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Legislation once seeking major reform of the Medical Board of California was gutted and passed by a key Assembly committee last week

The state agency that regulates doctors is facing sunset review this year, meaning it will cease to exist if lawmakers and the governor don’t reauthorize it.

Senate Bill 304 is a vehicle to make changes and unwind or reauthorize the agency. Initially authored by Sen. Curren Price, it is now carried by Sen. Ted Lieu. Price left office to take a seat on the Los Angeles City Council on July 1. This bill includes numerous provisions related to the Medical Board of California (MBC) that emerged during sunset review of the Board in 2012; The bill as it is now written, extends the Medical Board’s sunset date until January 1, 2018 and makes MBC subject to review by the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature.

Amendments approved Tuesday eliminated a key enforcement reform that would have moved all staff investigating dangerous doctors to the California Department of Justice. The bill now moves investigative staff to Division of Investigation in the California Department of Consumer Affairs, keeping enforcement split between that department and the medical board staff.

The bill was also amended to extend Medical Board operations for four years. Price had threatened to pull the plug on the agency if serious changes were not made.