Telecommunications; PUC

Creates 2 panels within the public utilities commission.
Designates to one panel all telecommunications issues, and to the
other jurisdiction over the remainder of public utility matters.

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           375
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT


 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that issues concerning
 2 energy and transportation have overwhelmingly consumed the time
 3 and energy of the public utilities commission and its staff,
 4 taking priority over other issues, including telecommunications.
 5 The legislature further finds that the field of
 6 telecommunications is changing dramatically with new
 7 technological developments occurring with rapid speed.  The
 8 legislature notes that state regulation of telecommunications
 9 providers has not kept pace with these advances.
10      Accordingly, it is the purpose of this Act to create two
11 panels within the public utilities commission and to assign to
12 one panel jurisdiction over the regulation of public
13 telecommunications services and to the other all other utility
14 matters.
15      SECTION 2.  Section 269-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
16 amended to read as follows:
17      "269-2 Public utilities commission; panels; number[,] and
18 appointment of commissioners, qualifications; compensation;
19 persons having interest in public utilities.(a)  There shall be
20 a public utilities commission comprised of two panels, one of

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 1 which shall have sole jurisdiction over all public
 2 telecommunications issues as provided by this chapter, and the
 3 other shall have jurisdiction over all other public utility
 4 matters provided by this chapter.  Each panel shall be composed
 5 of three members, to be called commissioners[, and who shall be
 6 appointed in the manner prescribed in section 26-34, except as
 7 otherwise provided in this section.  All members].  Each member
 8 shall be appointed in the manner prescribed in section 26-34 for
 9 terms of six years [each, except that the terms of the members
10 first appointed shall be for two, four, and six years,
11 respectively, as designated by the governor at the time of
12 appointment].  The governor shall designate a member of each
13 panel to be the chairperson of [the commission.] their respective
14 panel.  Each member shall hold office until the member's
15 successor is appointed and qualified.  Section 26-34 shall not
16 apply insofar as it relates to the number of terms and
17 consecutive number of years a member can serve on the commission;
18 provided that no member shall serve more than twelve consecutive
19 years.
20      In appointing commissioners, the governor shall select
21 persons who have had experience in accounting, business,
22 engineering, government, finance, law, telecommunications, or
23 other similar fields[.]; provided that the persons appointed to

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 1 the telecommunications panel shall be experienced in
 2 telecommunications matters.  The commissioners shall devote full
 3 time to their duties as members of the commission and no
 4 commissioner shall hold any other public office or other
 5 employment during the commissioner's term of office.  No person
 6 owning any stock or bonds of any public utility corporation, or
 7 having any interest in, or deriving any remuneration from, any
 8 public utility shall be appointed a commissioner.
 9      (b)  [Effective January 1, 1989, and January 1, 1990, the
10 chairperson of the commission] The chairpersons of the two panels
11 each shall be paid a salary set by the governor within the range
12 of [$69,748 to $74,608 and] $72,886 to $77,966 a year,
13 [respectively,] and each of the other commissioners shall be paid
14 a salary equal to ninety-five per cent of the chairperson's
15 salary.  The commissioners shall be exempt from chapters 76, 77,
16 and 89 but shall be members of the state employees retirement
17 system and shall be eligible to receive the benefits of any state
18 or federal employee benefit program generally applicable to
19 officers and employees of the State, including those under
20 chapter 87.
21      The commission is placed within the department of budget and
22 finance for administrative purposes."
23      SECTION 3.  Section 269-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
24 amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

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 1      "(a)  The [chairperson] chairpersons of the two public
 2 utilities commission panels may determine the number of employees
 3 necessary for the performance of each utilities commission
 4 panel's function, appoint and employ [such] clerks,
 5 stenographers, agents, engineers, accountants, and other
 6 assistants [for the public utilities commission as the
 7 chairperson finds necessary for the performance of the
 8 commission's functions], and define their powers and duties.  The
 9 [chairperson] chairpersons may appoint and at their pleasure
10 dismiss a chief administrator, research assistants, economists,
11 legal secretaries, enforcement officers, and [such] hearings
12 officers as may be necessary[.] for their respective panels.
13 Notwithstanding section [103D-209(b),] 28-8.3, the [chairperson]
14 chairpersons shall appoint one or more attorneys independent of
15 the attorney general [who], define their powers and duties, and
16 fix their compensation.  These attorneys shall act as attorneys
17 for [the commission and define their powers and duties and fix
18 their compensation.] their respective panels.  The chief
19 administrator, research assistants, economists, legal
20 secretaries, enforcement officers, hearings officers, and
21 attorneys shall be exempt from chapters 76 and 77.  Other
22 employees shall be appointed as may be needed by the
23 [chairperson] chairpersons in accordance with chapters 76 and
24 77."

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                                     S.B. NO.           375

 1      SECTION 4.  Section 269-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 2 amended to read as follows:
 3      "269-6 General powers and duties.  The public utilities
 4 commission shall have the general supervision hereinafter set
 5 forth over all public utilities, and shall perform the duties and
 6 exercise the powers imposed or conferred upon it by this chapter.
 7 Included among the general powers of the commission is the
 8 authority to adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 necessary for the
 9 purposes of this chapter.
10      The [chairperson] chairpersons of the [commission] two
11 panels may appoint a hearings officer, who shall not be subject
12 to chapters 76 and 77, to hear and recommend decisions in any
13 proceeding before it other than a proceeding involving [the]
14 rates or any other [matters] matter covered in the tariffs filed
15 by the public utilities.  The hearings officer shall have the
16 power to take testimony, make findings of fact and conclusions of
17 law, and recommend a decision; provided that the findings of
18 fact, the conclusions of law, and the recommended decision shall
19 be reviewed and may be approved by the commission after notice to
20 the parties and an opportunity to be heard.  The hearings officer
21 shall have all of the powers conferred upon the public utilities
22 commission under section 269-10."
23      SECTION 5.  There is appropriated out of the general
24 revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $          , or so

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                                     S.B. NO.           375

 1 much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 1999-2000, for
 2 the purposes of this Act.
 3      The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of
 4 budget and finance for the purposes of this Act.
 5      SECTION 6.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 6 New statutory material is underscored.
 7      SECTION 7.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 1999.
10                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________