Panel targets dropping 35 state boards, commissions
A new legislative subcommittee took aim Thursday at the possible elimination of 35 state boards and commissions, including the state Wildlife and Ethics commissions.
November 17, 2011 - 3:39 pm
CARSON CITY — A new legislative subcommittee took aim Thursday at the possible elimination of 35 state boards and commissions, including the state Wildlife and Ethics commissions.
During the first meeting of Legislature’s Sunset Subcommittee, members identified the boards and commissions they want to call in and ask to provide justification for their continued existence.
Some such as the Commission on Sports have not met in decades and clearly will be abolished. But others, including the Wildlife and Ethics commissions, were placed on the subcommittee’s bull’s-eye largely because they are controversial or failed to respond to legislative requests for information.
"We aren’t saying these boards are good or bad," said Sen. Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, chairwoman of the nine-member subcommittee. "Every board and commission eventually will be looked at."
The Sunset Subcommittee was created through a bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno. Approved unanimously and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, the law allows the subcommittee to determine whether boards or commissions "should be terminated, modified, consolidated with another agency or continued."
Kieckhefer said during hearings that his goal was to ensure "taxpayers were getting the biggest bang for their buck" by reviewing boards to make sure they are operating efficiently and effectively.
He also said the committee’s creation was recommended by the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, which reviewed state government when Jim Gibbons was governor and identified ways to save money.
The subcommittee’s recommendations are due June 30 and on the same day every other year.
Any recommendations made next year must be approved by the Legislature in 2013 before a board can be eliminated.
Starting in February, Sunset Subcommittee members will look at a few boards each month. Members of the boards will be asked to attend and answer questions.
Leslie wants to look at the Wildlife Commission because it has been mired in controversy and is dominated by pro-hunting members.
Gibbons was accused of packing the commission with pro hunters. Commissioners last year established the state’s first bear hunting season, enraging animal support groups and others.
Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams, D-Las Vegas, recommended the subcommittee look at eliminating or modifying the Wildlife Commission.
Bustamante Adams said she had "no particular reason" for the Wildlife Commission’s inclusion other than the fact it did not respond to calls from legislative staff members inquiring about when it most recently met.
Contacted in Reno, Ken Mayer, state Wildlife Department director and secretary to the Wildlife Commission, said he never received any phone calls from the Legislature. He said the Wildlife Commission last met on Sept. 23-24.
All calls for the Wildlife Commission go to the Department of Wildlife. Mayer said a call might not have been forwarded to him.
Leslie said several other boards that did not respond to legislative staff members also will asked to appear before the commission, including the Ethics Commission and the Executive Branch Audit Committee.
Caren Jenkins, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said she didn’t recall getting any calls seeking information on the panel’s meetings.
At one point during the hearing, former Assemblyman David Goldwater, D-Las Vegas, noted he had been a member of the Nevada Commission on Sports for eight or nine years, and the committee did not meet once.
Goldwater, one of three nonlegislators on the subcommittee, said it made sense to include nonfunctioning boards on the potential cut list.
Assemblyman Richard McArthur, R-Las Vegas, said the subcommittee might look at combining operations of the state Athletic Commission, the Commission on Sports and the Board of Athletic Trainers.
Legislative staff members now will contact the boards and commissions on the potential cut list and ask them to furnish minutes of their meetings, contact information on their board members, their financial records, websites and other information.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.Nevada Legislature’s Sunset Subcommittee targets
Here are the state boards and commission that will be asked to justify their continued existence:
• *Executive Branch Audit Committee
• *Committee on Anatomical Dissection
• *Nevada State Board on Geographic Names
• State Board of Agriculture
• *Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
• *Nevada State Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision
• *Gaming Policy Committee
• Advisory Council on Parental Involvement and Family Engagement
• *State Grazing Board
• Garlic and Onion Growers’ Advisory Board
• *Alfalfa Seed Advisory Board
• Central Committee of Nevada State Grazing Boards
• *Committee on Health Benefit Plans
• Nevada Athletic Commission
• Credit Union Advisory Council*
• Advisory Council on Mortgage Investments and Mortgage Lending
• *Advisory Board on Natural Resources
• Executive Council to the Land Use Planning Advisory Council (created in 1977 but never met)
• Well Drillers’ Advisory Board
• Advisory Council on the State Program for Fitness and Wellness
• *Information Technology Advisory Board
• *Merit Award Board
• *Board of Wildlife Commissioners
• *Police and Firefighters Retirement Fund Advisory Committee
• *Board of the Public Employees Benefits Program
• *Commission on Ethics
• *State Advisory Board of Trustees for the Trust Relating to the Fairgrounds
• *Nevada Commission on Sports
• Board of Athletic Trainers
• State Barbers Health and Sanitation Board
• Nevada State Funeral Board
• *Board for the Regulation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas
• State Board of Oriental Medicine
• Nevada State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
• *Commission on Postsecondary Education
* Board did not respond to legislative staff inquiries about when it last met