The governor takes control of regulatory boards | Arkansas Blog

The governor takes control of regulatory boards


Here's another piece of late-session legislating that passed with small notice though the impact, cumulatively, could be enormous.

Like a lot of last-minute action, HB 1851 by Rep. Micah Neal began as a shell bill. It was fleshed out with 34 pages of amendments two weeks before the end of the session and 13 more pages of amendments a week later.
It encountered little opposition.

The bill puts the membership of the dozens of state regulatory boards and commissions almost solely under the control of the governor. Where the governor once had to make many appointments from names submitted by those being regulated, the law now requires only that he "consult" those groups before making an appointment.

One example: The Long-Term Care Facility Advisory Board, which oversees nursing home, has 10 members. Under the existing law, two members had to come from a list submitted by the nursing home lobbying association and one from the nurses association. Now the governor may choose any two nursing home owners or any registered nurse, but must consult with the two groups first.

This could have significant impact in future decision-making depending on the board and the person appointed.

Some people are up in arms. However, this change could also eliminate a long-simmering potential for lawsuit. The argument has been made that it's a usurpation of executive power to place limits on executive appointments by essentially giving the power to an outside agency.

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