Rep. McKiernan introduces bill to make financial disclosure statements available online
STATE HOUSE — With the support of House leadership, Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence) has introduced legislation that would give the public easier access to the financial statements of public officials.
The bill (2018-H 8042) would require that the Rhode Island Ethics Commission make all financial statements required of certain public officials available online for public inspection.
“The General Assembly has passed several laws in an effort to make state government more transparent and accountable,” said Representative McKiernan. “So much of the state’s business, from license forms to every last step in the legislative process is just a mouse click away. There’s no reason that financial reports should be an exception to that rule.”
All elected and appointed officials in the state, as well as any state employee with a major decision-making position in a state agency are required to file financial reports with the Ethics Commission. The legislation, which would apply to all financial statements required to be filed by April 27 and thereafter, would require the commission to post the reports on its website within two business days after the reports are received.
“The Ethics Commission, like all departments and agencies throughout the state, should have public records accessible on their websites,” said Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). “As public servants, we are all required to fill out the Yearly Financial Disclosure Statements and the public should not be forced to obtain them only during business hours.”
The bill, which is cosponsored by Speaker Mattiello and Representatives Susan Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol), Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, South Kingstown) and Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903