Elimination of CHRB Proposed by State Panel

The California Horse Racing Board would be eliminated under a radical proposal suggested by a panel created by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to restructure state government.

The CHRB would be among 45 agencies folded into the new Department of Commerce and Consumer Protection, according to the Los Angeles Times. The department would oversee gambling, the lottery, racing and most functions of the Department of Motor Vehicles, as well as the licensing and regulation of many professional services.

"I should have some details next week," said Roy Wood Jr., the CHRB's executive director. "It's hard to say what would happen until we see the full report. But there's a lot of work to be done on this before anything happens."

Wood said the CHRB staff was recently sent questionnaires about the agency's functions.

"The thing that I would say is that racing has a uniqueness about it," he noted. "Many of the agencies (in the proposed new department) are primarily for licensing. We do much more than licensing. We're a regulatory agency. We're in charge of the racing, the testing, investigations, law enforcement."

In a 2,547-page report, the California Performance Review  -- a team of more than 275 specially appointed state workers, administrative officials and outside consultants  -- recommend wiping 118 of the state's 339 boards and commissions. It would consolidate a number of state services while projecting savings of more than $32 billion in the next five years.

The reorganization is to be formally presented to Schwarzenegger on  Aug. 3. According to his spokesperson, the governor has created a 21-person commission to hold five public hearings over the next two months. The plan would then go to the Little Hoover Commission for further recommendations. Schwarzenegger is expected to send a final version to the Legislature next year.