The States and Interstate Utility Problems

February 24, 1930

Report Outline
New Federal Legislation on Public Utitities
Protests Against Invasions of State Rights
Gaps in Regulatory Authority of the States
Proposals for Regulation by Joint Boards

New Federal Legislation on Public Utitities

Changing Economic Organization of the Country

Eight major proposals for legislation directly affecting the interstate operation of public utilities are at present awaiting action by the Seventy-first Congress. The most prominent of these at the moment are the Couzens bill for creation of a new federal commission on communications, upon which hearings have recently been completed by the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee, and a second bill by Senator Couzens, for reorganization of the existing Federal Power Commission, upon which hearings are now under way. When these measures have been reported, the committee will take up legislation to establish federal control over all interstate transmission of electric power.

Bills to facilitate the consolidation of railroads and providing for regulation of interstate transportation by motor bus have long been pending before both branches of Congress. The House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce is about to begin an investigation of railroad holding companies. New legislation proposing more complete federal control over air navigation, and amending the existing law governing the construction of bridges over navigable streams, is being sponsored by individual members of the Senate and House. And, in addition, interstate questions are certain to arise when the Senate again proceeds to consider legislation for permanent disposal of the Muscle Shoals project.

The number and variety of these legislative projects—especially when to these are added the many other pending measures dealing with important national economic problems—reflect the rapid changes that have taken place in the economic organization of the United States during the years since the war. The final action of Congress on the measure now pending may to a large degree crystallize national economic policy for many years to come. The relations between the federal and state governments may at the same time be modified extensively.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Interstate Commerce
Mar. 17, 1939  Barriers Against Interstate Commerce
Jun. 26, 1935  Interstate Compacts
Apr. 19, 1933  Federal Incorporation of Interstate Business
Feb. 24, 1930  The States and Interstate Utility Problems
Regulation and Deregulation
Regulation and Deregulation
State, Local, and Intergovernmental Relations