AUGUSTA – Gov.-elect Paul LePage said recently he wants to talk to legislators about the rule-making process, which he believes is at least partly to blame for burdensome regulation.

“We have so many regulations in the state right now that are unintended consequences because of interpretations, because of what I call mission-creeping,” LePage told the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce last week.

LePage said that, as a businessman, it’s important to focus on details before making a decision.

“If they put a bill in front of me, I want to see the details before I put my name on it,” he said. “Rule making, to me, is what got us to where we are. If you want me to sign a bill, show me the rules and the regulations, everything, and I will sign it. Without it, I will not sign it.”

Rule making is a process that requires state agencies to write the rules for how some new laws will be implemented and enforced. Major changes come back to the Legislature for approval. Minor ones do not.

The rule-making process is public. It allows those potentially affected by the change to submit comments on the proposed rules.

LePage’s concern is that bureaucrats sometimes take the bill farther than it was intended to go.

“All too often, the Legislature passes a law that, on the surface, makes real good sense,” he said. “And we all agree, and it passes overwhelmingly, and three years later, we put people out of business. That’s what we don’t want to have happen.”

He said shortly after he’s sworn in, he wants to sit with leadership on both sides and explain that “we don’t just want to add and add more regulations. We need to streamline.”

Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, said he thinks the rule-making issue could be taken up by a new legislative committee that will study regulatory reform. “We’re also talking about the culture of state government, and the rule-making process is part of that,” he said.

House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, said that, as governor, LePage will have the power to influence how state agencies handle rules.

“I share concerns that rule making is not always perfect,” she said. “For Gov.-elect Le- Page, that is something he can work with his commissioners on to try to speed up, rather than hold up the legislative process, and hold up potentially the entire legislative session, over something like this.” 

INAUGURAL TAKING SHAPE

It was a change election — and the inaugural is changing, too.

LePage, a Republican, will be sworn in at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 5, 2011, at the Augusta Civic Center, rather than in a nighttime ceremony.

Tickets have been sent out and the organizers are asking people to RSVP. If you didn’t get an invite but want to go, you can put in a request at www.lepagetransition.com/inauguration/.

And, as we reported here recently, there will be no ball, but the new governor will host an invitation-only reception from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the civic center, with appetizers and a cash bar. 

CUTLER FILES IN FOCUS TODAY

The ethics commission today will get an update from Executive Director Jonathan Wayne on his investigation into the Cutler Files, a website created by authors who wish to remain anonymous.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who finished second in the November election, asked the commission to investigate the site because it did not include disclaimers required by law. The site criticized Cutler’s work record, dug up comments he made decades ago and used doctored photos.

It was taken down shortly before the election.

Wayne is expected to update the commission with his findings today. 

O’MEARA LANDS AT GARRAND

Ted O’Meara, the campaign manager for Cutler, has joined Garrand, a communications firm in Portland.

His title will be managing principal/public affairs.

In addition to working for Cutler, O’Meara worked on statewide campaigns in 2005 with Maine Won’t Discriminate; and, in 2008, with “Fed Up with Taxes.” He’s also the former director of marketing and communications for Blethen Maine Newspapers and Guy Gannett Communications. 

ELLIS REJOINS SENATE GOP

Mark Ellis, the former chairman of the Maine Republican Party, has been hired by Senate Republicans as their technology and communications director.

Ellis had volunteered for two years helping Senate Republicans with their online presence and communications. He left his private-sector job earlier this year to work on the Steve Abbott campaign, and after Abbott lost in the primary, began looking for another job, he said.

Ellis has taken flak on the conservative web forum As Maine Goes for his endorsement of independent Shawn Moody for Maine governor. 

STUDENTS NEED ATTENTION TOO

Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, asked members of the business lobby to stop using his University of Maine e-mail account because it keeps him from seeing e-mails from his students.

“Please go back to my legislative e-mail so I can do grades for the poor college students who are waiting,” he said during House debate Friday. 

THURSDAY IS A SHUTDOWN DAY

It will be a short work week for state employees.

Thursday is an unpaid day off — one of 20 furlough days instituted to balance the budget. And Friday is the Christmas holiday, so offices will be closed on that day as well.

Best to do your state business early in the week.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan M. Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]