March 27, 2020 •

Rhode Island General Assembly Cancels Sessions For Another Week

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Rhode Island Skyline

Lawmakers have extended the postponement of the legislative session to contain the spread of COVID-19. General Assembly sessions and committee hearings for the week of March 30 to April 3 have been canceled. This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

Lawmakers have extended the postponement of the legislative session to contain the spread of COVID-19.

General Assembly sessions and committee hearings for the week of March 30 to April 3 have been canceled.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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March 23, 2020 •

Rhode Island Governor to Postpone Presidential Primary

Rhode Island State House

In response to COVID-19 concerns, the Board of Elections voted to request Gov. Gina Raimondo postpone the presidential primary from April 28 to June 2. The board also requested the June presidential primary be a substantially vote-by-mail election. On March […]

In response to COVID-19 concerns, the Board of Elections voted to request Gov. Gina Raimondo postpone the presidential primary from April 28 to June 2.

The board also requested the June presidential primary be a substantially vote-by-mail election.

On March 23, Gov. Raimondo has indicated her intent to follow the Board of Election’s recommendations and issue an executive order to reschedule the election.

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March 20, 2020 •

Rhode Island General Assembly Postpones Session for Another Week

Rhode Island State House

Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio, in collaboration with the Department of Health, have announced sessions and all committee hearings for the week of March 23 to March 27 have been […]

Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio, in collaboration with the Department of Health, have announced sessions and all committee hearings for the week of March 23 to March 27 have been canceled.

The General Assembly had previously canceled sessions for the week of March 16 to March 20 due to COVID-19.

This does not affect any lobbyist reporting.

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March 16, 2020 •

Rhode Island Legislative Leaders Announce One Week Closure

Rhode Island State House

On March 13, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick Ruggerio announced General Assembly sessions and hearings are canceled for the week of March 16 to March 20 due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. All legislative […]

On March 13, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick Ruggerio announced General Assembly sessions and hearings are canceled for the week of March 16 to March 20 due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

All legislative offices are closed to allow the Department of Administration to clean the State House.

Legislative leaders will monitor the developing situation to determine if future steps are required.

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December 18, 2019 •

Special Election Scheduled for Rhode Island House Seat

Former Rep. Shelby Maldonado

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea has announced special election dates for Rhode Island House District 56. The seat became vacant when Rep. Shelby Maldonado, a Providence Democrat, resigned to be Hispanic Outreach Director for the American Israeli Public Affairs […]

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea has announced special election dates for Rhode Island House District 56.

The seat became vacant when Rep. Shelby Maldonado, a Providence Democrat, resigned to be Hispanic Outreach Director for the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Assuming more than one candidate from either major party qualifies for the ballot, the special primary election will be held on Tuesday, February 4.

The general election will be held on Tuesday, March 3.

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November 26, 2019 •

Conservative Groups Challenge Rhode Island Campaign Finance Law

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Rhode Island Skyline

Two conservative groups are asking a federal judge to strike down Rhode Island campaign finance laws that make them report political advertising and identify donors. Rhode Island’s Gaspee Project and the Illinois Opportunity Project filed a lawsuit against the Rhode […]

Two conservative groups are asking a federal judge to strike down Rhode Island campaign finance laws that make them report political advertising and identify donors.

Rhode Island’s Gaspee Project and the Illinois Opportunity Project filed a lawsuit against the Rhode Island Board of Elections in U.S. District Court arguing that paid political messaging not coordinated with a specific campaign is protected free speech that should not be subject to state financial disclosure laws.

The suit claims the disclosure laws regarding campaign contributions are unconstitutional and that revealing the identity of donors can expose them to retribution, making them less likely to donate.

The Rhode Island law requires any group that makes more than $1,000 in independent expenditures not coordinated with a campaign to report them to the Board of Elections, list what candidate or referendum is involved, list all individual donors who gave more than $1,000 that election cycle, and list the top five donors.

Supporters of the disclosure law believe it will survive the challenge because federal courts around the U.S. have upheld similar disclosure provisions.

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August 9, 2019 •

Providence Special Election Dates Set

Providence City Hall - Kenneth C. Zirkel

A special election for the Providence City Council Ward 10 seat has been set for November 5, with a primary on October 8. Luis Aponte resigned from the Ward 10 seat after pleading no contest to embezzling money from his […]

A special election for the Providence City Council Ward 10 seat has been set for November 5, with a primary on October 8.

Luis Aponte resigned from the Ward 10 seat after pleading no contest to embezzling money from his campaign.

The Board of Elections announced potential candidates must declare their candidacy on August 29 and 30.

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November 7, 2018 •

Rhode Island Governor Wins Second Term

Incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo has easily won reelection, despite a crowded field vying for her office. Gov. Raimondo faced Republican Allan Fung, three independents, and one minor candidate who was arrested in October for possession of 48 pounds of marijuana. […]

Incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo has easily won reelection, despite a crowded field vying for her office.

Gov. Raimondo faced Republican Allan Fung, three independents, and one minor candidate who was arrested in October for possession of 48 pounds of marijuana.

Despite the crowd, Raimondo still garnered almost 53 percent of the vote, with Fung a distant second at 37 percent.

Raimondo made job creation a priority in her first term. Unemployment has dropped from the highest in the nation to being in step with the national average in her first four years.

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January 15, 2018 •

Rhode Island Special Election Called for April 3

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has scheduled a special election for April 3, following the resignation of former state Sen. Jamie Doyle. Doyle, who represented Senate District 8, unexpectedly stepped down from office citing personal reasons stemming from […]

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea has scheduled a special election for April 3, following the resignation of former state Sen. Jamie Doyle.

Doyle, who represented Senate District 8, unexpectedly stepped down from office citing personal reasons stemming from his struggle with alcohol.

A primary election will be held on February 27 if more than one candidate from either party qualifies to run for the empty seat.

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September 20, 2017 •

Rhode Island Legislature Meeting in Rare Fall Session

Rhode Island lawmakers returned this week to work through legislation abandoned by the General Assembly’s abrupt recess in June amid a budget dispute. The General Assembly is considering a handful of bills including legislation requiring paid time off for workers […]

Rhode Island lawmakers returned this week to work through legislation abandoned by the General Assembly’s abrupt recess in June amid a budget dispute.

The General Assembly is considering a handful of bills including legislation requiring paid time off for workers who call in sick. There is no recess date planned.

The Legislature is scheduled for final adjournment on January 2, 2018.

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January 20, 2017 •

RI Bill Bans Lobbyists from Making Political Contributions to Lawmakers During First Six Months of a Session

A bill introduced in the Rhode Island House earlier this month would prohibit lobbyists from making any political contribution to any member of the General Assembly in any year during the period from January 1 through July 1, unless the […]

Seal of Rhode IslandA bill introduced in the Rhode Island House earlier this month would prohibit lobbyists from making any political contribution to any member of the General Assembly in any year during the period from January 1 through July 1, unless the Legislature has adjourned its business for the year prior to July 1 of the session year.

House Bill 5036, introduced by Representatives John Lombardi and Raymond A. Hull, amends Rhode Island Revised Statute §22-10, a part of the lobbying law repealed and replaced on January 1, 2017, with the Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act. The Act repealed the lobbying laws in Title 22 and Title 42 of the state’s statutes and enacted a new consolidated code section covering both the legislative and executive branches of government.

The bill is currently in the House Judiciary committee and would take effect upon its passage.

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January 3, 2017 •

2017 Begins with a New Lobbying Law for Rhode Island

On January 1, the Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act took effect. The Act repeals the lobbying laws in Title 22 and Title 42 in the state’s statutes and enacts a new consolidated code section covering both the legislative and executive […]

Seal of Rhode IslandOn January 1, the Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act took effect. The Act repeals the lobbying laws in Title 22 and Title 42 in the state’s statutes and enacts a new consolidated code section covering both the legislative and executive branches of government.

Among the changes in the new law are the simplification of lobbyists’ reporting requirements, an increase in penalties for failing to comply with lobbying requirements, and the allowance for more investigative and administrative authority for enforcing the lobbying laws, including administrative subpoena power.

 

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November 9, 2016 •

Rhode Island Ethics Commission Constitutional Amendment Passes

On November 8, Rhode Island voters approved a constitutional amendment giving the Ethics Commission the ability to investigate and prosecute state lawmakers for ethics violations. Question 2, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission Amendment is aimed at deterring unethical behavior in […]

Seal of Rhode IslandOn November 8, Rhode Island voters approved a constitutional amendment giving the Ethics Commission the ability to investigate and prosecute state lawmakers for ethics violations. Question 2, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission Amendment is aimed at deterring unethical behavior in the Legislature and will go into effect January 3, 2017. The amendment requires lawmakers to disclose potential conflicts and tightens rules regarding formal ethics complaints.

The Rhode Island Ethics Commission previously oversaw issues of misconduct in the General Assembly, but lost the authority in a 2009 court ruling.

The constitutional amendment passed 77.7 percent to 22.3 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

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November 3, 2016 •

Proposed Regulations Offered for New Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act

On November 9, a public hearing will be held regarding proposed regulations for the new Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act. The hearing will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the State House, Room 313. Additionally, a public […]

Rhode Island State CapitolOn November 9, a public hearing will be held regarding proposed regulations for the new Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act. The hearing will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in the State House, Room 313.

Additionally, a public comment period is open until November 27.

Senate Bill 2361 and House Bill 7388, both officially signed into law on June 13, repeal the current lobbying laws in Title 22 and Title 42 in the state’s statutes and enact the new act. Among the changes are the simplification of lobbyists’ reporting requirements, an increase in penalties for failing to comply with lobbying requirements, and the allowance for more investigative and administrative authority for enforcing the lobbying laws, including administrative subpoena power.

The Rhode Island Lobbying Reform Act takes effect on January 1, 2017. If passed, the new regulations will take effect on January 2, 2017.

Photo of the Rode Island State Capitol by Garrett A. Wollman on Wikimedia Commons.

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