A Cumberland teenager received honors at the Statehouse Thursday for his work to get Rhode Island to ratify the 17th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment allows direct election of U.S. Senators, previously selected by state legislatures. Rhode Island never ratified the amendment when passed in 1912.
17 year old Samuel Ackerman began spearheading efforts pushing legislation to ratify the amendment last year. It passed this session.
At the behest of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Cale Keable, D-Burrillville, the Rhode Island House has finally voted to ratify the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reqired direct election of U.S. Senators.
Before the amendment took effect in 1913, senators were elected by state legislators. That system was widely criticized for breeding corruption as senate aspirants bribed lawmakers to secure the votes needed to win senate seats.