Arizona legislature eases conflict rule for utility regulator

arizona state house elp

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Legislature has approved a proposal freeing former House Speaker Andy Tobin from a conflict of interest that emerged when he was appointed as a state utility regulator.

The House vote Friday evening initially failed by a 22-31 vote. But a reconsideration vote flipped the count and it passed 32-22.

No House members spoke about their votes or why they may have changed their minds.

The Senate passed House Bill 2123 Thursday on a straight party-line vote with no Democrats in support. Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada said legislation can't magically erase a conflict of interest through legislation.

The bill clarifies that Tobin can vote on issues involving a rooftop solar company that employs his son-in-law. Arizona Corporation Commission attorneys advised Tobin before he took office on Feb. 2 that his son-in-law's job triggers a conflict law.

The bill now goes to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration.

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