Schwarzenegger Expected to Withdraw Plan To Eliminate, Consolidate Some State Boards
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday in a letter to the Little Hoover Commission will withdraw his plan to eliminate 88 state regulatory boards and commissions, including some health-related bodies, sources close to the governor said, the Sacramento Bee reports (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 2/17).
Schwarzenegger during his State of the State address introduced the proposal, which would include eliminating the Board of Registered Nursing and consolidating the responsibilities of the Medical Board of California to the state's consumer services agency.
The proposal also would consolidate the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board into a single, nine-member commission called the Employment and Benefits Appeals Board.
The Little Hoover Commission last month issued a report critical of the proposal, citing concerns of reduced public oversight and over-consolidation of state functions (California Health Line, 1/27).
The commission has been reviewing the proposal since January and on Feb. 24 is expected to release a "highly critical assessment," the Bee reports. The proposal would require legislative approval to take effect.
According to the Bee, sources close to Schwarzenegger said the governor's decision was influenced by testimony at the Little Hoover hearings from Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, and Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the Center for Public Interest Law.
Fellmeth called the withdrawal a "good sign." He added, "One of the things you have to do when you're a public official is, after something is vetted, reconsider and change your mind if it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Not every idea is a good one."
Holober said, "My initial reaction is that this thing was so clearly political and poorly thought out that this is a tactical retreat from a battle that the governor would look like a fool if he pursued. He's gotten all kinds of groups mad at him that otherwise wouldn't have a beef with the governor."
Schwarzenegger spokesperson Ashley Snee said, "We've had eight hearings. [Schwarzenegger has] heard from members of his Cabinet. We await the recommendations from Little Hoover" (Sacramento Bee, 2/17).