Just a week after being sworn in, Governor Charlie Baker imposed a “regulatory pause” on new state regulations with certain exceptions.  The temporary ban will last through March 31. 

The regulatory freeze was announced in a January 15 memo from Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore, who described the goal is to “modernize and simplify the Commonwealth’s regulations.”  In the memo, Lepore forbids state departments from sending proposed regulations out for comment or filing a final regulation with the secretary of state’s office without her permission.

The pause to regulations does not include any regulation that must be developed by a particular date by law, that “substantially lessens” a regulatory burden or repeals an “onerous” rule, that are “essential for the public health, safety, environment, or welfare,” or “meaningfully” address “an unforeseen matter of public import.”

This move is the first salvo in an expected re-evaluation of regulatory developments by the Baker administration, which has pledged to be simplify and streamline the regulatory environment in Massachusetts for businesses.