Yesterday afternoon Governor Tom Vilsack named John Norris to head the Iowa Utilities Board. He will take over when departing board member Mark Lambert concludes his term April 30. The news comes on the eve of the annual winter NARUC meeting where current IUB chairman Diane Munns is first vice president and slated to become NARUC president later this year. Vilsack's press announcement notes her expanded national portfolio. in his decision.
Norris served Vilsack and Representative Boswell as chief of staff but to politicos he is better known for his role in the resurrection of John Kerry in the 2004 Iowa caucuses.
On the legislative front, the state House is moving a study bill that would significantly deregulate both business and residential telecommunications.
(A House study bill differs from other legislation in its naming convention because it is introduced by a committee rather than an individual member. Look for HSB 50.)
In particular, HSB 50 would eliminate IUB regulation where there is "effective competition" and instructs the board to consider the following in determining if effective competition exists: wireless, cable and VoIP.
The bill is not long, and not quite as clean cut as I've let on here...but for you legislative junkies, and you know who you are, it is a good read. There is a carve-out for basic residential and basic business subscribers and perhaps some problems with institutional incentives, but it looks like a good step. Kudos to Vilsack for teeing up this legislation in the Iowa House.