Current Status Bill Number:
227Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 19950110Primary Sponsor: FordAll Sponsors: FordDrafted Document Number: RES9430.RFResiding Body: SenateCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 11 SJSubject: Public Service Commission
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ Senate 19950110 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to Committee Senate 19941017 Prefiled, referred to Committee 11 SJView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND CHAPTER 3, TITLE 58, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTIONS 58-3-27, 58-3-28, AND 58-3-29 SO AS TO PROVIDE THE MANNER OF SELECTION OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION; AND TO AMEND SECTIONS 58-3-20, AS AMENDED, AND 58-3-26, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION DISTRICTS AND ELECTION OF COMMISSIONERS, SO AS TO REVISE THE DISTRICTS AND THE MANNER OF ELECTION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 3, Title 58 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 58-3-27. Legislators residing in the congressional district shall meet upon written call of a majority of the members of the delegation of each district at a time and place to be designated in the call for the purpose of electing a commissioner to represent the district. A majority present, either in person or by written proxy, of the delegation from a given congressional district constitute a quorum for the purpose of electing a district commissioner. No person may be elected commissioner who fails to receive a majority vote of the members of the delegation.
The delegation must be organized by the election of a chairman and a secretary, and the delegations of each congressional district shall adopt rules to govern the election. An absentee may vote by written proxy. When the election is completed, the chairman and the secretary of the delegation immediately shall transmit the name of the person elected to the Secretary of State who shall issue to the person, after he has taken the usual oath of office, a certificate of election as commissioner. The Governor then shall issue a commission to the person, and pending the issuance of the commission the certificate of election is sufficient warrant to the person to perform all of the duties and functions of his office as commissioner. Each commissioner shall serve until his successor is elected and qualified.
Section 58-3-28. (A) Beginning February 15, 1996, commissioners must be elected by the legislative delegation of each congressional district. For the purposes of electing a commission member, a legislator shall vote only in the congressional district in which he resides. All commission members must serve for a term of office of four years which expires on February fifteenth of the appropriate year. Commissioners shall continue to serve until their successors are elected. A vacancy occurring in the office of commissioner must be filled by election in the manner provided in this chapter for the unexpired term only. No person is eligible to serve as a commission member who is not a resident of that district at the time of his appointment, except that the at-large commission member may be appointed from any county in the State regardless of whether another commissioner is serving from that county. Failure by a commission member to maintain residency in the district for which he is elected shall result in the forfeiture of his office. The at-large commission member, upon confirmation, shall serve as chairman of the commission.
(B) The terms of the initial members of the commission appointed from congressional districts are as follows:
(1) commission members appointed to represent odd-numbered congressional districts - two years; and
(2) commission members appointed to represent even-numbered congressional districts - four years.
(C) The at-large commissioner shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
Section 58-3-29. Each commission member, within thirty days after his election or appointment, and before entering upon the discharge of the duties of his office, shall take, subscribe, and file with the Secretary of State the oath of office prescribed by the Constitution of the State."
SECTION 2. Section 58-3-20 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 181 of 1993, is further amended to read:
"Section 58-3-20. The Public Service Commission shall be is composed of seven members, to be six of whom are elected by the General Assembly and one appointed by the Governor in the manner prescribed by this chapter for terms of four years and until their successors are elected or appointed and qualify.
Each of the six districts that are defined as congressional districts on January 1, 1996, is a Public Service Commission district. The General Assembly shall provide for the election of the seven member commission and elect the six members thereto based upon the congressional districts established by the General Assembly pursuant to the official United States Census of 1990. If the number of congressional districts is less than seven, additional members shall be elected at large to provide for a seven member commission One member must be appointed by the Governor from the State at large upon the advice and consent of the Senate."
SECTION 3. Section 58-3-26 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 181 of 1993, is amended to read:
"Section 58-3-26. Whenever an election is to be held by the General Assembly in joint session to elect a person to serve on the Public Service Commission, a joint committee, composed of ten members, three of whom shall be members of the House of Representatives, three of whom shall be members of the Senate, two of whom shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate from the general public at-large, and two of whom appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives from the general public at-large shall be appointed to consider the qualifications of the candidates. Each body shall determine how its respective legislative members shall be selected. Provided, however, that in making appointments to the joint committee, race, gender, and other demographic factors should be considered to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of the State. The joint committee shall meet as soon after its appointment as may be practicable and shall elect one of its members as chairman, one as secretary, and such other officers as it may deem desirable. The joint committee shall conduct its screening pursuant to the provisions of Section 2-9-10 et seq.
The members of the general public appointed by the Speaker and the President Pro Tempore must be representative of all citizens of this State, must not be members of the General Assembly, and must not be affiliated in any way with an entity regulated by the commission.
In screening such persons for election to the Public Service Commission the joint committee shall seek to establish a commission which shall be broadly representative of the people of the State, men and women of ability and dedication with compassion and common sense. In screening persons for election to the Public Service Commission, the joint committee shall consider the knowledge and experience of the potential appointees in such varied fields as business, government, accounting, law, engineering, statistics, consumer affairs and finance. In making its findings the joint committee shall seek to find the best qualified people giving due consideration to their ability and integrity. (A) A county that is divided among two or more Public Service Commission districts, for purposes of electing a commission member, is considered to be in the district which contains the largest number of residents from that county.
(B) No county within a district shall have a resident commission member for more than one consecutive term and in no event shall any two persons from the same county serve as a commission member simultaneously except as provided. No person may be eligible to serve as a commission member if the person previously has served as a commission member.
(C) A member of the General Assembly or a former member of the General Assembly is prohibited from serving on the commission for a period of one year after terminating his office."
SECTION 4. The terms of office of all persons who are serving as members of the Public Service Commission on the effective date of this act expire on April 30, 1996. The General Assembly shall elect the successors of those persons for the initial terms provided for in Section 58-3-28, as added by Section 1 of this act, during the 1996 legislative session of the General Assembly, but not later than March 31, 1996, and the initial terms of the successor commission shall commence on May 1, 1996.
SECTION 5. Except as otherwise provided in this act, this act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.