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Rule Changes Proposed by Lepage Threaten Private Property Rights in Maine


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An article in the Bangor Daily News discusses Governor Le Page's ambition to strip the Attorney General of authority over state agency rule making processes:

LePage bill would void attorney general’s authority over new rules By Mario Moretto Bangor Daily News
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has drafted a bill to strip the attorney general of authority over the rulemaking process used by state agencies to implement laws approved by the Legislature.
LePage has criticized judgments by Attorney General Janet Mills that some regulations he wanted were illegal. Rather than accept his lawyer’s legal advice, the governor would eliminate the requirement that she sign off on new state agency rules.
........The bill represents the latest salvo in a long battle between LePage, a Republican, and Mills, a Democrat. Currently, the AG must approve the “form and legality” of any state agency’s new rule or regulation, but the bill would limit Mills to an advisory role only.
........ It’s wrong, LePage says, for an attorney general chosen by the Legislature to have “veto power” over the policy goals of a governor, who is elected by voters.

This article presents points of view on why the Governor threatens the checks and balances of governmental power with his proposed changes to the rule making process.

The article does not mention one particual new rule that LePage is proposing in this act, which underscores why we need an Attorney General with an concern for our constitution to reign in a politician like LePage

An Act To Improve the Maine Administrative Procedure Act

2 Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §8052, sub-§7, as amended by PL 1995, c. 373, §3, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
LePage's changes add the following:
9. Adoption of a rule expected to result in taking of private property. An agency  may not adopt a rule if it is reasonably expected to result in a taking of private property  under the Constitution of Maine unless such a result is directed by law or sufficient  procedures exist in law or in the proposed rule to allow for a variance designed to avoid  such a taking. (emphasis mine)
This begins by saying (under the Constitution of Maine) a rule cannot be adopted if expected to result in taking of private property - as if it is intended to protect private property and then it says "unless such a result is directed by law or......." 

 "Under the Constitution of Maine"  is placed at the end of the first sentence rather than at the beginning lessening its importance as if only an afterthought.

The Constitution of Maine already protects private property. This rule is not written in protection of private property but to extend the power of government to take private property merely by writing a law that directs private property to be taken.In other words it claims that stutory law can over ride constitutional law.

This rule literally says that stutory law can be used to overwrite the constitution's protection of private property mirroring the statutory overwrite of  constitutional requirements for the placement of fiscal information accompanying bond questions on the ballot also occuring during the Lepage administration and which LePage did not veto.

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