May 12, 2016 •
Legislation Introduced to Allow Rhode Island Ethics Commission to Prosecute Lawmakers
On May 10, 2016, legislation was introduced in both the Rhode Island House and Senate calling for a voter-approved amendment to the state’s constitution granting more power to the Ethics Commission.
House Joint Resolution 8189, introduced by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, and Senate Joint Resolution 2953, introduced by Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, grant the Ethics Commission power to prosecute ethics violations by lawmakers. Currently they are exempt from the Ethics Commission’s authority. The matching resolutions also prohibit the acceptance of complaints and initiation of investigations alleging a violation of the code of ethics by a candidate during the period beginning on the first day of declarations of candidacy for the office sought by the candidate and ending the day after the election for that office during the same year.
If approved by voters, the law would take effect on January 3, 2017.
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