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2/2/2018 Sheehan appointed to commission to study line item veto, gubernatorial runoff elections
STATE HOUSE — Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, Providence, North Providence) has appointed Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) to a special legislative commission to study the effects of enacting a line item veto.

The commission was created last session by a joint resolution (2017-S 0961) of the Senate and House of Representatives. Its purpose will be to make a comprehensive study of the policy, political, and fiscal considerations of a line item veto in Rhode Island, including an examination of the constitutional balance of power between the three branches of government, the roles of the Rhode Island legislative and executive branches of government in a modern society and economy, including the relative relationship and responsiveness of each branch to the public

“The legislative branch in Rhode Island has historically had a disproportionate amount of power in relation to the executive and judicial branches of our government,” said Senator Sheehan, who has submitted legislation in the past calling for a line item veto.  “Providing the governor with a line item veto — effectively giving the governor the authority to surgically remove wasteful spending and/or imprudent measures from bills — could help level the playing field by reducing the power of the legislature versus the governor. I look forward to closely examining all the issues surrounding a line item veto along with the other members of the commission.”

Sheehan’s senatorial colleagues, Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston), who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight, and Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield) have also been appointed to the commission, along with others who were appointed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House.

In addition to the line item veto, the commission will also examine the cost and benefits of a constitutional amendment that would require a run-off election for Governor when one candidate does not receive a majority of the votes cast in a general election.

Every state constitution empowers the governor to veto an entire bill passed by the legislature. Many constitutions now expand the executive's veto powers by also authorizing methods of veto that permit particular portions of a bill — particularly in state budgets — to be rejected or changed. 

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903