The Maryland House of Delegates reversed itself yesterday and approved by the narrowest possible margin legislation that would modify a "revolving door" prohibition affecting seven regulators at the Public Service Commission.
Under the bill, if the PSC's general counsel or any of its six hearing examiners left to take private sector jobs, they would be allowed to appear before the commission after a waiting period of one year, instead of the currently required two years. The PSC sets rates for electricity, gas, water, sewer, telephone and other services and utilities.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
When it first came to a vote in the House last Friday, it fell four
votes shy of the 71 required for passage.
At the urging of Environmental Matters Committee Chairman Ronald A. Guns, D-Cecil, the measure was reconsidered yesterday, and it received precisely the 71 votes needed.
Mr. Guns and other backers said it was unfair to subject the seven PSC staff members to a two-year wait, noting that, except for the five commissioners themselves, no other employee in the state is similarly prohibited.
Del. Robert Ehrlich Jr., a Baltimore County Republican, sponsored the measure after being approached by Daniel P. Gahagan of Parkton, who for the past 13 years has been one of the six hearing examiners who would be affected by the bill.
Mr. Gahagan said he believes he was denied a job with the federal General Services Administration in part because the agency wanted him to represent it before the PSC, but he was prohibited from doing so by the law.