SB 7052                                          First Engrossed
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the Office of Public Counsel;
    3         amending s. 350.061, F.S.; providing term limits for
    4         the Public Counsel; providing an exception for time
    5         served before a specified date; providing for the
    6         appointment and removal of the Public Counsel;
    7         requiring the Committee on Public Counsel Oversight to
    8         receive applications, conduct interviews, and appoint
    9         a Public Counsel by a specified date every 4 years;
   10         providing for the filling of vacancies; providing an
   11         effective date.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   15         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 350.061, Florida
   16  Statutes, is amended to read:
   17         350.061 Public Counsel; appointment; oath; restrictions on
   18  Public Counsel and his or her employees.—
   19         (1) The committee designated by joint rule of the
   20  Legislature or by agreement between the President of the Senate
   21  and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as the Committee
   22  on Public Counsel Oversight shall appoint a Public Counsel to
   23  represent the general public of Florida before the Florida
   24  Public Service Commission. The Public Counsel shall be an
   25  attorney admitted to practice before the Florida Supreme Court,
   26  and shall be appointed for a term of 4 years, and may be
   27  reappointed thereafter, provided that a person appointed as the
   28  Public Counsel may not serve more than 12 consecutive years in
   29  the position. However, the time served by the Public Counsel
   30  before July 1, 2020, may not be considered in applying the
   31  limitation on consecutive years of service. The Public Counsel
   32  shall be appointed by a majority vote of the committee
   33  appointees of each house and may be removed from office by a
   34  majority vote of the committee appointees of each house. A
   35  person may continue as Public Counsel beyond the 4-year term
   36  until his or her successor is appointed and takes office, unless
   37  the person is removed by a vote of the committee. The Committee
   38  on Public Counsel Oversight shall receive applications, conduct
   39  interviews, and appoint a Public Counsel to a 4-year term
   40  beginning on March 1, 2021, and every 4 years thereafter serve
   41  at the pleasure of the Committee on Public Counsel Oversight,
   42  subject to biennial reconfirmation by the committee. The Public
   43  Counsel shall perform his or her duties independently. Vacancies
   44  in the office shall be filled for the remainder of the unexpired
   45  term in the same manner as the original appointment.
   46         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.