senate Bill S1984

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Establishes a public service commission nominating board to make recommendations of persons qualified for appointment as commissioners of the public service commission

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to energy and telecommunications
Jan 14, 2011 referred to energy and telecommunications

S1984 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A1643
Current Committee:
Senate Energy And Telecommunications
Law Section:
Public Service Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §4, add §4-a, Pub Serv L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
A1671

S1984 - Bill Texts

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Establishes a public service commission nominating board to make recommendations of persons qualified for appointment as commissioners of the public service commission.

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BILL NUMBER:S1984

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the public service law, in relation to the appointment of
members of the public service commission

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
In its January 2007 report, the
Assembly Queens Power Outage Task Force recommended several measures
to improve oversight of utilities and prevent future blackouts. This
bill borrows from the experience of several other states to set
clearly defined statutory qualifications for prospective members of
the Public Service Commission (PSC), and sets forth a deliberative
process for ensuring that any new appointees are widely acknowledged
as highly qualified.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Bill §1 amends §4 of the Public Service Law by
adding a new subdivision 4, providing that, to ensure the highest
standard of public utility regulation, any person appointed as a
member of the Public Service Commission (PSC) shall be qualified for
such appointment as provided in §4-a of such law. Bill §2 adds §4-a,
which in summary provides:

* any person appointed as a PSC commissioner shall (a) have education
and training and 3 or more years of experience in one or more of the
following fields: economics, engineering, law, accounting, business
management, utility regulation, public policy, consumer advocacy or
environmental management; and (b) shall be selected from a list of
individuals nominated by a new Public Service Commission Nominating
Board (PSCNB);

* the PSCNB consists of the following individuals: (1) the Executive
Director of the Consumer Protection Board (or designee);

(2) the President of NYSERDA (or designee);

(3) the Commissioner of Economic Development (or designee);

(4) the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation (or designee);

(5) the Attorney General (or designee);

(6) a professional engineer appointed by the Commissioner of Education;

(7) a certified public accountant appointed by the Commissioner of
Education;

(8) a person 65 years of age of older appointed by the Director of the
state Office for the Aging;

(9) a representative of business entities regulated by the PSC,
appointed by the Governor;


(10) a representative of business entities that are not regulated by
the PSC, appointed by the governor;

(11) a representative of labor appointed by the governor;

(12) two members of the public appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly;

(13) two members of the public appointed by the Temporary President of
the Senate;

(14) a member of the public appointed by the Assembly Minority; and

(15) a member of the public appointed by the Senate Minority Leader.

* The PSCNB shall select a chairperson, adopt bylaws, and keep a
record of its proceedings. Special meetings may be called by the
chairperson, and shall be called by the chairperson upon receipt of a
written request for a meeting signed by two or more members of the
board.

* The PSCNB shall review and evaluate possible appointees for the
office of commissioner of the PSC, and, within 2-3 months prior to
the expiration of a PSC commissioner's term or within one month after
the death, resignation or termination of service of such a member,
shall provide the Governor with a list of 4 individuals who the PSCNB
adjudges to be the most fully qualified to serve on the commission.
The board shall not include the name of an individual upon the list
if his or her appointment would result in a greater number of members
of the PSC belonging to the same political party than is permitted
pursuant to section four of this chapter.

* Within 30 days of receipt of the PSCNB's recommendations, the
Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment of one of the persons
recommended by the board, or may reject all nominees of the board and
reconvene the PSCNB in order to select 4 additional nominees.
However, once the Governor has done so and the PSCNB has provided a
second list of 4 names, the Governor shall make the appointment from
one of the names on the first list or the second list.

EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER:
There are
currently no statutory standards for appointment to the PSC, other
than provisions for political party balance, and no process for
selection of the most qualified individuals.

JUSTIFICATION:
Last summer, the western part of Queens suffered a
massive power outage that lasted 9 days. The Assembly Queens Power
Outage Task Force studied the outage's causes and the inadequate
responses by the company responsible for the transmission and
distribution system, Consolidated Edison, and by the Public Service
Commission.
One underlying cause of this debacle was found to be the reliance by
New York's utility regulators on antiquated laws, regulations and
policies
that let companies engaged in energy transmission and
distribution operate without effective oversight.


The Task Force found that, unlike many other states, New York does not
have any substantive statutory standards for who may serve on the PSC.
This bill sets forth such standards, as well as a process similar to
those utilized in Ohio and Florida to seek out the most qualified
individuals to assist the state in this vital area of regulation.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
The 120th day after enactment.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1984

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 14, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. GIANARIS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on  Energy  and  Telecommuni-
  cations

AN  ACT  to amend the public service law, in relation to the appointment
  of members of the public service commission

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Section 4 of the public service law is amended by adding a
new subdivision 4 to read as follows:
  4. TO ENSURE THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF PUBLIC  UTILITY  REGULATION,  ANY
PERSON  APPOINTED  AS  A COMMISSIONER PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS
SECTION SHALL BE QUALIFIED FOR SUCH APPOINTMENT AS PROVIDED  IN  SECTION
FOUR-A OF THIS ARTICLE.
  S  2. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 4-a to
read as follows:
  S 4-A. PUBLIC SERVICE  COMMISSION  NOMINATING  BOARD.  1.  ANY  PERSON
APPOINTED  AS  A COMMISSIONER PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION FOUR
OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL (A) HAVE EDUCATION AND TRAINING, AND THREE OR MORE
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING  FIELDS:  ECONOMICS,
ENGINEERING,  LAW,  ACCOUNTING, BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, UTILITY REGULATION,
PUBLIC POLICY, CONSUMER ADVOCACY OR ENVIRONMENTAL  MANAGEMENT;  AND  (B)
SHALL  BE  SELECTED  FROM A LIST OF INDIVIDUALS NOMINATED AS PROVIDED IN
SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION.
  2. (A) THERE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED IN THE DEPARTMENT A  PUBLIC  SERVICE
COMMISSION NOMINATING BOARD CONSISTING OF THE FOLLOWING:
  (1)  THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE STATE CONSUMER PROTECTION BOARD, OR
HIS OR HER DESIGNEE;
  (2) THE PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK STATE ENERGY RESEARCH  AND  DEVELOP-
MENT AUTHORITY, OR HIS OR HER DESIGNEE;
  (3) THE COMMISSIONER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, OR HIS OR HER DESIGNEE;

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD04803-01-1

S. 1984                             2

  (4)  THE  COMMISSIONER  OF  ENVIRONMENTAL  CONSERVATION, OR HIS OR HER
DESIGNEE;
  (5) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, OR HIS OR HER DESIGNEE;
  (6)  A  PROFESSIONAL  ENGINEER APPOINTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCA-
TION, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF SUCH COMMISSIONER;
  (7) A CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT APPOINTED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONER  OF
EDUCATION, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF SUCH COMMISSIONER;
  (8)  A PERSON SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER APPOINTED BY THE DIREC-
TOR OF THE STATE OFFICE FOR THE AGING, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF  SUCH
DIRECTOR;
  (9) A REPRESENTATIVE OF BUSINESS ENTITIES REGULATED BY THE COMMISSION,
APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR;
  (10)  A  REPRESENTATIVE OF BUSINESS ENTITIES THAT ARE NOT REGULATED BY
THE COMMISSION, APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR, TO SERVE AT THE  PLEASURE  OF
THE GOVERNOR;
  (11)  A REPRESENTATIVE OF LABOR APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR, TO SERVE AT
THE PLEASURE OF THE GOVERNOR;
  (12) TWO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC APPOINTED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE  ASSEM-
BLY, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE SPEAKER;
  (13) TWO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC APPOINTED BY THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF
THE SENATE, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT;
  (14)  A  MEMBER  OF THE PUBLIC APPOINTED BY THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE
ASSEMBLY, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE MINORITY LEADER; AND
  (15) A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC APPOINTED BY THE MINORITY  LEADER  OF  THE
SENATE, TO SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE MINORITY LEADER.
  (B)  AT  ITS  INITIAL  MEETING IN EACH CALENDAR YEAR, SUCH BOARD SHALL
SELECT FROM AMONG ITS MEMBERS A CHAIRPERSON. THE BOARD MAY ADOPT  BYLAWS
GOVERNING ITS PROCEEDINGS.
  (C) THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION NOMINATING BOARD SHALL KEEP A RECORD
OF  ITS  PROCEEDINGS. SPECIAL MEETINGS MAY BE CALLED BY THE CHAIRPERSON,
AND SHALL BE CALLED BY THE CHAIRPERSON UPON RECEIPT OF A WRITTEN REQUEST
FOR A MEETING SIGNED BY TWO OR MORE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD. WRITTEN NOTICE
OF THE TIME AND PLACE OF EACH MEETING SHALL BE SENT TO  EACH  MEMBER  OF
THE BOARD.
  (D) THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION NOMINATING BOARD SHALL:
  (1)  REVIEW AND EVALUATE POSSIBLE APPOINTEES FOR THE OFFICE OF COMMIS-
SIONER OF THE COMMISSION;
  (2) NOT MORE THAN EIGHTY-FIVE NOR LESS THAN SIXTY DAYS  PRIOR  TO  THE
EXPIRATION  OF  THE TERM OF A COMMISSIONER, OR NOT MORE THAN THIRTY DAYS
AFTER THE DEATH OR RESIGNATION  OF  OR  TERMINATION  OF  SERVICE  BY,  A
COMMISSIONER, PROVIDE THE GOVERNOR WITH A LIST OF FOUR INDIVIDUALS MEET-
ING  THE  QUALIFICATIONS OF THIS SECTION WHO ARE, IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE
BOARD, THE MOST FULLY QUALIFIED TO SERVE ON THE  COMMISSION.  THE  BOARD
SHALL  NOT  INCLUDE  THE NAME OF AN INDIVIDUAL UPON ANY SUCH LIST IF THE
APPOINTMENT OF THAT INDIVIDUAL BY THE GOVERNOR WOULD RESULT IN A GREATER
NUMBER OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION  BELONGING  TO  THE  SAME  POLITICAL
PARTY THAN IS PERMITTED PURSUANT TO SECTION FOUR OF THIS ARTICLE.
  (3)  IN REVIEWING AND EVALUATING POSSIBLE APPOINTEES FOR THE OFFICE OF
COMMISSIONER OF THE COMMISSION, THE  BOARD  MAY  ACCEPT  COMMENTS  FROM,
COOPERATE WITH AND REQUEST INFORMATION FROM ANY PERSON.
  (E)  WITHIN THIRTY DAYS OF RECEIPT OF THE BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS, THE
GOVERNOR SHALL APPOINT ONE OF THE PERSONS RECOMMENDED BY  THE  BOARD  TO
FILL  A VACANCY OCCURRING IN THE OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER. NOTHING IN THIS
SECTION SHALL PREVENT THE GOVERNOR IN  THE  GOVERNOR'S  DISCRETION  FROM
REJECTING  ALL OF THE NOMINEES OF THE BOARD AND RECONVENING THE BOARD IN
ORDER TO SELECT FOUR ADDITIONAL NOMINEES. HOWEVER, WHEN THE GOVERNOR HAS

S. 1984                             3

RECONVENED THE BOARD AND THE BOARD HAS  PROVIDED  THE  GOVERNOR  WITH  A
SECOND  LIST OF FOUR NAMES, THE GOVERNOR SHALL MAKE THE APPOINTMENT FROM
ONE OF THE NAMES ON THE FIRST LIST OR THE SECOND LIST.
  (F)  THE  MEMBERS OF THE BOARD SHALL RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION FOR THEIR
SERVICES ON THE BOARD BUT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO  REIMBURSEMENT  OF  THEIR
ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES.
  S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law.

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