The medical unit operates solely on doctors' fees. Every year, it processes nearly 2,600 license applications from new doctors and 2,300 temporary-license applications from medical residents. The department also renews almost 46,000 licenses for doctors every three years.
Doctors currently pay $300 for the three-year permit. The fee hasn't increased since 1987.
A House committee recently approved a proposal to raise the fee to $250 a year. This proposal also authorizes the department to borrow more than $6 million.
The House and Senate measures have the support of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulations. Manuel Flores, acting director of the department, testified during the House committee hearing two weeks ago and again Wednesday before the Senate committee.
Both proposals now await floor discussion.