Board of Health Revamp

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A Gulf Coast lawmaker plans to introduce legislation that would restructure the state Board of Health and penalize board members or Health Department employees who benefit from anyone doing business with or regulated by the board.

The proposed bill by state Senator Deborah Dawkins, would require the 13 member board to have representatives from a variety of health care fields and more lay people.

Critics have said the board is stacked with too many people with financials interests in the health care industry.

The board members are appointed by the governor and serve staggered terms. Current members would serve out their current terms under Dawkins' proposal.

The proposal calls for anyone convicted of bribery fined $10,000 or sentenced to one year in jail.

Dawkins said the penalties portion of the proposed legislation was inserted to make it clear that people who serve on the Board of Health should not receive any financial benefit from the agency.