RI Rank published it’s latest rankings segment last night, Open Government and Ethics Voting Record for the Rhode Island Senate. The results are a welcome contrast from past segments in which the Senate overall fared poorly on their environmental record and civil liberties record. Over half achieved an “excellent” score and just 18% scored poorly. However, the majority of these poor scorers were members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which single-handedly took down a large percentage of good-government bills supported by Common Cause of RI.
“One repeating theme we’ve seen since RI Rank began publishing it’s rankings in early 2020 is the large number of good bills, supported by non-partisan organizations like Common Cause and the ACLU, that get shelved by committees, on direction from leadership. When this happens, the full Senate does not get to vote on them, and we are left with a smaller sampling of votes on which to rank legislators”, RI Rank director Greg Brailsford said in a statement to Uprise RI.
By finally holding legislators accountable for committee votes, RI Rank is hopeful that this will lead to meaningful change in the use of group-think in committee votes and the “Held for further study” maneuver. Brailsford added, “When you have a genuine “good government” bill with very little reason to oppose it, and all seven committee members vote to table it permanently, something is not right there. Either they have been told to vote a certain way, or they aren’t familiar enough with the bill and just vote alongside everyone else. There should be accountability for this.”
Senators Adam Satchell and Sam Bell achieved the highest scores possible and you can review the full list at RIRank.com.
Additionally, RI Rank has announced it will be making their Overall Rankings page available months earlier than scheduled, in order to provide voters with an easy reference point to contact their legislators by email, phone, or social media. “We are doing this because as all of Rhode Island is witnessing right now during the COVIDF-19 pandemic, the General Assembly is asleep at the wheel. Instead of working to convene remotely and create a relief package for Rhode Islanders, they are doing nothing at all. We feel perhaps their constituents may want to get in touch with them about this, and this page will be the one source with all of their contact info in one location.” RI Rank expects this page to be ready within days.
RI Rank is expected to publish the RI House Open Government and Ethics Rankings segment next week.