Measure would limit who can run for election to Arizona Corporation Commission | Government and politics

Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX — A House panel voted Tuesday to give Arizonans less choice in who sets the rates they are charged by utilities.

The measure crafted by Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, would require candidates for the Arizona Corporations Commission to be at least 30 years old and have resided in the state for two or more years.

Additionally, Bill 2536 would bar anyone from running for the commission in 2024 and beyond unless they have at least five years of experience in specified fields. These include accounting, business administration, finance, administrative law or professional engineering.

“This is highly technical work,” said Griffin, who chairs the Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee. She told her colleagues that the qualifications had been “suggested” to her, although she denied that they were from the public services regulated by the commission.

But Sandy Bahr, lobbyist for the Arizona chapter of the Sierra Club, suggested the requirements were so narrow that they eliminated others who have a legitimate role in setting energy policy and rates.

For example, if lawmakers are looking for qualifications, they should also consider those with a background in water or energy policy, she said.

“How about a background in climate science or a consumer advocate?” said Bahr, whose organization is appearing before the Corporation Commission to talk about the environmental implications of its decisions.

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