INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Senate Panel Advances Appointment Measure
The California Senate Elections and Reapportionment Committee unanimously approved yesterday a proposed constitutional amendment that would shift the state insurance commissioner position from an elected office to a gubernatorial appointment, the Sacramento Bee reports. The change comes amidst allegations of corruption against current state Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush. Critics charge that Quackenbush went soft on insurers who failed to reimburse earthquake victims and that he "received over $6.4 million in campaign contributions from the very people that he is charged to regulate." State Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Daly City), sponsor of the measure, said the current system creates "inherent conflict," and professor Edward Lascher of the California State University, agreed, arguing, "To mount a credible statewide campaign, any candidate needs a lot of money. The fact is that there simply aren't many good sources for this post from people outside the industry." Constitutional amendments require approval from two-thirds of the Legislature to be placed on the ballot for public consideration. If approved, the amendment would apply to future insurance commissioners only; Quackenbush's elected term ends in 2003 (Matthews, 5/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.