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General Assembly Votes to Study Line-Item Veto, Runoff Elections for Governor

Friday, June 30, 2017


Rep. Kenneth Marshall

The General Assembly gave its approval to a joint resolution to form a joint legislative commission to study effects of giving the governor line-item veto power and the ramifications of runoff elections for the governor in situations when no candidate receives a majority.

The resolution is sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi 

“There’s no one-size-fits all approach to enacting these types of changes. States that have a line-item veto or runoff elections do those things in a number of ways. If we want to consider them, we should do our homework to see what options are out there, how they’re working, what parts are not working well, and which approaches might fit Rhode Island,” said Representative Marshall.

The Legislation

The legislation would create a special joint commission to comprehensively study the “policy, political, and fiscal considerations” of a line-item veto in Rhode Island.

“There is a lot of interest in the line-item veto and runoff elections, and these are proposals that deserve our careful consideration. I look forward to the work of this commission in the coming year,” said Senator Lombardi.

The study would include an examination of the constitutional balance of power between the three branches of government in Rhode Island in light of separation of powers and the roles of the legislative and executive branches of government in a modern society and economy, including the relative relationship and responsiveness of each branch to the public and each other with regard to its constitutional duties.

The commission will also examine the cost and benefits, both political and fiscal, to 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.

The Commission

The 12-member commission would consist of three members each from the House of Representatives and the Senate, including one member of the minority party from each chamber; an attorney with a background in philosophy and research of the Rhode Island Constitution and economics, finance and/or political science; a retired educator from one of Rhode Island’s state institutions of higher education; the President of the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants; a retired judge; a former general officer; a representative of a large Rhode Island public service employer that has significant knowledge of the state budget process.

The commission is to provide its report to the General Assembly by April 5, 2018.

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Johnston, Smithfield) and Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket).


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The cost would be roughly $3 million in the FY18 (for the first cohort of students) and then $6 million the following year there are two classes. 

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Also on the chopping block -- funding for the legislative office to the tune of $2 million. 

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WATCH: Opponents of RIPTA Fare Hikes to Rally at RI State House Wednesday Afternoon

Mattiello noted that after the two years is up, it is up to the Governor to find the funding. 

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Unlike the May estimating conference, where Rhode Island revenues were found to be off nearly $100 million plus, the Governor can't say she didn't see this  coming.

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In June, Raimondo called for an increase in medical marijuana dispensaries and an increase in licensing fees to generate $1.5 million in revenue for the state. 

She called for "no less than six licensed compassion centers."

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Davies High School

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Workers will be happy, employers might not. 

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