Florida Senate - 2017                      CS for CS for SB 1146
       By the Committees on Appropriations; and Communications, Energy,
       and Public Utilities; and Senators Broxson and Mayfield
       576-03767-17                                          20171146c2
    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 water
    6         and wastewater utilities; authorizing the Public
    7         Counsel to represent customers living outside the
    8         jurisdictional boundaries of a local government water
    9         and wastewater utility in ratesetting proceedings;
   10         providing an appropriation and authorizing positions;
   11         providing an effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Section 350.0611, Florida Statutes, is amended
   16  to read:
   17         350.0611 Public Counsel; duties and powers.—It shall be the
   18  duty of the Public Counsel to provide legal representation for
   19  the people of the state in proceedings before the commission,
   20  and in proceedings before counties pursuant to s. 367.171(8),
   21  and in proceedings of municipal and other local government water
   22  and wastewater utilities. The Public Counsel shall have such
   23  powers as are necessary to carry out the duties of his or her
   24  office, including, but not limited to, the following specific
   25  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; and
   38         (b) To represent ratepayers living outside the
   39  jurisdictional boundary of a local government that provides a
   40  water and wastewater utility service to those ratepayers in a
   41  proceeding in which rates for the local government water and
   42  wastewater utility services are determined;
   43         (2) To have access to and use of all files, records, and
   44  data of the commission or the counties available to any other
   45  attorney representing parties in a proceeding before the
   46  commission or the counties;
   47         (3) In any proceeding in which he or she has participated
   48  as a party, to seek review of any determination, finding, or
   49  order of the commission or the counties, or of any hearing
   50  examiner designated by the commission or the counties, in the
   51  name of the state or its citizens;
   52         (4) To prepare and issue reports, recommendations, and
   53  proposed orders to the commission, the Governor, and the
   54  Legislature on any matter or subject within the jurisdiction of
   55  the commission, and to make such recommendations as he or she
   56  deems appropriate for legislation relative to commission
   57  procedures, rules, jurisdiction, personnel, and functions; and
   58         (5) To appear before other state agencies, federal
   59  agencies, and state and federal courts in connection with
   60  matters under the jurisdiction of the commission, in the name of
   61  the state or its citizens.
   62         Section 2. Effective July 1, 2017, the sum of $1,229,130 in
   63  recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund is appropriated to
   64  the Office of Public Counsel, and nine full-time equivalent
   65  positions are authorized, for the purpose of implementing this
   66  act.
   67         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.