Term limits on corporation commission; composition; election; office vacancies; qualifications

Section 1. A. No member of the corporation commission shall hold that office for more than two consecutive terms. No corporation commissioner may serve again in that office until out of office for one full term. Any person who serves one half or more of a term shall be considered to have served one term for purposes of this section.

B. A corporation commission is hereby created to be composed of five persons who shall be elected at the general election, and whose term of office shall be four years, and who shall maintain their chief office at the state capital. The two additional commission members shall be elected at the 2002 general election for initial two-year terms beginning on the first Monday in January, 2003. Thereafter, all terms shall be four-year terms.

C. In case of vacancy in the office, the governor shall appoint a commissioner to fill the vacancy. The appointed commissioner shall fill the vacancy until a commissioner shall be elected at a general election as provided by law, and shall qualify. The qualifications of commissioners may be prescribed by law.

“Public service corporations” defined

Section 2. All corporations other than municipal engaged in furnishing gas, oil, or electricity for light, fuel, or power; or in furnishing water for irrigation, fire protection, or other public purposes; or in furnishing, for profit, hot or cold air or steam for heating or cooling purposes; or engaged in collecting, transporting, treating, purifying and disposing of sewage through a system, for profit; or in transmitting messages or furnishing public telegraph or telephone service, and all corporations other than municipal, operating as common carriers, shall be deemed public service corporations.

Power of commission as to classifications, rates and charges, rules, contracts, and accounts; local regulation

Section 3. The corporation commission shall have full power to, and shall, prescribe just and reasonable classifications to be used and just and reasonable rates and charges to be made and collected, by public service corporations within the state for service rendered therein, and make reasonable rules, regulations, and orders, by which such corporations shall be governed in the transaction of business within the state, and may prescribe the forms of contracts and the systems of keeping accounts to be used by such corporations in transacting such business, and make and enforce reasonable rules, regulations, and orders for the convenience, comfort, and safety, and the preservation of the health, of the employees and patrons of such corporations; Provided, that incorporated cities and towns may be authorized by law to exercise supervision over public service corporations doing business therein, including the regulation of rates and charges to be made and collected by such corporations; Provided further, that classifications, rates, charges, rules, regulations, orders, and forms or systems prescribed or made by said corporation commission may from time to time be amended or repealed by such commission.

Power to inspect and investigate

Section 4. The corporation commission, and the several members thereof, shall have power to inspect and investigate the property, books, papers, business, methods, and affairs of any corporation whose stock shall be offered for sale to the public and of any public service corporation doing business within the state, and for the purpose of the commission, and of the several members thereof, shall have the power of a court of general jurisdiction to enforce the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence by subpoena, attachment, and punishment, which said power shall extend throughout the state. Said commission shall have power to take testimony under commission or deposition either within or without the state.

Power to issue certificates of incorporation and licenses

Section 5. The corporation commission shall have the sole power to issue certificates of incorporation to companies organizing under the laws of this state, and to issue licenses to foreign corporations to do business in this state, except as insurers, as may be prescribed by law.

Domestic and foreign insurers shall be subject to licensing, control and supervision by a department of insurance as prescribed by law. A director of the department of insurance shall be appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate in the manner prescribed by law for a term which may be prescribed by law.

Enlargement of powers by legislature; rules and regulations

Section 6. The law-making power may enlarge the powers and extend the duties of the corporation commission, and may prescribe rules and regulations to govern proceedings instituted by and before it; but, until such rules and regulations are provided by law, the commission may make rules and regulations to govern such proceedings.

Connecting and intersecting lines of transportation and communications corporations

Section 7. Every public service corporation organized or authorized under the laws of the state to do any transportation or transmission business within the state shall have the right to construct and operate lines connecting any points within the state, and to connect at the state boundaries with like lines; and every such corporation shall have the right with any of its lines to cross, intersect, or connect with, any lines of any other public service corporation.

Transportation by connecting carriers

Section 8. Every public service corporation doing a transportation business within the state shall receive and transport, without delay or discrimination, cars loaded or empty, property, or passengers delivered to it by any other public service corporation doing a similar business, and deliver cars, loaded or empty, without delay or discrimination, to other transportation corporations, under such regulations as shall be prescribed by the corporation commission, or by law.

Transmission of messages by connecting carriers

Section 9. Every public service corporation engaged in the business of transmitting messages for profit shall receive and transmit, without delay or discrimination, any messages delivered to it by any other public service corporation engaged in the business of transmitting messages for profit, and shall, with its lines, make physical connection with the lines of any public service corporation engaged in the business of transmitting messages for profit, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by the corporation commission, or by law; Provided, that such public service corporations shall deliver messages to other such corporations, without delay or discrimination, under such rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by the corporation commission, or by law.

Railways as public highways; other corporations as common carriers

Section 10. Railways heretofore constructed, or that may hereafter be constructed, in this state, are hereby declared public highways and all railroads are declared to be common carriers and subject to control by law. All electric, transmission, telegraph, telephone, or pipeline corporations, for the transportation of electricity, messages, water, oil, or other property for profit, are declared to be common carriers and subject to control by law.

Movable property as personal property; liability of property to attachment, execution and sale

Section 11. The rolling stock and all other movable property belonging to any public service corporation in this state, shall be considered personal property, and its real and personal property, and every part thereof, shall be liable to attachment, execution, and sale in the same manner as the property of individuals; and the law-making power shall enact no laws exempting any such property from attachment, execution, or sale.

Charges for service; discrimination; free or reduced rate transportation

Section 12. All charges made for service rendered, or to be rendered, by public service corporations within this state shall be just and reasonable, and no discrimination in charges, service, or facilities shall be made between persons or places for rendering a like and contemporaneous service, except that the granting of free or reduced rate transportation may be authorized by law, or by the corporation commission, to the classes of persons described in the act of Congress approved February 11, 1887, entitled An Act to Regulate Commerce, and the amendments thereto, as those to whom free or reduced rate transportation may be granted.

Reports to commission

Section 13. All public service corporations and corporations whose stock shall be offered for sale to the public shall make such reports to the corporation commission, under oath, and provide such information concerning their acts and operations as may be required by law, or by the corporation commission.

Value of property of public service corporations

Section 14. The corporation commission shall, to aid it in the proper discharge of its duties, ascertain the fair value of the property within the state of every public service corporation doing business therein; and every public service corporation doing business within the state shall furnish to the commission all evidence in its possession, and all assistance in its power, requested by the commission in aid of the determination of the value of the property within the state of such public service corporation.

Acceptance of constitutional provisions by existing corporations

Section 15. No public service corporation in existence at the time of the admission of this state into the union shall have the benefit of any future legislation except on condition of complete acceptance of all provisions of this Constitution applicable to public service corporations.

Forfeitures for violations

Section 16. If any public service corporation shall violate any of the rules, regulations, orders, or decisions of the corporation commission, such corporation shall forfeit and pay to the state not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five thousand dollars for each such violation, to be recovered before any court of competent jurisdiction.

Appeal to courts

Section 17. Nothing herein shall be construed as denying to public service corporations the right of appeal to the courts of the state from the rules, regulations, orders, or decrees fixed by the corporation commission, but the rules, regulations, orders, or decrees so fixed shall remain in force pending the decision of the courts.

Power to impose fines

Section 19. The corporation commission shall have the power and authority to enforce its rules, regulations, and orders by the imposition of such fines as it may deem just, within the limitations prescribed in section 16 of this article.