Commissioner urges House speaker to act on Senate PSC reform bill

Public Service Commissioner Nathan Skop on Monday called on House Speaker Larry Cretul to bring “meaningful reform” to the PSC by pushing for House approval of SB 1034.

The Senate adopted the bill during the first week of session last month. The bill defines prohibited “ex parte” communications with commissioners in docketed cases and bans commissioners and their aides from lobbying the Legislature or the commission for four years.

The House Energy & Utilities Policy Committee on March 25 passed HB 7209, (formerly EUP4), which also includes ex parte communication language but doesn’t extend the lobbying ban. The House bill requires a bachelor’s degree for commissioners and removes regulatory staff from their oversight.

In an interview Monday, Skop agreed with PSC Chairman Nancy Argenziano that the House bill appears to target her for removal with the degree requirement. Skop also said that removing the regulatory staff would effectively “neuter” the agency. And he said the Senate bill addresses the concerns raised in a 1992 grand jury report while the House bill does not.

“Speaker Cretul’s leadership will be judged by how the House acts on this important piece of legislation (SB 1034),” Skop said. “I hope the speaker will honor the people of Florida by approving the Senate version of the bill.”

A spokeswoman for Cretul, R-Ocala, said Skop had the prerogative to speak out on the matter but the House speaker had no response.