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5/11/2016 Rep. Coughlin applauds and supports proposed Ethics Commission reform
STATE HOUSE – Rep. David A. Coughlin Jr. (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) has signed onto and fully supports legislation (2016-H 8189) sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) to broaden the powers of the state’s Ethics Commission by eliminating legislative immunity from Ethics Commission oversight through a constitutional amendment.

“Reinstating the power of the Ethics Commission over the General Assembly is long overdue and I am proud to support this necessary and important reform measure.  The citizens of District 60 and the state deserve accountability when self-serving elected officials break the public’s trust and this legislation loudly sends the message that there is no place in the General Assembly for those who seek to prosper off of the backs of the taxpayers,” said Representative Coughlin. 

If passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, the proposal would place a referendum on the November ballot to remove legislative immunity from the state’s constitution.  The proposal also includes additional changes to the Ethics Commission and Ethics Code.  The legislation requires two-thirds of the commission members to change any rule or regulation of the commission.  Individuals will also be prohibited from filing a complaint with the commission once the filing period begins for a given election in order to prevent frivolous complaints and the politicization of the Ethics Commission.

The Ethics Commission legislation is the latest of several reforms calling for more transparency at the legislature.  Last year, the House of Representatives approved sweeping campaign finance reforms to increase disclosure of campaign account activity.  Candidates and office holders are now required to file annual bank statements, maintain separate campaign accounts, and appoint a treasurer if annual account activity exceeds $10,000.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903