Ohio Senate panel weighs Kasich utility panel appointments

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio Senate panel is considering a pair of gubernatorial appointments to the state’s utility regulatory board, including a Democrat whose “past activism” has been questioned by the Republican Senate president.

Democratic energy attorney Howard Petricoff and Asim Haque (AW’-sim HAWK) are already at work for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The state Senate has a say in whether they stay. The Senate’s Public Utilities Committee is expected to question both appointees on Tuesday. No vote is scheduled.

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) promoted Haque from vice chair to the panel’s vacant chairmanship in May, leaving an opening to which he appointed Petricoff.

Senate President Keith Faber (FAY’-bur) called for the hearing after raising concerns about potential conflicts of interest presented by Petricoff’s past legal work for energy clients.