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Mo. senator expecting appointment to utility board

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm •  Published: January 21, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican state Sen. Scott Rupp said Tuesday that he expects to be appointed to Missouri's utility regulatory commission as part of a deal that also could clear the way for one of Gov. Jay Nixon's aides to join the panel.

Rupp told The Associated Press that he has met with Nixon and various gubernatorial staff members about the position on the Missouri Public Service Commission.

"There's no guarantees — they haven't said this in blood or anything like that — but they have said their plan is that I will be their nominee on March 14," said Rupp, of Wentzville.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said Tuesday that he could not immediately confirm Rupp's impending appointment.

Rupp said the March 14 appointment date is significant because the commission currently has a vacant seat whose term runs through March 13. If he were appointed before then, Rupp would have to fill the unexpired term and then be re-appointed to a full six-year term. By waiting until March 14, Rupp said he will need only one gubernatorial appointment.

The state Senate must approve all nominees to the PSC, which approves the rates charged to customers by investor-owned electric, gas and water companies, among other things.

Republicans who control the Senate have been reluctant to confirm Democratic appointees to commission if they are not also paired with Republican appointees.

In December, Nixon appointed Democrat Daniel Hall to the PSC. Hall had served as Nixon's legislative director since Nixon took office as governor in 2009. Hall already has begun working at the commission but must win Senate confirmation by early next month to remain in the job.

The Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to consider Hall's appointment — an indication that senators are satisfied a Republican nominee will be forthcoming.

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