Plan For Governor To Appoint Arizona Corporation Commissioners Advances

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 9:05am
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Arizona Corporation Commission building in downtown Phoenix.

Members of the Arizona House Commerce Committee voted Thursday to let the governor directly appoint the state's five utility regulators on the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Rep. Ben Toma (R-Peoria) told members it would be an improvement over the current system. Members of the commission are popularly elected, but those who are heavily funded by utilities could have a conflict of interest in trying to regulate those organizations.

Rep. Isela Blanc (D-Tempe) says that's focusing on the wrong problem.

"The issue is not the process. The issue is money in politics," Blanc said. "The fact that we don't know who is donating, the fact that we have PACs that are donating into races and we don't know who those people are."

In 2014, Arizona Public Service spent more than $10 million ensuring the commission remained all-Republican. That remained a secret for nearly five years, until demands for disclosure led to the revelation.

The measure goes to the full House next. If it passes there and then in the full Senate, it would go before Arizona voters on the November ballot.

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