Warwick, RI –   In an opinion column, entitled “Democracy at the State House” published this week in the Cranston Herald and Warwick Beacon , R.I. Republican National Committeeman Steven Frias recommends significant changes to the Rules governing the R.I. House.  


Here is an excerpt:


“The House Rules should be changed back to how they existed prior to 2005 when committees elected their chairman, committees could not hold bills indefinitely, and 40 percent of House members could sign a petition to have a bill go to a vote on the House floor.  An additional rule change would be to require committee memberships to be elected by a vote of the entire House, which was a rule followed by the Rhode Island Senate during the most of the 20 th century.  Lastly, a constitutional amendment should be presented to the voters to require the General Assembly to comply with the Open Meeting Act like other public bodies in Rhode Island.  


There has long been dissatisfaction with how the General Assembly operates.  For example, in middle of the 20 th century, the Providence Journal published cartoons and editorials which depicted state legislators as sheep voting “baa” in favor of the House Rules and compared “rank and file” legislators to “helpless dummies.”  Reforms could change this. Until then, the General Assembly will continue to be known as a place run by Democrats, but not run democratically; a public body which passes laws affecting the public with little notice to the public.”


A link to the column is here: