May 26, 2015
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts

Ask Governor Baker to Keep Massachusetts a Leader

LWVMA has asked Governor Charlie Baker to revise Executive Order 562, which requires all agencies within the Executive department to review every regulation under their jurisdiction. The order applies to over 75 agencies, authorities and departments in the Executive branch.


Please add your individual voice to this request by contacting the Governor's office directly.


And consider having your League send a letter to the editor of your local paper on this issue. You can see a template for such a letter here.  


Executive Order 562 specifies that all regulations not in compliance with the provisions of the order automatically sunset on March 31, 2016, and that "only those regulations which are mandated by law or essential to the health, safety, environment or welfare of the Commonwealth's residents shall be retained or modified."


The League, in a letter, urged the Governor to require that agencies hold public hearings and provide for public comment periods before regulations are changed or eliminated.   The League supports and encourages regular and objective reviews of state regulations to assure that they are clear, relevant and effective in accomplishing their intended results. The League feels strongly, however, that reviews and proposed changes include an opportunity to allow input from interested parties and to assure that citizens are aware of pending changes in regulations. It may be extremely difficult for agencies to carry out a review of all regulations in a public manner by that March 31, 2016, deadline, and necessary regulations should not be eliminated simply because of time constraints on the process.


The League also urges the Governor to withdraw the Executive Order's provision that Massachusetts regulations "not exceed federal requirements." In many instances, particularly in health care, environmental protection and consumer protection, Massachusetts' regulations exceed federal requirements and have clearly benefited the people of Massachusetts. Our state's more comprehensive regulations have often served as a model for other states and for federal regulations. We would hope to continue that leadership and would view federal regulations as a floor rather than a ceiling.


As examples of Massachusetts regulations that exceed federal requirements, Massachusetts has strict regulations on the chemical perchlorate in drinking water. There is no federal limitation on perchlorate use, although the Environmental Protection Agency is developing a proposed drinking water regulation. Similarly, Massachusetts put limits on power plant emissions of mercury in 2001. The federal government just imposed sufficient mercury limits on power plants this year, and the national standards remain weaker than our state's.


The federal Superfund Law requires that sites contaminated by hazardous wastes are cleaned up, but does not include contamination from oil as one of the regulated hazardous wastes. Massachusetts does make property owners responsible for oil contamination, affecting over half of the "brownfield" contaminated sites in Massachusetts.


Massachusetts is part of a regional cap-and-trade program to reduce power plant pollution. That agreement calls for a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2020. The federal standard is a 30 percent reduction by 2030.


Requiring that Massachusetts regulations not exceed federal regulations would also impact many consumer protection and occupational safety regulations.


Please contact the Governor's office and ask him (1) to remove the requirement in Executive Order 562 that state regulations not exceed federal regulations and (2) to insure that changes to or elimination of regulations include an opportunity for public hearings and comment. The Governor's office asks that all communications include the sender's mailing address, email address and phone number.


To contact by phone: 617-725-4005

To contact by mail: Governor Charles Baker

                                Massachusetts State House

                                Office of the Governor, Room 280

                                Boston, MA 02133

To contact by email: Go to this website and fill out the contact form.


You can read Executive Order 562 here.


You can read LWVMA's letter to the Governor here. 


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