Governor urges law to keep insiders off regulatory panels

By Andrew Nicla | Arizona Capitol Times

In an effort to “chip away at the deep-rooted cronyism” and clean up government, Gov. Doug Ducey wants to put more members of the public on state regulatory boards and commissions instead of industry insiders.

Ducey said during his State of the State Address on January 13 he was working with Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, to shepherd her bill that would require boards and commission to have a majority of members be from the public.

“There’s still too many insiders and industry good ol’ boys,” Ducey said in his address to the Legislature. “It’s time to clean this up. Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita has a bill that puts real people – unbiased people – on these boards. Let’s pass it.”

Ugenti-Rita approached the Governor’s Office first and expressed her interest in proposing the bill, given her previous work with him “rolling back the out-of-control Cosmetology Board.” She said he and his team were receptive to the idea and that she is drafting language, which she planed to introduce by January 17.

Ugenti-Rita said these boards have become crowded with biased people who value their self-interests over the job they’re appointed to do. By putting more average, “unbiased” people who have no financial stake in the industry on these boards, Ugenti-Rita said, they will do a better job of representing more perspectives on any given issue.

“The board’s objective at the beginning was to protect public health, safety, welfare and who better to be a judge whether their health and welfare and safety are being jeopardized than the public themselves,” Ugenti-Rita said. “There will still be expertise on the board, but the majority of the membership will be the public members. This will also hopefully regulate or help alleviate the opportunities for these particular individuals who have a vested interest in protecting their industry from voting on regulation that limits competition within their field.”

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