State Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) today applauded the governor’s appointment of M. Howard Petricoff as a Democratic member of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Petricoff will serve as the only Democratic member of the five-person regulatory panel, which Ohio law prevents from having more than three commissioners affiliated with or belonging to the same political party.
“Mr. Petricoff is a knowledgeable, talented and experienced selection for a position that must balance multi-billion dollar decisions with the best interests of consumers and our state,” said Leland. “I applaud the governor’s decision that effectively restores bipartisanship to one of our state’s most important oversight panels."
Long a bipartisan panel, the PUCO took a different turn in recent years as a new interpretation of state law shed Democratic representation for political appointees that were from, or closely associated with, the Republican Party.
“We don’t want to have another extended period of time where the commission is devoid of diverse opinions,” said Leland. “This is why legislation like House bill 122 is still necessary. I’m looking forward to working with the governor to ensure that bipartisanship on the PUCO is the rule and not the exception.”
Leland introduced House Bill 122 in March of 2015 to spell out the long-held bipartisan interpretation of the commission’s makeup. The bill has yet to receive a hearing.