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CALIFORNIA | Capitol Matters

A roundup of important state bills, regulatory news, upcoming legislative issues and appointments of interest to local executives

November 29, 1996|From LegiTech News Service


Out With the Old

Dozens of state commissioners and regulatory board members are polishing their farewell speeches in preparation for the post-election power shift in the Assembly that will sweep them from their jobs as early as next week.

Fresno Democrat Cruz Bustamante will be formally crowned Assembly speaker on Monday, and along with the spiffy new business cards comes the authority to make hundreds of appointments to state boards and commissions. From the obscure Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers to the almighty California Coastal Commission, these regulatory bodies are often where businesses have their most extensive dealings with state government.

In all, there are about 140 boards whose members are appointed by the governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate. Bustamante will find himself with the power to fill about 270 posts, although only 70 or so of those are so-called pleasure appointments that can be replaced at any time. Other appointments cannot be changed until the terms expire.

Capitol watchers expect Bustamante to make those pleasure appointments within his first month as speaker, obliterating the legacy of his Republican predecessor, outgoing Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle of Garden Grove. The Senate, which remains under Democrat control, is not expected to change any of its current appointees.

Bustamante's office is predictably coy about what state boards and commissions he will shake up with a rash of Democratic appointments after he takes control Monday. But his office is alone in pretending that the powerful California Coastal Commission won't take an early hit, probably before its next meeting Dec. 11.


Here's a quick look at some of the important business-related legislation recently acted on:

* Endangered Species Act Reform (AB 350)

Requires the state to create pilot recovery programs for five endangered and threatened species. Supporters, including the California Assn. of Realtors, argued that wildlife listed under the state act often retain protected status indefinitely, with no effort made to boost their numbers, while the accompanying prohibitions on development or other land use that could affect their habitat remained. Author: Bustamante. Signed.

* Workers' Comp Review (AB 1859)

Subjects the Division of Workers' Compensation to increased scrutiny by the state Office of Administrative Law, which will review all proposed workers' compensation regulations to make sure they are necessary and easily understood. Supporters, including the Assn. of California Insurance Companies, argued more accountability was needed. Author: Valerie Brown (D-Sonoma). Signed.

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