RI lawmakers to vote on ethics bill

Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island lawmakers are preparing to debate a constitutional amendment that would allow them to be prosecuted for their votes by the state Ethics Commission.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to authorize a ballot question that, if approved by voters, would restore the panel's authority to prosecute lawmakers for conflict of interest on the basis of votes they cast.

The state Supreme Court last year ruled last year that lawmakers are free to vote however they choose without scrutiny from the Ethics Commission, a quasi-judicial panel.

The bill authorizes a constitutional amendment that would be decided by Rhode Island voters in November. It has already been endorsed by the House Judiciary Committee.