HB 7211

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to organization and standards of the
3Public Service Commission; amending s. 112.324, F.S.;
4revising provisions for disposition of ethics complaints
5against the Public Counsel and employees of the Public
6Counsel; amending s. 350.001, F.S.; revising legislative
7intent; repealing s. 350.012, F.S., relating to the
8creation, organization, and duties of the Committee on
9Public Counsel Oversight; amending s. 350.031, F.S.,
10relating to terms of members of the Florida Public Service
11Commission Nominating Council; removing obsolete language;
12creating s. 350.035, F.S.; prohibiting attempts by certain
13persons to sway the judgment of commissioners; providing
14for the Commission on Ethics to receive and investigate
15complaints of violations pursuant to specified provisions;
16prohibiting commissioners from requiring or demanding that
17certain commission staff pursue particular positions or
18courses of action; requiring the inspector general of the
19commission to receive and investigate complaints of
20violations; amending s. 350.04, F.S.; requiring
21commissioners to complete a course of study developed by
22the executive director and general counsel; requiring
23commissioners to complete continuing professional
24education; providing training requirements for
25commissioners and commission employees; requiring
26certifications of compliance to be provided to the
27Legislature; amending s. 350.041, F.S.; revising
28legislative intent; revising standards of conduct for
29commissioners; revising provisions for investigation and
30reports of alleged violations; authorizing commission
31employees to request opinions from the Commission on
32Ethics; amending s. 350.042, F.S.; revising provisions for
33communications concerning agency proceedings; providing
34for application of such provisions to members of a
35commissioner's direct staff; revising restrictions on such
36communications by commissioners and members of their
37direct staff; defining the term "ex parte communication";
38providing a civil penalty; amending s. 350.06, F.S.;
39revising provisions for the offices of the commission,
40payment of moneys, and employment of personnel; amending
41s. 350.061, F.S.; providing for appointment of the Public
42Counsel by, and service of the Public Counsel at the
43pleasure of, the Attorney General; amending ss. 350.0613
44and 350.0614, F.S.; providing powers and duties of the
45Attorney General regarding the Public Counsel and his or
46her employees to conform provisions to the transfer of the
47Office of Public Counsel; transferring the Office of
48Public Counsel from the legislative branch to the Office
49of the Attorney General; repealing s. 350.121, F.S.;
50relating to commission inquiries; creating s. 350.122,
51F.S.; requiring persons testifying before the Public
52Service Commission to disclose certain financial and
53fiduciary relationships; providing that a determination by
54the commission that a violation occurred constitutes
55agency action for which a hearing may be sought; providing
56an effective date.
58Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
60     Section 1.  Paragraphs (a) and (c) of subsection (8) of
61section 112.324, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
62     112.324  Procedures on complaints of violations; public
63records and meeting exemptions.-
64     (8)  If, in cases pertaining to complaints other than
65complaints against impeachable officers or members of the
66Legislature, upon completion of a full and final investigation
67by the commission, the commission finds that there has been a
68violation of this part or of s. 8, Art. II of the State
69Constitution, it shall be the duty of the commission to report
70its findings and recommend appropriate action to the proper
71disciplinary official or body as follows, and such official or
72body shall have the power to invoke the penalty provisions of
73this part, including the power to order the appropriate
74elections official to remove a candidate from the ballot for a
75violation of s. 112.3145 or s. 8(a) and (i), Art. II of the
76State Constitution:
77     (a)  The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the
78House of Representatives, jointly, in any case concerning the
79Public Counsel, members of the Public Service Commission,
80members of the Public Service Commission Nominating Council, the
81Auditor General, the director of the Office of Program Policy
82Analysis and Government Accountability, or members of the
83Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.
84     (c)  The President of the Senate, in any case concerning an
85employee of the Senate; the Speaker of the House of
86Representatives, in any case concerning an employee of the House
87of Representatives; or the President and the Speaker, jointly,
88in any case concerning an employee of a committee of the
89Legislature whose members are appointed solely by the President
90and the Speaker or in any case concerning an employee of the
91Public Counsel, Public Service Commission, Auditor General,
92Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability,
93or Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.
94     Section 2.  Section 350.001, Florida Statutes, is amended
95to read:
96     350.001  Legislative intent.-
97     (1)  The Florida Public Service Commission has been and
98shall continue to be an arm of the legislative branch of
99government. In the exercise of its jurisdiction, the commission
100may not establish or implement any regulatory policy that is
101contrary to, or is an expansion of, the authority granted to it
102by the Legislature.
103     (2)  The Public Service Commission shall perform its duties
104independently, impartially, professionally, honorably, and
105without undue influence from any person, pursuant to s. 350.041.
106     (3)  It is the desire of the Legislature that the Governor
107participate in the appointment process of commissioners to the
108Public Service Commission. The Legislature accordingly delegates
109to the Governor a limited authority with respect to the Public
110Service Commission by authorizing him or her to participate in
111the selection of members only in the manner prescribed by s.
113     Section 3.  Section 350.012, Florida Statutes, is repealed.
114     Section 4.  Paragraphs (b) and (d) of subsection (1) of
115section 350.031, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
116     350.031  Florida Public Service Commission Nominating
118     (1)
119     (b)  All terms shall be for 4 years except those members of
120the House and Senate, who shall serve 2-year terms concurrent
121with the 2-year elected terms of House members. All terms of the
122members of the Public Service Commission Nominating Council
123existing on June 30, 2008, shall terminate upon the effective
124date of this act; however, such members may serve an additional
125term if reappointed by the Speaker of the House of
126Representatives or the President of the Senate. To establish
127staggered terms, appointments of members shall be made for
128initial terms to begin on July 1, 2008, with each appointing
129officer to appoint three legislator members, one of whom shall
130be a member of the minority party, to terms through the
131remainder of the 2-year elected terms of House members; one
132nonlegislator member to a 6-month term; one nonlegislator member
133to an 18-month term; and one nonlegislator member to a 42-month
134term. Thereafter, the terms of the nonlegislator members of the
135Public Service Commission Nominating Council shall begin on
136January 2 of the year the term commences and end 4 years later
137on January 1.
138     (d)  Vacancies on the council shall be filled for the
139unexpired portion of the term in the same manner as original
140appointments to the council. A member may not be reappointed to
141the council, except for a member of the House of Representatives
142or the Senate who may be appointed to two 2-year terms, members
143who are reappointed pursuant to paragraph (b), or a person who
144is appointed to fill the remaining portion of an unexpired term.
145     Section 5.  Section 350.035, Florida Statutes, is created
146to read:
147     350.035  Prohibited influence on commissioners and
148commission staff.-
149     (1)(a)  Neither the Governor, the President of the Senate,
150the Speaker of the House of Representatives, nor a member of the
151Public Service Commission Nominating Council may attempt to sway
152the independent judgment of the commission by bringing pressure
153to bear upon a commissioner or commission employee through that
154person's role in the nomination, appointment, or confirmation of
156     (b)  The Commission on Ethics shall receive and investigate
157sworn complaints of violations of this subsection pursuant to
158ss. 112.322-112.3241.
159     (2)(a)  To ensure that each commissioner, as a member of a
160collegial body, is afforded the benefit of unbiased and
161independent analysis and advice from its professional and
162technical staff, an individual commissioner may not demand or
163require any member of the commission staff, other than the
164commissioner's direct staff, to develop, present, or pursue a
165particular opinion, position, or course of action in relation to
166any substantive matter pending before the commission or a panel
167of commissioners. This paragraph does not prohibit the
168commission, as a collegial body, from directing its staff to
169pursue a course of action consistent with direction provided by
170the collegial body. Further, this paragraph is not intended to
171prohibit an individual commissioner from any otherwise lawful
172communication with commission staff, including any expression of
173opinion, position, or concern regarding a matter within the
174jurisdiction of the commission. A violation of this subsection
175is an act of malfeasance for purposes of ss. 112.3187-112.31895.
176     (b)  The inspector general of the commission shall receive
177and investigate complaints of violations of this subsection.
178     Section 6.  Section 350.04, Florida Statutes, is amended to
180     350.04  Qualifications of commissioners; training and
181continuing education.-
182     (1)  A commissioner may not, at the time of appointment or
183during his or her term of office:
184     (a)(1)  Have any financial interest, other than ownership
185of shares in a mutual fund, in any business entity which, either
186directly or indirectly, owns or controls any public utility
187regulated by the commission, in any public utility regulated by
188the commission, or in any business entity which, either directly
189or indirectly, is an affiliate or subsidiary of any public
190utility regulated by the commission.
191     (b)(2)  Be employed by or engaged in any business activity
192with any business entity which, either directly or indirectly,
193owns or controls any public utility regulated by the commission,
194by any public utility regulated by the commission, or by any
195business entity which, either directly or indirectly, is an
196affiliate or subsidiary of any public utility regulated by the
198     (2)  Before voting on any matter before the commission,
199each person appointed to the commission after July 1, 2011, must
200complete a comprehensive course of study that is developed by
201the commission's executive director and general counsel in
202coordination with the National Association of Regulatory Utility
203Commissioners Subcommittee on Education and Research and that
204addresses the substantive matters within the jurisdiction of the
205commission, administrative law applicable to commission
206proceedings, and standards of conduct applicable to
207commissioners. Thereafter, each commissioner must annually
208complete no less than 10 hours of continuing professional
209education directly related to substantive matters within the
210jurisdiction of the commission.
211     (3)  At least once every 12 months, each commissioner and
212commission employee must receive training, in a form developed
213by the commission's executive director and general counsel,
214which addresses the ethical standards of conduct applicable to
215commissioners and the commission's staff.
216     (4)  The chair of the commission shall certify the
217commission's compliance with the requirements provided in this
218section, and each commissioner shall certify his or her
219individual compliance with the continuing professional education
220requirements provided in subsection (2). Each certification of
221compliance shall be provided to the President of the Senate and
222the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
223     Section 7.  Section 350.041, Florida Statutes, is amended
224to read:
225     350.041  Commissioners; standards of conduct.-
226     (1)  STATEMENT OF INTENT.-
227     (a)  Professional, impartial, and honorable commissioners
228are indispensable to the effective performance of the
229commission's duties. A commissioner shall maintain high
230standards of conduct and shall personally observe those
231standards so that the integrity and impartiality of the
232commission may be preserved. The standards of conduct provided
233in this section should be construed and applied to further that
235     (b)  In addition to the provisions of part III of chapter
236112, which are applicable to public service commissioners by
237virtue of their being public officers and full-time employees of
238the legislative branch of government, the conduct of public
239service commissioners shall be governed by the standards of
240conduct provided in this section. Nothing shall prohibit the
241standards of conduct from being more restrictive than part III
242of chapter 112. Further, this section shall not be construed to
243contravene the restrictions of part III of chapter 112. In the
244event of a conflict between this section and part III of chapter
245112, the more restrictive provision shall apply.
247     (a)  A commissioner may not accept anything from any
248business entity which, either directly or indirectly, owns or
249controls any public utility regulated by the commission, from
250any public utility regulated by the commission, or from any
251business entity which, either directly or indirectly, is an
252affiliate or subsidiary of any public utility regulated by the
253commission. A commissioner may attend conferences and associated
254meals and events that are generally available to all conference
255participants without payment of any fees in addition to the
256conference fee. Additionally, while attending a conference, a
257commissioner may attend meetings, meals, or events that are not
258sponsored, in whole or in part, by any representative of any
259public utility regulated by the commission and that are limited
260to commissioners only, committee members, or speakers if the
261commissioner is a member of a committee of the association of
262regulatory agencies that organized the conference or is a
263speaker at the conference. It is not a violation of this
264paragraph for a commissioner to attend a conference for which
265conference participants who are employed by a utility regulated
266by the commission have paid a higher conference registration fee
267than the commissioner, or to attend a meal or event that is
268generally available to all conference participants without
269payment of any fees in addition to the conference fee and that
270is sponsored, in whole or in part, by a utility regulated by the
271commission. If, during the course of an investigation by the
272Commission on Ethics into an alleged violation of this
273paragraph, allegations are made as to the identity of the person
274giving or providing the prohibited gift, that person must be
275given notice and an opportunity to participate in the
276investigation and relevant proceedings to present a defense. If
277the Commission on Ethics determines that the person gave or
278provided a prohibited gift, the person may not appear before the
279commission or otherwise represent anyone before the commission
280for a period of 2 years.
281     (b)  A commissioner may not accept any form of employment
282with or engage in any business activity with any business entity
283which, either directly or indirectly, owns or controls any
284public utility regulated by the commission, any public utility
285regulated by the commission, or any business entity which,
286either directly or indirectly, is an affiliate or subsidiary of
287any public utility regulated by the commission.
288     (c)  A commissioner may not have any financial interest,
289other than shares in a mutual fund, in any public utility
290regulated by the commission, in any business entity which,
291either directly or indirectly, owns or controls any public
292utility regulated by the commission, or in any business entity
293which, either directly or indirectly, is an affiliate or
294subsidiary of any public utility regulated by the commission. If
295a commissioner acquires any financial interest prohibited by
296this section during his or her term of office as a result of
297events or actions beyond the commissioner's control, he or she
298shall immediately sell such financial interest or place such
299financial interest in a blind trust at a financial institution.
300A commissioner may not attempt to influence, or exercise any
301control over, decisions regarding the blind trust.
302     (d)  A commissioner may not accept anything from a party in
303a proceeding currently pending before the commission. If, during
304the course of an investigation by the Commission on Ethics into
305an alleged violation of this paragraph, allegations are made as
306to the identity of the person giving or providing the prohibited
307gift, that person must be given notice and an opportunity to
308participate in the investigation and relevant proceedings to
309present a defense. If the Commission on Ethics determines that
310the person gave or provided a prohibited gift, the person may
311not appear before the commission or otherwise represent anyone
312before the commission for a period of 2 years.
313     (e)  A commissioner may not serve as the representative of
314any political party or on any executive committee or other
315governing body of a political party; serve as an executive
316officer or employee of any political party, committee,
317organization, or association; receive remuneration for
318activities on behalf of any candidate for public office; engage
319on behalf of any candidate for public office in the solicitation
320of votes or other activities on behalf of such candidacy; or
321become a candidate for election to any public office without
322first resigning from office.
323     (f)  A commissioner, during his or her term of office, may
324not make any public comment regarding the merits of any
325proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57 currently pending before
326the commission.
327     (g)  A commissioner may not conduct himself or herself in
328an unprofessional manner at any time during the performance of
329his or her official duties.
330     (h)  The commission chair shall require order and decorum
331in proceedings before the commission. In the absence of the
332chair, the commissioner presiding over a commission proceeding
333shall require order and decorum in the proceeding.
334     (i)  A commissioner shall be patient, dignified, and
335courteous to litigants, other commissioners, witnesses, lawyers,
336commission staff, and others with whom the commissioner deals in
337an official capacity.
338     (j)  A commissioner shall perform his or her official
339duties without bias or prejudice. A commissioner may not, in the
340performance of his or her official duties, by words or conduct
341manifest bias or prejudice.
342     (k)  A commissioner may not, with respect to parties or
343classes of parties, cases, controversies, or issues likely to
344come before the commission, make pledges, promises, or
345commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance
346of the commissioner's official duties.
347     (l)  A commissioner may not be swayed by partisan
348interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.
349     (m)(h)  A commissioner must avoid impropriety in all of his
350or her activities and must act at all times in a manner that
351promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of
352the commission.
353     (n)(i)  A commissioner may not directly or indirectly,
354through staff or other means, solicit anything of value from any
355public utility regulated by the commission, or from any business
356entity that, whether directly or indirectly, is an affiliate or
357subsidiary of any public utility regulated by the commission, or
358from any party appearing in a proceeding considered by the
359commission in the last 2 years.
361     (a)  The Commission on Ethics shall accept and investigate
362any alleged violations of this section pursuant to the
363procedures contained in ss. 112.322-112.3241.
364     (b)  The Commission on Ethics shall provide the Governor
365and the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council
366with a report of its findings and recommendations with respect
367to alleged violations by a public service commissioner. The
368Governor is authorized to enforce such the findings and
369recommendations of the Commission on Ethics, pursuant to part
370III of chapter 112.
371     (c)  A public service commissioner, a commission employee,
372or a member of the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating
373Council may request an advisory opinion from the Commission on
374Ethics, pursuant to s. 112.322(3)(a), regarding the standards of
375conduct or prohibitions set forth in this section and ss.
376350.031, 350.04, and 350.042.
377     Section 8.  Section 350.042, Florida Statutes, is amended
378to read:
379     350.042  Ex parte communications.-
380     (1)  Each A commissioner and member of a commissioner's
381direct staff shall should accord to every person who is a party
382to or registered with the commission as an interested person in
383a proposed agency action proceeding or a party to a proceeding
384under s. 120.565, s. 120.569, or s. 120.57 legally interested in
385a proceeding, or the person's lawyer, full right to be heard
386according to law, and, except as authorized by law, shall not
387neither initiate, solicit, or nor consider ex parte
388communications concerning a pending proposed agency action the
389merits, threat, or offer of reward in any proceeding or a
390proceeding under s. 120.565, s. 120.569, or s. 120.57 other than
391a proceeding under s. 120.54 or s. 120.565, workshops, or
392internal affairs meetings. No individual shall discuss ex parte
393with a commissioner or a member of a commissioner's direct staff
394the merits of any issue that he or she reasonably foresees knows
395will be filed with the commission within 90 days. The provisions
396of this subsection shall not apply to commission staff other
397than members of a commissioner's direct staff.
398     (a)  As used in this section, the term "ex parte
399communication" means any communication that:
400     1.  If it is a written or printed communication or a
401communication in electronic form, is not served on all parties
402to a proceeding; or
403     2.  If it is an oral communication, is made without
404adequate notice to the parties and without an opportunity for
405the parties to be present and heard.
406     (b)  When circumstances require, ex parte communications
407concerning scheduling, administrative purposes, or emergencies
408that do not deal with substantive matters or issues on the
409merits are authorized, if:
410     1.  The commissioner or member of a commissioner's direct
411staff reasonably believes that no party will gain a procedural
412or tactical advantage as a result of the ex parte communication;
414     2.  The commissioner or member of a commissioner's direct
415staff makes provision promptly to notify all parties of the
416substance of the ex parte communication and, if possible, allows
417all parties an opportunity to respond.
418     (2)  The provisions of this section shall not prohibit an
419individual residential ratepayer from communicating with a
420commissioner or member of a commissioner's direct staff,
421provided that the ratepayer is representing only himself or
422herself, without compensation.
423     (3)  This section shall not apply to oral communications or
424discussions in scheduled and noticed open public meetings of
425educational programs or of a conference or other meeting of an
426association of regulatory agencies.
427     (4)  If a commissioner or member of a commissioner's direct
428staff knowingly receives an ex parte communication prohibited by
429this section relative to a proceeding other than as set forth in
430subsection (1), to which he or she is assigned, he or she must
431place on the record of the proceeding copies of all written
432communications received, all written responses to the
433communications, and a memorandum stating the substance of all
434oral communications received and all oral responses made, and
435shall give written notice to all parties to the communication
436that such matters have been placed on the record. Any party to
437the proceeding who desires to respond to the an ex parte
438communication may do so. The response must be received by the
439commission within 10 days after receiving notice that the ex
440parte communication has been placed on the record. The
441commissioner may, if he or she deems it necessary to eliminate
442the effect of an ex parte communication received by him or her,
443withdraw from the proceeding, in which case the chair shall
444substitute another commissioner for the proceeding.
445     (5)  Any individual who makes an ex parte communication
446prohibited by this section shall submit to the commission a
447written statement describing the nature of such communication,
448to include the name of the person making the communication, the
449name of each the commissioner or direct staff member of a
450commissioner commissioners receiving the communication, copies
451of all written communications made, all written responses to
452such communications, and a memorandum stating the substance of
453all oral communications received and all oral responses made.
454The commission shall place on the record of a proceeding all
455such communications.
456     (6)  Any commissioner or member of a commissioner's direct
457staff who knowingly fails to place on the record any ex parte
458communication prohibited by this section such communications, in
459violation of this the section, within 15 days after of the date
460of the such communication is subject to removal or dismissal and
461may be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000. Any
462individual who knowingly fails to comply with subsection (5) may
463be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000.
464     (7)(a)  It is shall be the duty of the Commission on Ethics
465to receive and investigate sworn complaints of violations of
466this section pursuant to the procedures contained in ss.
468     (b)  If the Commission on Ethics finds that there has been
469a violation of this section by a public service commissioner or
470member of a commissioner's direct staff, it shall provide the
471Governor and the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating
472Council with a report of its findings and recommendations. The
473Governor is authorized to enforce the findings and
474recommendations of the Commission on Ethics, pursuant to part
475III of chapter 112.
476     (c)  If a commissioner, a member of a commissioner's direct
477staff, or any other individual fails or refuses to pay the
478Commission on Ethics any civil penalties assessed pursuant to
479the provisions of this section, the Commission on Ethics may
480bring an action in any circuit court to enforce the such
482     (d)  If, during the course of an investigation by the
483Commission on Ethics into an alleged violation of this section,
484allegations are made as to the identity of the person who
485participated in the ex parte communication, that person must be
486given notice and an opportunity to participate in the
487investigation and relevant proceedings to present a defense. If
488the Commission on Ethics determines that the person participated
489in the ex parte communication, the person may not appear before
490the commission or otherwise represent anyone before the
491commission for a period of 2 years.
492     Section 9.  Subsections (1), (2), and (3) of section
493350.06, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
494     350.06  Place of meeting; expenditures; employment of
495personnel; records availability and fees.-
496     (1)  The offices of the commission said commissioners shall
497be in the vicinity of Tallahassee, but the commissioners may
498hold sessions anywhere in the state at their discretion.
499     (2)  All sums of money authorized to be paid on account of
500the commission said commissioners shall be paid out of the State
501Treasury only on the order of the Chief Financial Officer.
502     (3)(a)  The commission shall commissioners may employ an
503executive director, a general counsel, and an inspector general
504clerical, technical, and professional personnel reasonably
505necessary for the performance of their duties and may also
506employ one or more persons capable of stenographic court
507reporting, to be known as the official reporters of the
508commission. Selection of the executive director shall be subject
509to confirmation by the Senate. Until such time as the Senate
510confirms the selection of the executive director, the individual
511selected shall perform the functions of the position. If the
512Senate refuses to confirm or fails to consider the selection
513during its next regular session, the commission shall, within 30
514days, select another individual for Senate confirmation. This
515process shall continue until the Senate has confirmed a
516selection. In case of a vacancy in the position of executive
517director, the commission shall select a new executive director
518in the same manner as the original selection.
519     (b)  Each commissioner may employ a chief advisor and an
520executive assistant to serve as the direct staff of the
522     (c)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
523executive director shall employ clerical, technical, and
524professional personnel reasonably necessary to assist the
525commission in the performance of its duties and may employ one
526or more persons capable of stenographic court reporting to be
527known as the official reporters of the commission. The executive
528director shall have sole authority with respect to employment,
529compensation, supervision, and direction of agency personnel
530other than those personnel employed by the commission and
531individual commissioners under paragraphs (a) and (b).
532     (d)  The general counsel shall, in consultation with the
533executive director, employ attorneys, paralegals, legal
534secretaries, and other personnel reasonably necessary to assist
535the commission in the performance of its duties.
536     Section 10.  Subsection (1) of section 350.061, Florida
537Statutes, is amended to read:
538     350.061  Public Counsel; appointment; oath; restrictions on
539Public Counsel and his or her employees.-
540     (1)  The Attorney General Committee on Public Counsel
541Oversight shall appoint a Public Counsel by majority vote of the
542members of the committee to represent the general public of
543Florida before the Florida Public Service Commission. The Public
544Counsel shall be an attorney admitted to practice before the
545Florida Supreme Court and shall serve at the pleasure of the
546Attorney General Committee on Public Counsel Oversight, subject
547to biennial reconfirmation by the committee. The Public Counsel
548shall perform his or her duties independently. Vacancies in the
549office shall be filled in the same manner as the original
551     Section 11.  Section 350.0613, Florida Statutes, is amended
552to read:
553     350.0613  Public Counsel; employees; receipt of pleadings.-
554The Attorney General committee may authorize the Public Counsel
555to employ clerical and technical assistants whose
556qualifications, duties, and responsibilities the Attorney
557General committee shall from time to time prescribe. The
558Attorney General committee may from time to time authorize
559retention of the services of additional attorneys or experts to
560the extent that the best interests of the people of the state
561will be better served thereby, including the retention of expert
562witnesses and other technical personnel for participation in
563contested proceedings before the commission. The commission
564shall furnish the Public Counsel with copies of the initial
565pleadings in all proceedings before the commission, and if the
566Public Counsel intervenes as a party in any proceeding he or she
567shall be served with copies of all subsequent pleadings,
568exhibits, and prepared testimony, if used. Upon filing notice of
569intervention, the Public Counsel shall serve all interested
570parties with copies of such notice and all of his or her
571subsequent pleadings and exhibits.
572     Section 12.  Section 350.0614, Florida Statutes, is amended
573to read:
574     350.0614  Public Counsel; compensation and expenses.-
575     (1)  The salaries and expenses of the Public Counsel and
576his or her employees shall be allocated by the Attorney General
577committee only from moneys appropriated to the Public Counsel by
578the Legislature.
579     (2)  The Legislature declares and determines that the
580Public Counsel is under the legislative branch of government
581within the intention of the legislation as expressed in chapter
582216, and no power shall be in the Executive Office of the
583Governor or its successor to release or withhold funds
584appropriated to it, but the same shall be available for
585expenditure as provided by law and the rules or decisions of the
586Committee on Public Counsel Oversight.
587     (3)  Neither the Executive Office of the Governor nor the
588Department of Management Services or its successor shall have
589power to determine the number, or fix the compensation, of the
590employees of the Public Counsel or to exercise any manner of
591control over them.
592     Section 13.  (1)  All powers, duties, functions, records,
593offices, personnel, property, pending issues, and existing
594contracts, administrative authority, administrative rules, and
595unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other
596funds relating to the Office of Public Counsel pursuant to s.
597350.061, Florida Statutes, are transferred by a type two
598transfer, as defined in s. 20.06(2), Florida Statutes, from the
599Legislature to the Office of the Attorney General. The Office of
600Public Counsel shall be funded from the General Revenue Fund.
601     (2)  Notwithstanding ss. 216.292 and 216.351, Florida
602Statutes, upon approval by the Legislative Budget Commission,
603the Executive Office of the Governor shall transfer funds and
604positions between the Legislature and the Office of the Attorney
605General to implement this act.
606     Section 14.  Section 350.121, Florida Statutes, is
608     Section 15.  Section 350.122, Florida Statutes, is created
609to read:
610     350.122  Testimony; public disclosure of affiliation.-
611     (1)  Each person offering testimony at a meeting, workshop,
612hearing, or other scheduled event of the commission shall
613disclose any financial or fiduciary relationship with any party
614to the proceedings at the time the testimony is provided to the
616     (2)  The determination by the commission that a person has
617knowingly violated this section constitutes agency action for
618which a hearing may be sought under chapter 120.
619     Section 16.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.