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House Panel Passes Revised Ethics Bill

House Panel Passes Revised Ethics Bill

NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A legislative panel has advanced a measure that's designed to restore ethics commission oversight over Rhode Island legislators but that good-government groups say is flawed.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the resolution Monday. It has been approved by the Senate.

The ethics commission supports it, calling it an improvement over the status quo.

Common Cause supported an earlier version but opposes the revised one. Its executive director says the bill carves out an exception for lawmakers that strays too far from the legislation's original purpose and allows an unnecessary new type of appeal.

A 2009 state Supreme Court ruling exposed a loophole in the constitution's "speech in debate" clause that effectively shields lawmakers from ethics commission oversight.

The measure calls for a constitutional amendment that would be put to voters.


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