Atwater: Senate won't let time run out on PSC confirmations
Senate President Jeff Atwater dismissed rumors that the Senate may not get around to a vote confirming the appointments of Public Service Commissioners David Klement and Benjamin "Steve" Stevens, both appointees of Gov. Charlie Crist.
"I think we have an obligation to get to the appointments,'' Atwater told reporters after attending the First Amendment Foundation luncheon Monday. "Whether or not they're debated any way ... we've really got to hustle and see if we could get through all of those visits with candidates.''
He clarified that some the PSC appointments are among those dealing with "significant state public policy'' and cannot be ignored by the Senate. But getting the Senate president to clarify decisively is not easy. Here's how he elaborated: "I would hope we'd have a chance to visit on all appointments of the governor's office,'' he said. "It's our responsibility."
Utility lobbyists have spread the word that they don't want either Klement or Stevens confirmed, and the easiest way for the Senate to do that politically is to never get through the confirmation process this session, thereby requiring that the nominating council submit a new round of names to the governor.
Meanwhile, remember that attempt to force Public Counsel J.R. Kelly, the lawyer who represents the public in utility cases, to reapply for his job? It may be a big never mind, said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. He expects that committee to just not meet again this session, therefore it can't take new applications.