PSC restructuring appears dead in House

A House proposal to restructure the Florida Public Service Commission appears dead this legislative session.

HB 7209 by the House Energy & Utilities Policy Committee was amended Thursday to remove language that would have moved the PSC regulatory staff to the governor and Cabinet. The move was proposed amid what a House bill analysis says is public mistrust for PSC and uncertainty in Florida’s regulatory climate.

But the House bill had differed substantially from the Senate version of the PSC reform bill, SB 1034. That bill would extend a ban on lobbying for commissioners and their top aides and define prohibited “ex parte” communications in docketed cases.

The House bill was amended Thursday to call for a study of agency restructuring rather than moving the regulatory staff. The House bill still requires a bachelor’s degree for commissioners, which PSC Chairman Nancy Argenziano says is aimed at removing her because she’s outspoken. Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey and sponsor of SB 1034, said Thursday he would not have agreed to moving the regulatory staff from the agency.

SB 1034 is on the House special order calendar for Friday. An amendment by Rep. Stephen Precourt, R-Orlando and chairman of the House Energy & Utilities Policy Committee, would replace the Senate language with the House version of the bill. “I am encouraged by what they are saying over there,” Fasano said.