healey’s Office joined a multistate coalition in seeking a 120-day extension of the public’s opportunity to comment on the Trump Administration’s latest anti-science rulemaking to allow states, scientists, and the public health community to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic rather than comment on the misguided proposal.
Joining AG Healey in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of New Jersey, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.