Move to restore Ethics Commission oversight of General Assembly looks dead for 2012

Jun 11, 2012

Efforts to give voters the option of restoring oversight of the General Assembly by the state Ethics Commission are going nowhere fast in the close of the legislative session.

As RIPR reported earlier this session, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed said she supported bolstering  the commission’sconflict of interest oversight of lawmakers — but not at the cost of weakening speech-in-debate protection for lawmakers.

Reform groups like Common Cause of RI say voters should have the choice through a ballot question of whether to restore Ethics’ oversight of the legislature. The commission’s ability to police legislative behavior was effectively ended by a court challenge by former Senate president William Irons.

The issue hasn’t moved past this fundamental conflict between the two sides, so it appears voters won’t have the chance to weigh in on strengthening the Ethics Commission until 2014 at the earliest.