Friday, February 19, 2010

Ethics reforms for PSC long overdue - St. Petersburg Times

Ethics reforms for PSC long overdue - St. Petersburg Times:
A Times Editorial, February 19, 2010
"Senate Bill 1034 would finally embrace a 1992 statewide grand jury recommendation that the quasi-judicial agency work more like the courts.

The bill, as amended Tuesday in the Senate Rules Committee 17-1, would ban all ex parte communications between the utilities and the commissioners and their staff during rate setting and rulemaking. It also would require all communication between the parties be documented. Anyone caught violating the law — including utilities and their employees — would face punishment. For utilities the fine could be hefty: up to one-tenth of 1 percent of their annual operating revenue.

The bill also would increase from two years to four years the time that commissioners and their staff are banned from working for a utility or its subsidiary after they leave the PSC. That should at least slow the revolving door between the industry and the agency."

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