Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rep. Mark Pafford Files Legislation Regardng Public Service Commission

State Representative Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach) filed legislation for the 2010 legislative session to bring testimony before the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) into the sunshine. House Bill 533 will require individuals who provide public comment at PSC hearings to disclose any financial relationship with a utility company, including any charitable contributions, gifts or any positions of governance that are held by an employee of a public utility within the organization represented.

Representative Pafford, a member of the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, thought of the idea for the bill while attending a public hearing regarding utility issues. He was concerned at the lack of transparency of those testifying before the PSC and wanted to prevent a reoccurrence.

“I heard employees of utility companies discuss the names of those who would be testifying and what that person would be addressing before they even made it to the microphone,” said Representative Pafford. “This is not in the best interest of our consumers or good government, and legislation is needed to address this situation.”

A SunSentinel analysis in September 2009 found that more than a third of the customers, business leaders and politicians who praised Florida Power & Light at three forums held in South Florida had financial or family ties to the company and its employees.

State Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) has agreed to sponsor the bill in the Florida Senate.

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