| Home > 108th Congressional Bills > S. 1193 (is) To provide for qualified withdrawals from the Capital Construction Fund for fishermen leaving the industry and for the rollover of Capital Construction Funds to individual retirement plans, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] %%Fil...
S. 1193 (is) To provide for qualified withdrawals from the Capital Construction Fund for fishermen leaving the industry and for the rollover of Capital Construction Funds to individual retirement plans, and for other purposes. [Introduced in Senate] %%Fil...
108th CONGRESS 1st Session S. 1192 To establish a Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission to assess and provide recommendations regarding recent energy price spikes from the perspective of consumers and small businesses. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES June 5, 2003 Mr. Durbin (for himself and Ms. Stabenow) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To establish a Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission to assess and provide recommendations regarding recent energy price spikes from the perspective of consumers and small businesses. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission Act of 2003''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds that-- (1) there have been several sharp increases since 1990 in the price of electricity, gasoline, home heating oil, natural gas, and propane in the United States; (2) recent examples of such increases include-- (A) unusually high gasoline prices that are at least partly attributable to global politics; (B) electricity price spikes during the California energy crisis of 2001; and (C) the Midwest gasoline price spikes in spring 2001; (3) shifts in energy regulation, including the allowance of greater flexibility in competition and trading, have affected price stability and consumers in ways that are not fully understood; (4) price spikes undermine the ability of low-income families, the elderly, and small businesses (including farmers and other agricultural producers) to afford essential energy services and products; (5) energy price spikes can exacerbate a weak economy by creating uncertainties that discourage investment, growth, and other activities that contribute to a strong economy; (6) the Department of Energy has determined that the economy would be likely to perform better with stable or predictable energy prices; (7) price spikes can be caused by many factors, including insufficient inventories, supply disruptions, refinery capacity limits, insufficient infrastructure, over-regulation or under- regulation, flawed deregulation, excessive consumption, over- reliance on foreign supplies, insufficient research and development of alternative energy sources, opportunistic behavior by energy companies, and abuses of market power; (8) consumers and small businesses have few options other than to pay higher energy costs when prices spike, resulting in reduced investment and slower economic growth and job creation; (9) the effect of price spikes, and possible responses to price spikes, on consumers and small businesses should be examined; and (10) studies have examined price spikes of specific energy products in specific contexts or for specific reasons, but no study has examined price spikes comprehensively with a focus on the impacts on consumers and small businesses. SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission established by section 4(a). (2) Consumer energy product.--The term ``consumer energy product'' means-- (A) electricity; (B) gasoline; (C) home heating oil; (D) natural gas; and (E) propane. (3) Consumer group focusing on energy issues.--The term ``consumer group focusing on energy issues'' means-- (A) an organization that is a member of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates; (B) a nongovernmental organization representing the interests of residential energy consumers; and (C) a nongovernmental organization that-- (i) receives not more than \1/4\ of its funding from energy industries; and (ii) represent the interests of energy consumers. (4) Energy consumer.--The term ``energy consumer'' means an individual or small business that purchases 1 or more consumer energy products. (5) Energy industry.--The term ``energy industry'' means for-profit or not-for-profit entities involved in the generation, selling, or buying of any energy-producing fuel involved in the production or use of consumer energy products. (6) Executive committee.--The term ``Executive Committee'' means the executive committee of the Commission. (7) Small business.--The term ``small business'' has the meaning given the term ``small business concern'' in section 3(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(a)). SEC. 4. CONSUMER ENERGY COMMISSION. (a) Establishment.--There is established a commission to be known as the ``Consumer and Small Business Energy Commission''. (b) Membership.-- (1) In general.--The Commission shall be comprised of 20 members. (2) Appointments by the senate and house of representatives.--The majority leader and minority leader of the Senate and the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint 4 members, of whom-- (A) 2 shall represent consumer groups focusing on energy issues; (B) 1 shall represent small businesses; and (C) 1 shall represent the energy industry. (3) Appointments by the president.--The President shall appoint 1 member from each of-- (A) the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy; (B) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; (C) the Federal Trade Commission; and (D) the Commodities Future Trading Commission. (4) Date of appointments.--The appointment of a member of the Commission shall be made not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act. (c) Term.--A member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. (d) Initial Meeting.--The Commission shall hold the initial meeting of the Commission not later than the earlier of-- (1) the date that is 30 days after the date on which all members of the Commission have been appointed; or (2) the date that is 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, regardless of whether all members have been appointed. (e) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson.--The Commission shall select a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among the members of the Commission, excluding the members appointed under subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) of subsection (b)(3). (f) Executive Committee.--The Commission shall have an executive committee comprised of all members of the Commission except the members appointed under subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) of subsection (b)(3). (g) Information and Administrative Expenses.--The Federal agencies specified in subsection (b)(3) shall provide the Commission such information and pay such administrative expenses as the Commission requires to carry out this section, consistent with the requirements and guidelines of the Federal Advisory Commission Act (5 U.S.C. App.). (h) Duties.-- (1) Study.-- (A) In general.--The Commission shall conduct a nationwide study of significant price spikes in major United States consumer energy products since 1990. (B) Matters to be studied by the commission.--In conducting the study, the Commission shall-- (i) focus on the causes of the price spikes, including insufficient inventories, supply disruptions, refinery capacity limits, insufficient infrastructure, any over- regulation or under-regulation, flawed deregulation, excessive consumption, over- reliance on foreign supplies, insufficient research and development of alternative energy sources, opportunistic behavior by energy companies, and abuses of market power; (ii) examine the effects of price spikes on consumers and small businesses; (iii) investigate market concentration, opportunities for misuse of market power, and any other relevant market failures; and (iv) consider-- (I) proposals for administrative actions to mitigate price spikes affecting consumers and small businesses; (II) proposals for legislative action; and (III) proposals for voluntary actions by energy consumers and the energy industry. (2) Report.--Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Executive Committee shall submit to Congress a report that contains-- (A) a detailed statement of the findings and conclusions of the Commission; and (B) recommendations for legislation, administrative actions, and voluntary actions by energy consumers and the energy industry to protect consumers from future price spikes in consumer energy products, including a recommendation on whether energy consumers need an advocate on energy issues within the Federal Government. (i) Termination.-- (1) Definition of legislative day.--In this subsection, the term ``legislative day'' means a day on which both Houses of Congress are in session. (2) Date of termination.--The Commission shall terminate on the date that is 30 legislative days after the date of submission of the report under subsection (h)(2). <all>
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