Sunset Review Recommends Repeal of State Board of Environmental Sanitarians

The Department of Legislative Services(DLS) recently completed an evaluation of the State Board of Environmental Sanitarians as a part of the “sunset review” process.  This process is known by this term because agencies or boards subject to this process have a specified termination date in statute unless legislative action is taken to reauthorize them.

One of the major recommendations of this report is to repeal the State Board of Environmental Sanitarians and instead require individuals to obtain a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential from the National Environmental Health Association, a private association.  The report indicates that a survey of local health officers informed the analysis, conclusions, and recommendations of this report; but health officers were not specifically asked whether this credential would be an appropriate substitute.  Further, the recommendation was included over major objections raised by the Maryland Board of Sanitarians, which offered an alternate solution – transfer the Board to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).

In its correspondence to DLS  regarding the draft sunset evaluation report, Chairman of the Maryland Board of Environmental Sanitarians Robert Sheesley, expressed that “the Board strongly believes that the duties of the Board would be more effectively carried out by being in the department that employs the great majority of environmental sanitarians.” Though not recommended by DLS, the report does provide this approach as an option should the General Assembly choose to maintain a State Board.

A hearing on this report will be held during the afternoon of November 30, 2011 in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.

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