S.B. NO.



S.D. 1
















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the role of the public utilities commission is evolving from that of the traditional regulator, one that generally presides over and reacts to applications filed by utility companies, to a proactive agency responsible for developing strategy and guiding action plans to successfully accomplish the State's policy directives.

     The legislature further finds that with rapid advances in new technology, high electricity rates, and aggressive clean energy policies, Hawaii is modernizing its entire energy system at an unprecedented pace.  The public utilities commission often finds itself on the cutting edge in terms of addressing technical and regulatory issues related to the State's energy transition.  Therefore, the State must continue to invest in the public utilities commission staff to manage the growing number, and increasingly technical complexity, of issues brought before the commission to ensure these important decisions are made in the public interest.

     The legislature additionally finds that emphasis must be placed on the quality, rather than the quantity, of professional staff of the public utilities commission, as well as the creation of a competitive salary structure to attract and retain a highly competent staff.

     The purpose of this Act is to clarify the authority of the chairperson of the public utilities commission concerning operational expenditures and the hiring and retention of agency personnel.

     SECTION 2.  Section 269-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

     "(b)  Effective July 1, 2005, the chairperson of the commission shall be paid a salary set at eighty-seven per cent of the salary of the director of human resources development, and each of the other commissioners shall be paid a salary equal to ninety-five per cent of the chairperson's salary.  The commissioners shall be exempt from chapters 76 and 89 but shall be members of the state employees retirement system and shall be eligible to receive the benefits of any state or federal employee benefit program generally applicable to officers and employees of the State, including those under chapter 87A.

     The commission is placed within the department of budget and finance for administrative purposes.  Notwithstanding section 26-35(a)(5) to the contrary, the commission's operational expenditures, such as the purchase of supplies, equipment, furniture, dues and subscriptions, travel, consultant services, and staff training under specified threshold limits to be agreed upon by the chairperson of the commission and the director of finance, shall be subject to the review and approval of only the chairperson of the commission and shall be subject to all applicable procurement laws and procedures; provided that any operational expenditures that are above the agreed upon threshold amount may be reviewed and approved by the director of finance."

     SECTION 3.  Section 269-3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

     "(a)  The chairperson of the public utilities commission may appoint and employ professional staff and other assistants for the public utilities commission as the chairperson finds necessary for the performance of the commission's functions and define their powers and duties.  Notwithstanding section 26-35(a)(4) to the contrary, the employment, appointment, applicable salary schedules, promotion, transfer, demotion, discharge, and job descriptions of all officers and employees of or under the jurisdiction of the commission shall be determined by the chairperson, subject to applicable personnel laws.  The chairperson may appoint and, at pleasure, dismiss a chief administrator and attorneys as may be necessary, and who shall be exempt from chapter 76.  The chairperson may also appoint other staff with or without regard to chapter 76."

     SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.



Report Title:

Public Utilities Commission; Expenditures; Hiring; Authority



Clarifies the Public Utilities Commission's authority concerning standard administrative practices, including operational expenditures and the hiring of personnel.  Effective 7/1/50.  (SD1)




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.