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McKiernan on Why the RI Ethics Commission Reform is Needed—on GoLocal LIVE

Friday, May 18, 2018

 

Rep Dan McKiernan

Representative Dan McKiernan joined GoLocal LIVE at the Rhode Island State House to talk about the legislation he introduced to make the Rhode Island Ethics Commission put all the Rhode Island elected and appointed officials filings online, after a GoLocal investigation found that the Ethics Commission had no way of tracking its filings, when it took days to discover that the former Coventry Town Manager had never filed an ethics form. 

On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved the bill introduced by McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence) that would give the public easier access to the financial statements of public officials. The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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.”

 

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