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06/12/2024 01:44 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=15228
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 11, 2014 04:18 PM
From: Representative Robert W. Godshall
To: All House members
Subject: Code of Ethics for PUC
 
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to add additional requirements to the Code of Ethics governing the activity of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) commissioners.

Section 319 of Title 66 (Public Utilities) contains a code of ethics for PUC commissioners and describes specific behaviors that are either required or prohibited for one to retain the position of commissioner. Unfortunately, the established code of ethics does not appear to be sufficient to deter certain behavior that, at a minimum, creates an appearance of impropriety and, at its worst, is an abuse of power.

Throughout this legislative session, newspaper articles and legislative committee hearing records have contained statements of commissioners that are derisive towards public utilities with cases pending before the PUC and give the impression that public utility participation in legislative and administrative processes is discouraged.

I am disappointed that the current code of ethics is insufficient to dissuade public statements to this effect and that additional legislation is necessary to explicitly prohibit this behavior by commissioners of such a highly respected agency. However, public statements made with the intent to dissuade or discourage participation in public proceedings cannot be permitted under any circumstances and are in conflict with the official duties of a commissioner.

My bill requires a commissioner to refrain from making public statements designed to discourage public utilities from participating in judicial or administrative processes. Additionally, a commissioner’s participation in the legislative process must not conflict with his or her official regulatory duties and commissioners must refrain from making public statements designed to exert pressure, influence or dissuade a public utility from participating in the legislative process.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HB2525