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Maine Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions, Department of the Secretary of State

Guide to Rule Making

APA Office
Secretary of State - CEC
101 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 624-7650
FAX (207) 287-6545

State agencies: All rule-making forms and the Agency Designation of Rule-making Liaison are available here in MS Word format.


How to obtain copies or lists of rules
How to obtain certified public law copies or certified rule copies
Summary (Introduction)
Quick Reference Guide
1. What is a rule
2. Rule-making

  1. The Planning phase

  2. A.P.A. Requirements

  3. A. Notice of proposed rules
    B. Public participation: Hearings
    C. Adoption
    D. Filing
    E. Provisional adoption of major substantive rules
    F. Agency responsibility

3. Emergency Rules
4. Required Rules
5. Citizen Petition for Rule-making
6. Electronic filing provisions (Chapter 800)

How to obtain copies or lists of rules

This office provides certified copies of rules at the statutory rate of 75 cents per photocopy and a $10.00 certification fee. We do not publish a weekly register.

Each rule-making agency provides copies of its rules on request, free or at cost.

Summary Introduction to Maine Rule-making

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.), 5 MRSA sec. 8001 through 11008, was adopted 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.

Very generally, the A.P.A. establishes a uniform, comprehensive set of procedures covering:

  • The administrative actions of state agencies, including rule-making, advisory rulings, adjudicatory proceedings, and licensing; and
  • Judicial review of those actions.

The process (quick reference guide)

  1. Proposed rule

    • Agency files 1 copy of the proposal package with the Secretary of State by noon Tuesday of the week prior to newspaper publication date. The package includes the Notice of Rule-making Proposal Form (MAPA-3), a Fact Sheet, and the text of the proposed language. If possible, the agency should also provide a copy of MAPA-3 in electronic form.

    • Agency files 20 copies of the Fact Sheet with the Executive Director of Legislative Council within a day or two after filing with Secretary of State.

  2. Adopted rule

    • The adopted rule package as filed with the APA Office should contain all of the following on paper unless otherwise indicated: one copy of the Notice of Rule-making Adoption Form (MAPA-4) and one copy in electronic form; two original Cover Sheets (MAPA-1) signed by the agency and the Assistant Attorney General; two copies of the text of the adopted language (for a rule amendment, these show deleted language crossed out and new language underlined, the so-called "legislative format"); one copy of the same text in electronic format with deleted language and underlines removed (i.e., a "clean" text); two copies of the Basis Statement; two copies of the Summary of Comments and Responses (which must include names of commenters and affiliations); two copies of the Fact Sheet; and two copies of the Checklist.

    • The APA Office reviews the rule and stamps it as "Accepted for Filing", returning a stamped copy to the agency as a means of verifying the completion of the filing.

    • The rule becomes effective no less than five days after the it is Accepted for Filing by the APA Office. (The agency may designate an effective date anytime after that.)

1. What is a rule?

The statutory definition (5 MRSA sec. 8002 sub-sec. 9) is important because it triggers the application of the rule-making procedures as described below. There are two parts to the definition of "rule". The first describes a "rule" in broadly inclusive terms:

"...the whole or any part of every regulation, standard, code, statement of policy, or other agency statement of general applicability, including the amendment, suspension or repeal of any prior rule, that is or is intended to be judicially enforceable and implements, interprets or makes specific the law administered by the agency, or describes the procedures or practices of the agency."

What an agency calls its pronouncements is not significant. It is the impact, not the terminology, which determines the existence of a rule. If the statement:

  1. applies generally to persons outside the agency;

  2. is intended to have the same legal force as a statute, so that compliance could be compelled; and

  3. implements the law administered by the agency or describes its procedures,

then it is a rule. Since amendment, suspension or repeal of a rule may have as important an effect as the adoption of a new rule, these actions are also "rules" in the sense that the full provisions of the A.P.A. law apply.

The second part of the statutory definition is a series of exclusions designed to clarify the broader concept. The term "rule" does not include:

  1. Policies or memoranda concerning only the internal management of an agency and not judicially enforceable;

  2. Advisory rulings issued under sub-chapter III of the A.P.A law;

  3. Decisions issued in adjudicatory proceedings; or

  4. Any form, instruction or explanatory statement of policy which is not judicially enforceable, intended solely as advice to persons in determining, exercising or complying with their rights, duties, or privileges.

Consult a staff attorney or the Attorney General in cases where the status of agency statements is uncertain.

2. Rule-making

Rule-making includes all of the steps an agency must follow to give a rule legal effect. The process begins when someone decides that a rule is needed. The process is completed when, after the agency has properly performed all the intervening steps, the Secretary accepts the rule for filing.

1. The Planning Phase

Prior to beginning the formal process established by the A.P.A., an agency should:

  • Determine whether the Legislature has granted it authority to make such a rule;

  • Consider carefully what it wants to accomplish by rule-making;

  • Read the rule-making provisions of the A.P.A. and the electronic filing procedures noted below;

  • Review existing rules to avoid duplication, and fit the new rule logically within the body of existing rules; and

  • Draft the proposed new rule in the format established by the Secretary.

  • Consult with the Attorney General's office to be sure that the proposed rule meets with its approval.

2. A.P.A. Requirements

All the forms in Microsoft Word (.DOC) format.

Subchapter II of the A.P.A. describes the steps an agency must take to adopt rules.

A. Notice of Proposed Rule

The Notice of Rule-making Proposal (from MAPA-3) must be published 17-24 days prior to the hearing, if one is scheduled (5 MRSA sec. 8053 sub-sec. 5). If no hearing is scheduled, you must allow at least 30 days from the publication date for the public to submit comments.

To accomplish this, you should submit to the Secretary of State 1 copy of the following:

  • Rule-making proposal form (MAPA-3) on paper;
  • MAPA-3 in electronic form;
  • Copy of the rule text on paper; and
  • Copy of the fact sheet on paper.

The Notice of Rule-making Proposal is published in the Bangor Daily News , Kennebec Journal , Portland Press Herald , Lewiston Sun-Journal and the Central Maine Morning Sentinel every Wednesday. All rule-making notices must be received by the Secretary of State by noon Tuesday of the week prior to the publication date.

After comments have been received and if the rule which the agency intends to adopt is substantially different from what was proposed, twenty copies of a revised fact sheet must be submitted to the Executive Director of the Legislative Council (sec. 8053-A). The agency solicits comments from the public on the proposed changes by publishing a notice in the Secretary of State's Rule-making ad and allowing a thirty day comment period (5 MRSA sec. 8052 sub-sec. 5 par. B). This new comment deadline also triggers new adoption (120 day) and new Attorney General review (150 day) deadlines.

Besides the consolidated newspaper publication, notice of proposed rule-making must be given to the following at least 20 days before the hearing or before the deadline for comments, if no hearing is scheduled (see 5 MRSA sec. 8053):

  1. Any person specified in the statute authorizing the rule-making;

  2. Any person who has filed within the past year a written request with the agency for notice of rule-making. Notice must be by mail to the last address provided to the agency by the person and should include copies of the proposal, if requested. The agency may charge a fee reasonably related to the cost of this service; and

  3. Any trade, industry, professional interest group or regional publication that the agency deems effective in reaching affected persons.

Copies of the proposed rule itself must be available for public distribution at least 20 days prior to the hearing or 20 days prior to the comment deadline, if no hearing is held.

B. Public participation

The A.P.A. provides several opportunities for the public to participate in the state's rule-making process. When an agency proposes to adopt, amend, suspend or repeal a rule, interested persons must have a chance to submit comments for consideration.

Hearings

Interested persons may also submit comments at a public hearing. When required by other statutes or when requested by 5 persons, an agency must hold a hearing on its proposed rules (5 MRSA sec. 8052 sub-sec. 1). The A.P.A. itself does not otherwise require a hearing; however, an agency always may hold one if it wishes. Since public access and input are major goals of the law, a hearing may be a very useful method of informing and educating the public and for receiving public response.

Notice that the hearing will take place must be provided according to the procedures listed above.

A hearing can only be conducted by someone who is in a "major policy-influencing position" as listed in 5 MRSA c.71 (mainly commissioners, deputies, and bureau chiefs), or a designee who has responsibility over the subject matter to be discussed at the hearing (the designee provision, part of Public Law 1993, c.362, took effect October 13, 1993).

Although the A.P.A. does not have any requirements regarding the conduct of the hearing, the Secretary of State suggests the following:

  1. All persons conducting the hearing should identify themselves and give a brief description of their positions and responsibilities;

  2. The moderator should then give the background of the proposed rule, and state when the hearing was advertised and how (i.e., in which newspapers advertisements appeared, and which groups were notified by mail);

  3. The moderator should then explain the procedures to be followed in conducting the hearing:
  • how long each person will have to speak, if any time limit is set at all--15 minutes would seem adequate in most instances;
  • what the format will be and how individuals should pose their questions;
  • The moderator may then begin, taking comments from:
    • anyone opposing the rule;
    • anyone approving of the rule;
    • anyone else who neither opposes nor approves of the rule.

The moderator should have adequate knowledge and information available to be able to answer any and all questions that might arise. If a question is posed that no one present can answer, the department should send a written reply within a reasonable time after the hearing.

When a hearing is held, the A.P.A. requires the agency to accept comments for at least 10 days thereafter. Following the opportunity for hearing, an agency must consider available relevant information, including public comments, before adoption.

C. Adoption
After complying with notice and hearing requirements and after considering the information available, an agency makes a formal decision on the proposed rule. Adoption, if that is the decision, must be by official action of the agency, and must take place within 120 days from the comment deadline (see 5 MRSA sec. 8052 sub-sec. 7.) The definition of adoption is the dated signature of the agency representative at the certification statement in MAPA-1.

Extension of a comment deadline is governed by 5 MRSA sec. 8052 sub-sec. 7: "... The final date for comments may be extended if notice of doing so is published within 14 days after the most recently published comment deadline, in the consolidated notice referred to in section 8053."

The A.P.A. requires an agency, at the time of adoption, to file with the Secretary of State a written statement explaining the factual and policy basis for the rule. When adopting a rule the agency shall also address all comments received and state its rationale for adoption or failing to adopt suggested changes (5 MRSA sec. 8052 sub-sec. 5). The agency may consolidate similar comments instead of addressing each one individually, but a provision of law (Public Law 1993, c.446, affecting 5 MRSA sec. 8052 sub-sec. 5) requires the listing of the names of persons whose comments were received and the organizations they represent, along with summaries of their comments. A record of the vote of agency members in rule-making decisions must be maintained by each agency and available for public inspection (5 MRSA sec. 8056 sub-sec. 5).

D. Filing
Once an agency adopts a rule, the A.P.A. requires that the agency:

  1. Submit two signed copies to the Attorney General for approval as to form and legality -- such approval takes the form of dated signatures by an assistant attorney general; and

  2. File two certified copies with the Secretary of State in a prescribed form (5 MRSA sec. 8056 sub-sec. 1); this is MAPA-4 on paper and in electronic form, the 2 signed copies of MAPA-1, the rule on paper (2 copies) and in electronic form (1 copy), and 2 paper copies of the Basis Statement, Comments and Responses, Fact Sheet, and Checklist.

The effective depends upon the date of filing with the Secretary of State.

In addition, an agency must supply free or at cost, a copy of each rule adopted to anyone who has filed within the past year a written request for the agency's rules (5 MRSA sec. 8056 sub-sec. sec. 2,4). This requirement is intended to aid the general public and the legal community by providing greater access to current agency rules.

After filing with the Secretary of State, a notice of rule adoption is published by the Secretary in the weekly consolidated newspaper ad (5 MRSA sec. 8056 sub-sec. 1 par. D). The text submitted by the agency on MAPA-4, Notice of Rule Adoption, is used for the notice. Agencies will be billed periodically for their pro rata share of the publication expense.

E. Provisional Adoption of Major Substantive Rules
Public Law 1995, c.463 introduced a new element into the rule-making process, that of legislative review of major substantive rules. Provisions of the new law require that the Legislature, when assigning rule-making authority to state agencies, differentiate between minor technical rules and major substantive rules. Minor technical chapters proceed through the process described here. Major substantive chapters, when they reach the adoption stage as described above, are labeled as "Provisionally Adopted" and sent to the Legislature for Committee and final review, including a legislative hearing. Here is a link to the Office of Policy and Legal Analysis pages on major substantive rule-making.

The introduction of legislative review will be a gradual development as the Legislature rewrites the rule-making authority provisions for each of the various agencies.

F. Agency responsibility
The A.P.A. does not relieve an agency of any requirement imposed by other statutes to provide more detailed notice, to hold a public hearing or to file with or gain approval from other designated persons. Each agency must be aware of such additional requirements.

3. Emergency Rules

In emergencies, compliance with the A.P.A. requirements of notice and hearing prior to adoption might result in a dangerous delay, preventing the rules from having the necessary effect. The provisions of 5 MRSA sec. 8054 allow an agency to modify those requirements to avoid an immediate threat to public health, safety and welfare, but only to the minimum extent necessary.

Emergency rules are subject to the filing requirement of 5 MRSA sec. 8056. They may be effective for 90 days or less and must include a statement of findings of the adopting agency describing the emergency. These findings are subject to judicial review to insure that this exception to the A.P.A. is used only for actual emergencies (5 MRSA sec. 8054 sub-sec. 2). Within 10 days from the adoption of the emergency rule, twenty copies of a fact sheet must be sent to the Executive Director of the Legislative Council (Stn. 115).

4. Required Rules

In addition to its substantive rules, each agency is required by 5 MRSA sec. 8051 to also adopt rules of practice governing the conduct of adjudicatory proceedings, licensing proceedings and the rendering of advisory rulings by the agency, unless such rules are provided by statute. They indicate what one needs to know in order to present a case before the agency or to obtain an advisory opinion. Rules of practice must be adopted and filed in the same manner as other rules.

5. Citizen Petition for Rule-making

Anyone may petition an agency to adopt or change a rule. When a petition is submitted by 150 or more registered voters of the State, the agency must begin rule-making proceedings within 60 days. The circulator must verify the petitions before a Notary Public and the appropriate registrar(s) of voters must certify that the signatures are of registered voters. It is the responsibility of the petitioners to insure that the requirements are met. An agency need not accept an incomplete or defective petition. The individual should obtain blank copies of the petition forms from the agency. You may also contact the Secretary of State for copies of the standard forms.

When fewer than 150 registered voters petition, the agency has an option. Within 60 days, it must either respond in writing, denying the request and stating its reasons for denial; or initiate rule-making proceedings to consider the proposed change.

6. Electronic Filing Provisions

Agencies must follow the provisions of 29-250 Chapter 800, the Secretary of State's rule on electronic filing. The text follows:

29-250
Department of the Secretary of State
Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions
Division of Elections and Commissions

Chapter 800: Procedures for the Electronic Filing of Rules

(APA Office Note: this chapter is due to be amended.)

Summary: Through Public Law 1991 chapter 554, the Maine Legislature mandated the Secretary of State to establish procedures and criteria for the filing of rules in electronic text format. A massive conversion project was undertaken throughout state government in the Fall of 1995. This rule establishes procedures and criteria for the electronic filing of rules.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION 1. ELECTRONIC FILING

SECTION 2. RULE-MAKING PROCEDURES

1. Principles
    A. Repeal and replace
    B. Non-substantive changes
2. Rule proposals
    A. Submissions to the Executive Director
    B. Filing with the Secretary of State: The proposal package
        (1) Electronic file
        (2) Paper forms
    C. Public comment
3. Rule adoptions
    A. Certification statement
    B. Filing with the Secretary of State: The adoption package
        (1) Electronic file
        (2) Paper forms
    C. Duties of the Secretary of State
    D. Duties of the agency

SECTION 3. FORMAT AND STRUCTURE

1. Electronic submission
    A. Delivery
    B. File (word processing) format
    C. Filename conventions
    D. Preferred text format
        (1) Chapters not yet in preferred format
        (2) Page orientation
        (3) Fonts
        (4) Margins
        (5) TAB's and INDENT's
        (6) Underlines and strikeouts
        (7) Special features
        (8) Cross-references
        (9) Page numbers
        (10) Graphics
    E. Virus checking
2. Rule structure

SECTION 4:ONGOING CLEAN-UP OF RULES

SECTION 5:TRANSITION

SECTION 6:DISTRIBUTION OF MACHINE READABLE RULES BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE


SECTION 1. ELECTRONIC FILING

Agencies promulgating rules under the Maine Administrative Procedure Act (APA) must file new and amended rules in electronic text format with the APA Office of the Secretary of State.

SECTION 2. RULE-MAKING PROCEDURES

  1. Principles

    A. Repeal and replace

    Rather than amend small parts of a chapter, agencies are encouraged to repeal and replace the entire chapter. Many potential errors are avoided by working with the entire chapter.

B. Non-substantive changes

If the only changes to a rule already on file in electronic text format involve renumbering and minor corrections -- that is, there are no substantive changes to the rule's text -- the corrections can be accomplished administratively at any time by the APA Office without engaging in the proposal and adoption process. Non-substantive changes include, but are not limited to: headnotes and the correction of spelling, format, and numbering; and the updating of agency names, addresses and phone numbers, and statutory and other legal references.

2. Rule proposals

A. Submissions to the Executive Director

The submissions of 20 copies of the rule-making Fact Sheet to the Executive Director of the Legislative Council, as described in the Administrative Procedure Act, is a separate activity performed by the agency and not the APA Office.

B. Filing with the Secretary of State: The proposal package

The proposal package must contain:

(1) Electronic file

(APA Office Note: under current law, the filing of the text of the rule proposal in any format is optional. The forms in (2) are mandatory.)

The proposal submission will consist of a single file in electronic text format, containing the text of the proposal.

Complete repeal and replace of the entire chapter is preferred, but if the agency wants to restrict its action to only part of a rule, it may submit only the full section or sections of the rule that are being amended, with changes clearly marked using underlines for added language, and strikeouts for language to be deleted.

If submitted on diskette, the diskette should be clearly labeled with the agency's name, rule chapter number and title, and date.

(2) Paper forms

(a) The Fact Sheet.

(b) A signed MAPA-3 form, Notice of Rulemaking Proposal. This signed copy is used for billing, through the state's MFASIS system, the agency's pro-rated cost of the newspaper ad.

C. Public comment

    The agency must follow all the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act regarding a public comment period and hearing provisions. In addition, the APA Office may post the rule proposal for public access through electronic means at its discretion.

  3.   Rule adoptions

Rule adoptions are processed in the following manner:

A. Certification statement

The certification statement, signed by the rule-making authority on the MAPA-1 form, will read: "I, (name of official empowered to adopt rules), hereby certify that the electronic text identified as follows:

Filename.Extension Size Date Time
(the appropriate information)

is a true copy of the rule(s) described above. I further certify that all portions of this rule are adopted in compliance with the requirements of the Maine Administrative Procedure Act. (Name of agency, official's signature, date of signature)."

(APA Office Note: the certification statement just described has proven to be cumbersome. The agency should substitute: "I, (name of official empowered to adopt rules), hereby certify that the attached text is a true copy of the rule(s) described above. I further certify that all portions of this rule are adopted in compliance with the requirements of the Maine Administrative Procedure Act. (Name of agency, official's signature, date of signature."))

B. Filing with the Secretary of State: The adoption package

In submitting the final version of an amended rule, the agency must submit an electronic copy of the chapter or section as it existed before the proposal, annotated with changes surviving from the original proposal, from public comment, and from legislative action if any. Deleted language is indicated by strikeout. Added language is indicated by underlines. in "clean copy" format, with strikeout text and underlines removed.

There follows a description of the entire adoption package, both paper and electronic items that must be filed.

(1) Electronic file

The adopted rule, a single file containing the text of the rule or amended portion of the rule. A copy goes directly into the read-only Historical File.

(2) Paper forms

(a) One signed paper copy of the MAPA-4 form, Notice of Rulemaking Adoption. This signed copy is used for billing through the state's MFASIS system, the agency's pro-rated cost of the newspaper ad.

(b) Two signed paper copies of the MAPA-1 cover sheet form. One is returned to the agency with a copy of the filed rule.

(c) Two copies of the Basis Statement.

(d) Two copies of the Comments and Responses -- comments from the public, whether through a hearing or mail, FAX, e-mail, phone, or personal contact, and responses by the agency.

(e) Two copies of the Fact Sheet.

(f) Two copies of the Checklist.

C. Duties of the Secretary of State

The APA Office must return an electronic copy of the adopted chapter, incorporating any amendments, to the agency as its officially adopted rule identified by filename, file size, and file date. The APA Office must also return one of the signed paper MAPA-1 adoption forms stamped and dated "Accepted for Filing." Any non-substantive change by the Secretary of State affecting the size, date and time of the file will be described for the agency's information.

D. Duties of the agency

The agency must carefully proofread the printed copy and, within thirty (30) working days of the date "Accepted for Filing" on the MAPA-1 form returned to the agency, notify the APA Office of any errors or omissions in the text.

SECTION 3. FORMAT AND STRUCTURE

Agencies must use consistent formats and a consistent structure throughout the text of a rule.

  1. Electronic submission

A. Delivery The delivery of electronic text information to the Secretary of State must be in a manner approved by the APA Office.

B. File (word processing) format Agencies must use a word processing file format approved by the APA Office. This may be ASCII if no other compatibility can be found.

(APA Office Note: the following item will be deleted in an amendment to be filed shortly.)

C. Filename conventions

Each file submitted under this chapter must have a filename that consists of the agency's unit number and the chapter number of the rule being submitted, separated by the letter "C." For example, the Secretary of State is Unit 250, and its chapter 11 would be: 250C011.

D. Preferred text format

(1) Chapters not yet in preferred format

When existing rules do not meet all the formatting requirements described below, the agency should comply with them when next repealing and replacing the chapter. When amending a chapter that is not in the preferred format, the agency should either place the entire chapter into the preferred format and repeal and replace it, or submit the amendment in the chapter's existing format and numbering conventions and make the complete replacement at a later time, as soon as it can. The APA Office may, at any time, rearrange a rule's formatting through its power to make non-substantive changes with agency notification.

(2) Page orientation

All submissions should be designed for printing on 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages, portrait orientation.

(APA Office Note: the following item will be amended shortly to indicate that the ideal font is Times New Roman 11.)

(3) Fonts

The basic text font may be any 12 point font or a 10 character per inch fixed font such as Courier 10.

(4) Margins

Margins must be 1 inch all around or more.

(5) TAB's and INDENT's

Rules use an indented block format. [Indent]s rather than [Tab]s should be used. Stops for the [Indent]s using the Courier 10 font are 1.6, 2.2, 2.8, 3.4, 4.0, 4.7 -- every .6 of an inch except for the last one (which allows (viii), the longest subdivision we consider likely). This rule uses those settings. (NOTE: Actually it only comes close in this HTML-formatted version; see the word processing file under the Secretary of State's rule page for a properly formatted copy.) Sub-section 1, for example, would involve the following keystrokes from the margin (using WordPerfect for this and other examples):

[Indent]1.[Indent]text.

Note that the text itself is indented beyond its numbered heading.

(6) Underlines and strikeouts

Underlines and strikeouts must only be used to show changes in text between the rule currently on file, and the amended rule. If the agency's word processor is incapable of generating underlines or strikeouts, the agency must use another clearly visible technique on the paper copy, such as highlighting, with the approval of the APA Office.

(7) Special features

Other character-related features, such as changes in font, redlining, double underlining, bold and italics, may be used for the cosmetic appearance of the printed version of a rule, but only if their removal through of a conversion process would not damage the logic and meaning of the rule. Superscript and subscript should be used only if absolutely necessary.

(8) Cross-references References by numbered citation to statute or other rules within the text of a particular rule should be avoided. This is because an amendment or repeal of the outlying law or rule would interfere with the citation's accuracy. Instead, the rule might refer to the general area of law or regulatory function.

(9) Page numbers References to page numbers should be avoided, because electronic reformatting often changes page numbering. Page numbers should exist only for the short-term convenience of the user. Tables of contents and indices are better written as citing sections, sub-sections, etc., rather than page numbers. (10) Graphics If graphical attachments are absolutely necessary, they should come with the rule as attendant files in TIFF format, or another format by mutual agreement of the agency and the APA Office. E. Virus checking The agency must scan outgoing diskettes and files for viruses and eliminate any found.

2.  Rule structure

When people think of a "rule," they generally are thinking of a chapter. Chapter numbers are assigned by the APA Office in consultation with the agency. A chapter should be a relatively small body of regulation on a specific topic. Agencies are better served by adopting a number of smaller chapters, than by adopting one massive chapter which attempts to cover all areas of agency responsibility. Smaller chapters are more easily amended, processed, and replaced without affecting other ones; they also lend themselves to more cost-effective distribution.

Rule structure must follow A Guide of the Rulemaking Process for State Agencies, published by the APA Office. The next authoritative source is the Maine Legislative Drafting Manual, published by the Revisor of Statutes. The hierarchy of headings should follow this pattern:

CHAPTER (1,2...)A "rule" is a complete chapter; this is the overall title of your rule.

   (SUB-CHAPTERS or PARTS might be allowed in exceptional cases; please consult the APA       Officer.)

       SECTION (1, 2...)Spell out "SECTION" in caps.

         Sub-section (1, 2...)Numbers and letters stand alone from here.

           Paragraph (A, B...)

             Subparagraph ((1), (2)...)

               Division ((a), (b)...)

                 Subdivision ((i)...)

Within a rule (chapter), this number scheme would be used like this, from the margin:

SECTION 1.

1.

A.

(1)

(a)

(i)

Hybrid numbering such as SECTION 1-A (which would fall between 1 and 2) or paragraph A-1 should be avoided; it would be better to renumber the entire chapter.

Section numbers are sequential throughout the rule. All other numbers revert to the first number in their sequence when the next higher number (heading) changes. For example:

SECTION 1.
     1.
     2.
     3.
SECTION 2.
     1.
          A.
          B.
          C.
     2.
          A.
          B.
SECTION 3.
     1.
     2.

If any rule existing at the time that this chapter takes effect does not conform to the standard structure, the agency should to adopt this structure when the rule is next repealed and replaced.

A separate paragraph or note must be indented the same as the section, etc. under which it falls. Agencies should avoid the placing of finer subdivisions between unnumbered paragraphs of a larger subdivision.

SECTION 4: ONGOING CLEAN-UP OF RULES

The APA Office will examine electronic text copies of rules in its Current File as time permits. If it makes non-substantive changes as a result of that examination, the APA Office will send the corrected version of the rule to the agency and note its action in the Historical File.

SECTION 5: TRANSITION

Although the intent is full conversion of all rules into electronic text format, rules may be accepted by the APA Office, at its discretion, in either paper or electronic formats as long as the rules are otherwise in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

SECTION 6: DISTRIBUTION OF MACHINE READABLE RULES BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE

The Secretary of State may not make available to the public any rule in machine readable form prior to its formal adoption under the procedures established in this chapter.

The Secretary of State may make available to the public any rule or group of rules through the World-Wide Web or other publicly-accessible medium. STATUTORY AUTHORITY: 5 MRSA Section 8056 sub-Section 8

EFFECTIVE DATE (EMERGENCY VERSION): October 20, 1995

EFFECTIVE DATE: April 23, 1996

EFFECTIVE DATE (ELECTRONIC CONVERSION): April 28, 1996

If you need forms or have questions about the Administrative Procedure Act, feel free to call Administrative Rules Coordinator Don Wismer at (207) 624-7647.

 

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