On April 9, 2010, the House Full Appropriations Council passed HB 7209, Rep. Steve Precourt's (R-Orlando) proposal to restructure the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). Under the proposal, most of the PSC staff would be moved to a new Office of Regulatory Staff under the governor and cabinet, and the Office of Public Counsel, which is currently attached to the Legislature, would be moved to the attorney general's office. The stated intent is to split the decision-making and advocacy functions of the PSC so the commission becomes an independent and impartial decision maker, assisted by professional and technical advisory staff, while the Office of Regulatory Staff's role would be to employ the services of professional and technical staff to advocate for the public interest in proceedings before the PSC and proceedings related to matters within the PSC's jurisdiction.
The bill also includes revised ethical standards and limits on ex parte communications with the PSC and its advisory staff.
On the second day of the legislative session, the Senate approved its PSC reform bill, SB 1034 by Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey). The House bill and the Senate bill contain similar ethical standards and limits on ex parte communications, but the Senate bill does not restructure the PSC. Sen. Fasano has stated his opposition to the House proposal, saying that the restructuring “was probably written by the utility companies.”