Both the House and Senate have now responded to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) ethical issues that arose in late 2009. On the second day of the legislative session, the Senate adopted SB 1034, which would impose strict ethical standards on members and staff of the PSC. Two weeks later, on March 17, 2010, the House Energy and Utilities Committee adopted a proposed committee bill, PCB EUP 10-04, that not only addresses standards of conduct, but also restructures the regulatory agency.
Currently, the PSC is both a policy-making body and an adjudicator of conflicts. Under the House plan, the bulk of the PSC staff would be shifted to a new Office of Regulatory Staff under the legislative branch, and the role of the PSC commissioners would be limited to their quasi-judicial function. The plan is patterned on a plan adopted by South Carolina in 2004.
The proposal also would lengthen the terms of commissioners, require their appointments to be confirmed by both houses of the Legislature, include a narrower limit on ex parte communications than the restrictions in the Senate bill, and ban former commissioners from lobbying during the first two years after leaving the PSC, as distinguished from the Senate bill's four-year ban.