H.4415 – Public Service Commission elected by the people

This bill increases the size of the Public Service Commission (PSC) from seven to ten, seven of which are elected by the voters in each congressional district, and three of which would be at-large appointments by the governor, House speaker, and Senate president pro tem.

While publicly-elected commissioners would certainly give citizens more control, it does nothing to restore the imbalance of power by placing this function in the proper branch of government. Any office filled by general election is necessarily quite political, and the question of whether that dynamic would be a healthy one to introduce to the PSC should be carefully considered.

Finally, allowing two appointments by legislative leaders simply dilutes the attempted reform. The problem is too much legislative control over non-legislative jurisdiction, particularly when their appointments would serve at-will.

 

Legislation breakdown:

  • Increases number of commissioners from 7 to 10
  • 7 commissioners must be publicly elected by congressional district
  • Eliminates term staggering
  • 3 commissioners must be at-large appointments by the governor, House Speaker, and Senate President pro Tem to serve at-will
  • PSC members must be at least 25 and have been a registered voter in the correct district for a year before the election
  • Strikes qualifications, PURC screening
  • Does NOT strike PSC screening from PURC’s duties
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