Changes are coming to a state board that pays members $128,000 per year and has been a haven in years past for termed-out legislators appointed by the governor or legislative leaders.
Gov. Jerry Brown's signing of budget-related legislation last month included a provision that will trim the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board from seven members to five, eliminating two governor-appointed positions that currently are vacant.
Members now include former Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont, and former Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Modesto. Former San Diego Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia's seat expired two weeks ago.
Other former lawmakers who served on the board recently include George Plescia, R-La Jolla; Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta; and Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego.
The legislation signed recently by Brown, Senate Bill 1038, also will require that members of the board be attorneys with at least five years practicing law or one year conducting judicial proceedings.
Two of the four current members - Kathleen Howard and Ashburn - are not attorneys, according to Alberto Roldan, executive director. Garcia also was not a lawyer.
The newly signed legislation represents a compromise after Brown had proposed eliminating the board, which is an administrative court system for workers and employers appealing decisions of Employment Development Department. Lawmakers killed a bill this year to delete salaries for members of the board.
Changes signed into law by Brown will apply to appointments made after Jan. 1, 2013.
The Assembly speaker and Senate President pro tem will continue to have authority for one appointment apiece to the board. The governor's seats will retain a majority of seats, but his appointment authority will drop to three seats from five.
SB 1038 will not affect any existing members because three seats, all for gubernatorial appointees, currently are vacant. In addition, Ashburn, an appointee of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is expected to resign if he wins a Kern County supervisorial seat in November.
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