New Analysis Shows Maine Is Home to 113,862 Regulatory Restrictions


January 17, 2019
Contact: Jacob Posik
Director of Communications
Office: 207.321.2550
Cell: 207.240.7064

New Analysis Shows Maine Is Home
to 113,862 Regulatory Restrictions

PORTLAND, Maine – Mercatus Center at George Mason University today released “A Snapshot of Maine Regulation in 2018,” an analysis that shows which industries in Maine are most targeted by regulation and which government departments do the most regulating. James Broughel, senior research fellow at Mercatus Center and primary author of the analysis, will be in Portland and Eliot today to discuss his findings at two events hosted by The Maine Heritage Policy Center.  

The analysis shows that the 2018 Code of Maine Rules (CMR) is home to 113,862 regulatory restrictions and 8.1 million words. It would take an individual about 449 hours – or more than 11 weeks – to read the entire 2018 CMR, assuming the reader spends 40 hours per week reading at a rate of 300 words per minute.

The top industries targeted by regulation in Maine are ambulatory healthcare services, food manufacturing, utilities and chemical manufacturing, all of which are subject to more than 3,000 industry-relevant restrictions, according to the analysis. 

Mercatus Center’s findings also show that the top regulators in Maine are the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation.

The sections of the 2018 CMR associated with these departments contain more than 12,000 regulatory restrictions apiece, with DHHS topping the list at 22,820.

Upon the release of the analysis, Broughel said:

“Maine has made progress in recent years when it comes to red tape. However, the results of my analysis suggest there is more work to be done to break down the barriers facing Maine residents.

“Governor Mills recently warned that a recession could hit Maine in the coming years. As such, streamlining the CMR should be a top priority for her young administration. Regulatory reform is among the most powerful tools policymakers possess to boost economic growth and job creation for years to come.”

To perform the analysis, Broughel and his team uploaded the 2018 CMR into a platform called State RegData. State RegData is a tool that allows researchers to identify the industries that state regulation targets most by connecting text relevant to those industries with restrictive word counts. Referred to as regulatory restrictions, the words and phrases “shall,” “must,” “may not,” “prohibited” and “required” can signify legal constraints and obligations. 

The event in Portland is a policy luncheon at DiMillo’s On the Water from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event in Eliot is an evening reception at the Regatta Banquet and Conference Center from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Broughel will be available to speak with media for one hour following each event.

To read Mercatus Center’s regulatory snapshot of Maine, click here.