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Fran Florez shouldn't expect GOP Sen. Tony Strickland to send her flowers congratulating her on her new job.

A Senate committee today killed his bill to eliminate the very commission she'll be joining.

The Senate Rules Committee has appointed the two-time Democratic Assembly candidate and mother of former Democratic Sen. Dean Florez to the California Medical Assistance Commission.

Senate Bill 256 would have dissolved the commission and transferred its job of coordinating Medi-Cal contracts with hospitals to the Department of Health Care Services.

Strickland slammed the 3-6 rejection by the Senate Health Committee, saying in a statement that legislators "cannot afford to ignore areas where we can trim the fat" during the current fiscal crisis.

"With the responsibilities of this commission dwindling over the years, it is high time we consolidate efforts and reduce government expenses," the Moorpark Republican's statement said.

Florez will receive an annual salary of $56,095, plus travel expenses, for her 20-month term on the seven-member board, which meets roughly 24 times a year.

A fiscal impact report for the bill had not been released, but a committee analysis says that the commission's work negotiating Medi-Cal contracts with hospitals saves the general fund $479 million a year. The analysis also raised concerns about the logistics and timing of shifting the commission's responsibilities to the department.

Another Strickland bill targeting paid commission posts also failed to make it out of a policy committee this week. Senate Bill 153 would have removed the $100,000-plus annual salaries granted to members of a handful of state boards.



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