Thursday, April 19, 2018
Business

Sen. Legg wants term limits for Florida Public Service Commission members

A Tampa Bay area lawmaker wants to reform the state Public Service Commission by limiting members to two consecutive terms and requiring them to live in one of five districts the Legislature would create.

Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, said he hopes to foster more accountability for the regulatory body that oversees utility matters.

At issue is a widely held perception that the commission has become too cozy with the utilities they regulate. Some lawmakers have criticized the PSC for failing to aggressively scrutinize spending on nuclear projects.

"By establishing five representative districts and limiting commissioners to no more than two consecutive terms, Senate Bill 964 holds the Public Service Commission to the same accountability standards as Florida's governor, Cabinet and Legislature," Legg said.

Cindy Muir, a PSC spokeswoman, said the commission does not comment on pending legislation.

Currently, commissioners can serve an unlimited number of four-year terms, if reappointed.

This has allowed Commissioner Lisa Edgar to serve three consecutive terms. She sparked heated debate last spring during her reconfirmation. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, led the opposition. As chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, he had previously voted to confirm her but decided to raise concerns about her voting record.

Latvala referenced 2009 reports about text messages she and other PSC staff and members gave to power company executives, potentially allowing the utility to communicate directly with them outside of public view and without a paper trail. And he noted her personal bankruptcy, which he said did not color his opinion of her confirmation.

He also said she could have more aggressively held utilities accountable before charging customers for the preconstruction costs for nuclear power plants.

Latvala and Legg represent areas served by Duke Energy, which last year permanently closed the Crystal River nuclear plant after a botched upgrade project and canceled the proposed Levy County nuclear plant because it was no longer feasible. Duke customers are paying billions of dollars for the projects that won't deliver any electricity.

Some senators defended Edgar as a knowledgeable state regulator appointed by three governors, and she won reappointment.

Legg's bill, filed Tuesday, would set the term limits for commissioners appointed after July 1 from serving more than two consecutive terms. The five districts would align with the five state District Courts of Appeal, with each member of the commission residing in a different district.

Comments
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Federal regulators are poised to impose a $1 billion penalty on Wells Fargo for a number of alleged misdeeds, including forcing customers to buy auto insurance policies that they didn’t need, according to people briefed on the regulatory action. The ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Updated: 8 hours ago
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Updated: 11 hours ago