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House Committee on Rules holds a public meeting, but are they listening?



On Tuesday afternoon the House Committee on Rules heard from the public on H5037 a bill that would amend the House rules slightly, by adding a very incomplete and maybe even dangerous section on sexual harassment. The Bill ignores all the suggestions made by The Reform Caucus, and ignores the suggestions of Republican legislators who have suggested rules changes for years.

The Rules Committee is heavily stacked with close allies to Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston), who removed Representative Katherine Kazarian (Democrat, District 63, East Providence), the one member of the Reform Caucus who has previously sat on the committee.

See: Reform Caucus makes its recommendations for House rules

27 people spoke for changes in the rules. So did many state legislators. No one spoke in favor of the rules as they are. Even so, the committee members seem resolute on ignoring the public’s input, as they have scheduled a meeting for Thursday in which a vote for the rules as they are is likely.

Below is all the testimony presented to the House Rules Committee, beginning with Committee Chair Representative Arthur Corvese (Democrat, District 55, North Providence).

Representative Robert Jacquard (Democrat, District 17, Cranston)

Representative Arthur Handy (Democrat, District 18, Cranston)

Representative Katherine Kazarian (Democrat, District 63, East Providence) is a member of the Reform Caucus.

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Representative Jason Knight (Democrat, District 67, Barrington, Warren) is a member of the Reform Caucus.

Representative Deborah Ruggiero (Democrat, District 74, Jamestown) is a member of the Reform Caucus.

Representative Lauren Carson (Democrat, District 75, Newport) is a member of the Reform Caucus.

Representative Kathleen Fogarty (Democrat, District 35, South Kingstown) is a member of the Reform Caucus.

Representative James McLaughlin (Democrat, District 57, Central Falls)

Gail Harvey, Rhode Island NOW (National Organization for Women).

John Marion, Common Cause Rhode Island

Noel Frias, Young Democrats of Rhode Island

Mikaila Arthur

Debra Kopek

Randall Rose, Rhode Island Rights

Bethany Foster took the General Assembly to task for running their operations poorly.

Alex Kithes, Rhode Islanders for Reform

Nate Carpenter, Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of Rhode Island (RIPDA):

Nicole DiPaolo

Kendra Anderson

Representative Michael Chippendale (Republican, District 40, Coventry, Foster Glocester)

Linda Finn, Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence (RICAGV):

Hilary Levey Friedman, President of Rhode Island NOW:

Portsmouth Town Councilor Mark Ryan:

Marie Hennedy

Michelle McGaw:

Phil West, former executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island:

Wendy Becker:

Larry Fitzmaurice, Portsmouth Concerned Citizens:

Pat Fontes, Rhode Island Rights:

Steve Brown, Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):

Tracy Ramos, Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus:

Roy Streit, Indivisible Rhode Island:

Carrie DiSanto:

“People see the state government of Rhode Island as essentially inefficient, compromised, self-interested, out-of-touch, and corrupt,” said Nathaniel Webb-Hines. “I don’t think this is just a public perception. I think it has to do with transparency and the way you conduct things here at the State House.”

Jan Schapen, Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus:

Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) is a member of the Reform Caucus:

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.