Some State Boards Schwarzenegger Slated for Elimination Not Named by California Performance Review
Some of the state boards -- including several health-related commissions -- that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) suggested eliminating during his State of the State address last week were not identified by the California Performance Review Commission, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 1/8).
In his speech, Schwarzenegger proposed consolidating or eliminating almost 100 state regulatory boards. His proposal included eliminating the Board of Registered Nursing and consolidating the responsibilities of the Medical Board of California to the state's consumer services agency.
Schwarzenegger also called for the consolidation of 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.
Schwarzenegger's proposal is subject to legislative approval and will undergo hearings later this month by the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight committee. The commission within the next two months will present its recommendations to Schwarzenegger and the Legislature.
Schwarzenegger must formally submit his proposal to the Legislature within 30 days, and the Senate or Assembly will make a decision on the proposal within 60 days of receipt (California Healthline, 1/7).
According to the Times, health-related boards slated for elimination but not included in the CPR report include the following:
Dental Board of California;
State Board of Optometry;
California State Board of Pharmacy;
Physical Therapy Board of California;
Board of Podiatric Medicine;
California Board of Psychology;
- Board of Registered Nursing,
- Medical Board of California;
Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians; and
- Workers' Compensation Appeals Board.
Administration officials have said they do not know if the proposed changes would reduce state costs. In addition, any savings would not be transferred to taxpayers because most boards are supported by licensing fees, according to the Times.
Julianne D'Angelo Fellmeth, administrative director of the Center for Public Interest Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and monitor of the medical board, said, "This is ill-advised on the part of the administration. A board has to meet in public; it has to respond to public comment. The only interest in Sacramento who's not a special interest is the public interest, and that's going to be blocked out. We're shoving public government into a private closet where only the special interests and the trade interests will be able to go."
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights President Jamie Court said, "The whole reason we have professional boards with private citizens deliberating in open meetings is because political bureaucrats like [State and Consumer Services Agency Secretary Fred] Aguiar botched the job and were working for the professional industries that were supposed to be regulated." Court also called Aguiar a "political animal who, when he was in the Legislature, was fed and bred by the medical insurance complex."
California Medical Association President Robert Hertzka said that under Schwarzenegger's proposal there could be a "significantly dramatic change in how physician discipline was being managed and run" in the event of a "major partisan switch." He added, "In the present system, going from (Gov. Pete) Wilson to (Gray) Davis or Davis to Schwarzenegger didn't change the philosophy."
California Nurses Association Director Rose Ann DeMoro said that Schwarzenegger is "trying to appear as a populist, while he's promoting perhaps the worst corporate agenda we've seen."
Aguiar said that SCSA would continue to review disciplinary complaints and would be accountable to Schwarzenegger. He said, "This administration has had a priority of consumer protection. This does not change under this proposal. I believe this will be open government" (Los Angeles Times, 1/8).