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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fasano warns that House's PSC plan is still 'unacceptable'



The standoff may not have ended between the House and Senate over how to tighten ethics rules at the Public Service Commission. After the House passed its version of the bill Monday, Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, declared the House had made enough concessions when it dropped its plan to overhaul the structure of the PSC and replaced it with a study commission.

"We went a long way with what we sent over there,'' he said as the bill was on its way to the Senate. "I have no intention of renegotiating."

Over in the Senate, which had signaled its interest in a PSC ethics bill by passing it on the first week of session, sponsor Mike Fasano was not so welcoming. The House bill needs work, he said, particularly the provisions that require a two-thirds vote of the nominating council to allow someone to be appointed without having the required educational background but with "the functional equivalent'' of that background.

Fasano calls that "a slap in the face to one of the best public service commissioners in the state of Florida -- Nancy Argenziano -- and I can't accept that,'' said Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

Precourt said he believes that Argenziano could pass the test. "If you're sitting there as a chairman at the PSC, that's the functional equivalent,'' he said. Asked if he wants to see Argenziano removed, Precourt answered: "I honestly don't care.''

Another problem with the House bill, Fasnao said: commissioners pay a fine if the ban on communications between PSC staff and utility officials is violated, not the utility officials. "That's outrageous,'' he said, "which tells me the utility companies had some input over there. I can't accept that."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:31am]


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