In response to a decades-long concern about regulatory activity, the federal government and many other states have adopted administrative procedure acts. The intent has been to improve public access to agency decision-making and to increase awareness of agency rules.
The Maine Administrative Procedure Act (A.P.A.) may be found in statute at 5 MRSA sec. 8001 through 11116 -- see Chapters 375, 377, and 377-A. The core legislation was enacted at the First Session of the 108th Legislature, with some amendments since. It applies uniform requirements to state agencies with rule-making power, and sets minimum standards for agencies to follow in adopting and implementing rules.
The Maine Administrative Procedure Act has also been affected by Executive Order 20 11/12.
Very generally, the A.P.A. establishes a uniform, comprehensive set of procedures covering:
The Code of Maine Rules publishes the rules by department. It is available in print and online via LexisNexis and freely available on the Maine Secretary of State website. Rule chapters in the Code of Maine Rules are arranged by unique numbers which identify the department, departmental unit, and chapter. For example, 01-015 CMR Chapter 1 represents Chapter 1 of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Milk Commission.
On the rules page of the Secretary of State website, the researcher need only click the highlighted departmental designation to reach a complete list of its current chapters. Chapters are hyperlinked and clicking the chapter number will open up a word document containing the text of the rule.
The staff at the Secretary of State's office will offer advice if the researcher is having trouble trying to view these chapters. Each rule-making agency designates a liaison as a single point of contact on rule inquiries. In addition, the department notes that this version of the rules is not an "official" version of the rules and the research MUST request a certified copy of the rules from the APA Office for use in court.
The Maine Government Register is a monthly publication available in print and online via LexisNexis. The Register provides access to Emergency Rules, Proposed Rules, monthly rule activity, Executive Orders, state agency actions, and enacted public laws.