Testimony: Eliminating Inactive Boards and Commissions


Testimony in Support of LD 2241, “An Act to Eliminate Inactive Boards and Commissions”

Senator Nangle, Representative Stover, and distinguished members of the Committee on State and Local Government, thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 2241. My name is Jacob Posik and I serve as the Director of Legislative Affairs at Maine Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to expand individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. I am testifying on behalf of Maine Policy in support of LD 2241

Maine has more than 300 boards, commissions, and advisory groups without counting task forces or other special groups. The large number of boards and commissions makes it difficult to find qualified applicants to fill vacancies. Before the start of the 131st Legislature, there were more than 560 vacancies on dozens of different existing boards and commissions across state government. 

In addition, a number of boards still exist despite reported inactivity in recent years. A 2008 Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability report highlighted the need to reform Maine’s boards and commissions in order to reduce costs and streamline administrative processes. In 2013, the Office of Policy and Management echoed those recommendations by proposing the elimination of 17 inactive boards and commissions. 

Some progress has been made. Since 2012, the Legislature has repealed more than 30 boards and commissions, including the Maine Wild Mushroom Harvesting Advisory Committee and the Travel Information Advisory Council. 

The elimination of boards that have outlived their usefulness should be an ongoing process. Historically, lawmakers have regularly dissolved boards that were inactive or no longer justified. Records from the Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions suggest that approximately 220 boards have been eliminated in the history of Maine. Other states are embracing similar reforms. Since 2009, at least 19 states have eliminated or consolidated state entities, including California, New Jersey, Washington, and Kentucky.

If a board or commission reports inactivity and is not regularly meeting, there’s simply no reason for it to exist. For these reasons, please deem LD 2241 “Ought to Pass” to eliminate this unnecessary waste within Maine state government. Thank you.