I’m not sure the state’s Public Utilities Commission deserves to die. But I’m glad the death penalty has finally been put on the table.

That’s the real import of a proposal from three legislators to ask voters to strip the PUC of its constitutional authority and allow the legislature to redistribute its power to other state agencies.

This is unlikely to happen, at least soon. A constitutional amendment will need a two-thirds vote; Gov. Brown’s support isn’t needed to get it on the ballot, but his support would probably be required to get such a measure to pass, given the money that would be spent against it.

But this is clearly supposed to be a conversation starter, a way to focus attention on what should be done about the PUC. That’s a conversation that the PUC has resisted, with the help of Gov. Brown, who vetoed transparency bills last year. That resistance to transparency is already backfiring, deepening the commission’s troubles.

And the proposal, by suggesting what amounts to death for the PUC, creates the opportunity for a big conversation. California should use the scandals at the commission as an opportunity to take a fresh look at the question of what is the best way to regulate the things the PUC regulates in the 21st century.

My hope is that will lead to something new – either a very different PUC, or an entirely new approach, using new or different agencies. Now is the time for conversation, thinking and new ideas.