Fate of Oversight Boards for Health Jobs Unclear
Consumer boards with oversight over health care professions are among those slated to expire in June 2008, four years after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) initially proposed abolishing them, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 10/22).
Both the Senate and Assembly adjourned at the end of September without passing SB 797 or AB 1545, two bills to extend the sunset of four consumer boards, including the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.
The boards are set to expire in June 2008.
The dental board will expire because Schwarzenegger vetoed a measure (SB 534) that would have established a separate regulatory board for dental hygienists; the bill also would have reauthorized the dental board (California Healthline, 10/18).
As part of the California Performance Review -- the governor's 2004 plan to restructure state government -- Schwarzenegger proposed eliminating all five of the consumer boards now set to expire. Overall, the governor intended to dissolve 117 boards and commissions.
Lawmakers have to pass emergency funding this year to extend the boards past next year. Otherwise, the boards will become state bureaus controlled by Schwarzenegger administration officials rather than appointed boards.
Aaron McLear, spokesperson for the governor, said, "We are open to re-establishing these boards and working with the Legislature to do so." He added, "The bottom line is that whether they survive as boards or become bureaus, they will protect consumers."
Julie Fellmeth, administrative director at the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law, said it appears that the Schwarzenegger administration prefers bureaus "because it has refused to approve any new boards since the governor has been in office" (Sacramento Bee, 10/22).