In life and in public policy there is often a delicate balance between study and action. Between endless studies and premature action. Or hasty action with no studies.
I got to thinking on this theme after attending Friday’s remote meeting of CHSWC, the California Commission on Health, Safety and Workers’ Compensation. Incidentally, it was the first recent CHSWC meeting without Commissioner Kristy Bouma, who resigned from CHSWC to take a post in the Newsom administration. Former CHSWC Chair Angie Wei has resigned from the Newsom administration.
During a public question period at the CHSWC meeting, several copy service proprietors made impassioned pleas to AD George Parisotto about their economic distress. Calling the pending copy service fee schedule inadequate, one copy service owner was clearly nearly in tears as she outlined the cost pressures on these services. She noted that some copy service shops have closed due to economics of the business.
The 2012 passage of SB 863 required the AD to develop a copy service fee schedule. But that was not done until July 2015, some two and a half years later. In the interim, CHSWC had commissioned a copy service fees report from the Berkeley Research Group, which in October 2013 produced a report “Formulating a Copy Services Fee Schedule”. The copy service commenter at CHSWC noted that the pending proposed schedule is the first increase since 2015.
So almost 10 years after SB 863 there seems to be uncertainty over what an adequate copy service fee schedule would be, and although there have been two public hearings and multiple stakeholder meetings, no recent studies. Although I’m not suggesting kicking the can down the road with another study now, it might have been useful to have updated the BRG study a couple years ago. Timing matters.
Another issue that came up at CHSWC was raised by yours truly. During the questions period I asked AD Parisotto about the status of a report on the SIBTF. A bit of history: in a 2021 presentation to CHSWC, Assistant Chief Counsel of DIR OD Legal Kim Card indicated that a study of SIBTF would be undertaken.
Parisotto responded that an RFP for a study of SIBTF was being prepared. In other words, it’s a year later but we’re taking steps to start a study.
I then asked Parisotto whether rumors that DWC/DIR might seek changes to SIBTF in a budget trailer bill were true, or whether he would be willing to publicly commit to having any changes in the SIBTF done in a regular legislative process.
While this might have been an uncomfortable question, it seems a fair one. Several years ago some proposed changes to SIBTF were inserted into a budget trailer bill, but eventually quietly removed by legislative leaders.
Parisotto was not willing to disclose details on DWC legislative strategy about the SIBTF.
Anyone listening to our exchange could read the tea leaves on that as they wish.
Here’s my argument, which ties into the theme of studies and action. Perhaps some reforms of the SIBTF are in order, but they should not be done in a stealth manner such as obscure budget trailer bill language.
It makes no sense to make major SIBTF changes without performing the study which was promised over a year ago.
The timing of studies and action is critical.