Florida Senate - 2017                                    SB 1146
       By Senator Broxson
       1-00915-17                                            20171146__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to representation by the Public
    3         Counsel; amending s. 350.0611, F.S.; authorizing the
    4         Public Counsel to provide representation in
    5         proceedings of municipal and other government
    6         utilities; authorizing the Public Counsel to represent
    7         residential ratepayers in rate proceedings before the
    8         Public Service Commission determining rate structure;
    9         authorizing the Public Counsel to represent customers
   10         living outside the jurisdictional boundaries of a
   11         local government utility in ratesetting proceedings;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Section 350.0611, Florida Statutes, is amended
   17  to read:
   18         350.0611 Public Counsel; duties and powers.—It shall be the
   19  duty of the Public Counsel to provide legal representation for
   20  the people of the state in proceedings before the commission,
   21  and in proceedings before counties pursuant to s. 367.171(8),
   22  and in proceedings of municipal and other local government
   23  utilities. The Public Counsel shall have such powers as are
   24  necessary to carry out the duties of his or her office,
   25  including, but not limited to, the following specific powers:
   26         (1)(a) To recommend to the commission or the counties, by
   27  petition, the commencement of any proceeding or action or to
   28  appear, in the name of the state or its citizens, in any
   29  proceeding or action before the commission or the counties and
   30  urge therein any position which he or she deems to be in the
   31  public interest, whether consistent or inconsistent with
   32  positions previously adopted by the commission or the counties,
   33  and utilize therein all forms of discovery available to
   34  attorneys in civil actions generally, subject to protective
   35  orders of the commission or the counties which shall be
   36  reviewable by summary procedure in the circuit courts of this
   37  state;
   38         (b) To represent residential ratepayers in a rate
   39  proceeding in which the commission determines the rate
   40  structure; and
   41         (c) To represent ratepayers living outside the
   42  jurisdictional boundary of a local government that provides a
   43  utility service to those ratepayers in a proceeding in which
   44  rates for the local government utility services are determined;
   45         (2) To have access to and use of all files, records, and
   46  data of the commission or the counties available to any other
   47  attorney representing parties in a proceeding before the
   48  commission or the counties;
   49         (3) In any proceeding in which he or she has participated
   50  as a party, to seek review of any determination, finding, or
   51  order of the commission or the counties, or of any hearing
   52  examiner designated by the commission or the counties, in the
   53  name of the state or its citizens;
   54         (4) To prepare and issue reports, recommendations, and
   55  proposed orders to the commission, the Governor, and the
   56  Legislature on any matter or subject within the jurisdiction of
   57  the commission, and to make such recommendations as he or she
   58  deems appropriate for legislation relative to commission
   59  procedures, rules, jurisdiction, personnel, and functions; and
   60         (5) To appear before other state agencies, federal
   61  agencies, and state and federal courts in connection with
   62  matters under the jurisdiction of the commission, in the name of
   63  the state or its citizens.
   64         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.