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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

PSC overhaul appears dead for session, House calls for study



In an olive branch to the Senate, and possibly Gov. Charlie Crist, the House passed an amendment to its Public Service Commission reform bill, HB 7209, that removes attempts to separate the commission from its staff and instead just calls for a study.

The amendment by Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, the House sponsor, makes several concessions. It not only withdraws the attempts at reform, it removes its ban on commissioners who don't have a college degree -- a requirement seen as a shot at Crist appointtee Nancy Argenziano. Instead the bill allows for an exception for someone who demonstrates qualifications for the job, but imposes a two-thirds vote of nominating council and a written explanation.

The House leaves in place a ban on staff being used as a conduit for the utilities. It tightens the rules on communications between the utilities and the PSC, banning the ex parte or private conversations between them.oiu

Sen. Mike Fasano was encouraged by the movement but said he hopes the House takes up the Senate bill, a priority of Senate President Jeff Atwater, which focuses the reform on the communications between staff and utilities.

Atwater said Thursday he hopes the House continues to move closer.   

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:30am]


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