If you try to do too much at once, sometimes you end up getting nothing done. If that’s the lesson that the LePage administration learned from its initial foray into regulatory reform, we are encouraged. This looks like a nimble midcourse correction that trades a headlong process for a more deliberative one.

Gov. LePage began his term with a series of meetings sponsored by the state Chamber of Commerce dubbed “Red Tape Audits” that were billed as a chance for people to identify the most onerous rules and regulations that interfered with their ability to do business.

Independently, legislative leadership embarked on a similar process, with the goal of producing a bill that would address regulatory reform with input from the governor. But just before the new Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform started its tour of the state, LePage released his first phase of recommended regulation changes, which included hot-button topics like repealing the Maine Kid-Safe Products Act and eliminating the law that protects vernal pools.

That turned the legislative fact-finding hearings into de facto public hearings on the governor’s proposals, and the meetings were dominated by people who wanted to complain about the proposed solutions instead of the underlying problems.

When the last session got under way on Monday, LePage’s staff produced a 48-page document that made up the administration’s amendment to the bill – which is still unwritten – that is known as L.D. 1. Much to the surprise of the people lined up to testify against his earlier draft, it did not include most of the controversial ideas.

The administration says this does not mean that LePage is backing off his original agenda. Instead, he will submit individual bills that will be addressed first by the committees of jurisdiction – putting, for instance, the environmental proposals before the Natural Resources Committee, where the members are more experienced with such matters.

This makes a lot of sense and is what should have been done in the first place. Those who best understand the issues are best suited to craft legislation that would provide adequate protection without being overly restrictive.

Dealing with these controversial topics one at a time may look like a slower process than what LePage initially had in mind, but it has a better chance of being successful in the end.