They were refreshingly candid words, coming out of Frankfort.
"The truth of the matter is, this study is a joke, it's a farce," House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover of Jamestown said about a proposal to study new ways to select members of the Public Service Commission, which sets utility rates.
Hoover knows, as we all do, that the study will conclude that commissioners should be elected because the people pushing the study are pushing for an elected PSC.
This paper joined those who called for a study rather than pushing through any PSC change this session. But the bill passed calls for only lawmakers to do the research, excluding business leaders and consumer advocates who have concerns about an elected PSC.
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"This bill does not smell good," Hoover said.
Electing commissioners has become the rallying call of Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, who — invoking Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, the Egyptian freedom fighters in addition to local widows and orphans — says it's the only way to be free of the tyranny of ever-increasing utility costs.
What Hall isn't so keen on trumpeting is that he makes his living through the construction company he owns, which just happens to have received millions from the Mountain Water District in Pike County.
The PSC has been looking into the operations of that Water District and finding plenty to criticize. In 2009, the PSC removed two of the board's members because they didn't meet residency requirements.
It may be only a coincidence that Hall should get the PSC in his sights just when it's taking aim at one of his firm's major clients.
At any rate, there's no good reason to believe an elected PSC would lead to lower utility rates.
There is plenty of reason to believe that if PSC members were elected, the largest contributors to their campaigns would be utilities and their supporters.
If history is any guide, those contributions would be aimed at protecting the budgets of the utilities, not the meager savings of widows and orphans.
It would be nice if we could odorize bills, like natural gas, so that the dangerous ones would stink literally, not just figuratively.
Alas, there's no such additive on the horizon to protect us from self-serving, ill-conceived legislation.
So, we'll just have to take Hoover's warning: Hold our noses and hope this proposal dies of its own malodor.