Others were created to deal with a specific topic, such as the Civil War Battlefield Commission or the Holocaust Commission or the Mississippi Bicentennial Commission.
Gov. Phil Bryant wants to study those boards and commissions – some of which are in the news all the time, but many that receive no publicity – to determine if some of them should be merged or even eliminated.
In his State of the State speech in January, Bryant said some were created “when we could not make a decision on a difficult subject and appointed a committee to study the problem. Good people serve on these committees and boards, but the purpose of many has been exhausted and their existence should be reviewed.”
The first-year governor said he was requesting that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, whose office already is tasked with maintaining the state’s records, make recommendations “on possible termination or consolidation” of the boards and commissions.
After that January State of the State speech, little was said on the topic during the 2012 session of the Legislature.
But Mick Bullock, a spokesman for Bryant, said the issue has not gone away.
In response to an inquiry, Bullock said recently, “Gov. Bryant and Secretary Hosemann have been reviewing these boards and plan to offer recommendations to the Legislature in the 2013 session.”
Pamela Weaver, a spokeswoman for Hosemann, also said the study is ongoing.
Most of the boards and commissions operate on fees collected for the groups they govern. For instance, the state Board of Architecture operates on a fee on architects. The same would be true for many others, such as barbers and foresters.
A handful of better known boards, such as the Board of Health or Board of Education, operate on state general fund dollars derived on taxes on income, retail items and other standard state taxes.
While many of the boards are not well-known, it still might cause problems to try to merge some of the boards that seem to have a common purpose. For instance, separate boards govern optometrists and ophthalmologists. They both provide eye care, but often are in conflict in the legislative process about the level of services they can provide.