2007 -- H 6549

Enacted 06/20/07



H O U S E  R E S O L U T I O N




     Introduced By: Representatives Dennigan, Almeida, Church, Singleton, and Kennedy

     Date Introduced: June 19, 2007



     WHEREAS, Successful economic development is critical for the State of Rhode Island to

maintain and increase the quality of life of its citizens, the success of its businesses, and the

effectiveness of its institutions by providing better opportunities for employment with rising

incomes; and

     WHEREAS, The key goals of successful economic development are to improve the

state’s economy by building a solid foundation that combines a better-trained workforce, needed

financial resources, and advancing technological prospects; and

     WHEREAS, Achieving these goals will assure better living standards for our citizens

through employment in meaningful jobs with the prospect for lifelong personal advancement; and

     WHEREAS, Attainment of these goals will at once decrease the need of our citizens for

income and other welfare assistance while providing ascending personal income and spending;


     WHEREAS, Rising income, spending, and economic prosperity itself will increase tax

revenues that provide the fiscal wherewithal to fund the state budget; and

     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island legislature has created and charged the Economic

Development Corporation and its subsidiaries, including the Quonset Development Corporation,

to carry out these critically important functions related to economic development; and

     WHEREAS, It is the constitutional duty of the legislature to conduct oversight of the

executive branch and the various boards, commissions, agencies and quasi-public corporations,

including those charged with economic development; and

     WHEREAS, The scope of said legislative oversight includes evaluating the goals of these

entities, their performance in achieving these goals, and the degree of success in carrying out

programs in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That a House Oversight Commission be and the same is hereby created

consisting of eleven (11) members: eleven (11) of whom shall be members of the House of

Representatives, not more than eight (8) from the same political party, to be appointed by the

Speaker of the House.

      The purpose of said commission shall be to promote economic development, business

and job growth and assure the people of Rhode Island that their economic development entities

promote and encourage the preservation, expansion, and sound development of new and existing

industry, business, commerce, agriculture, tourism, and recreational facilities in the state, which

will promote the economic development of the state and general welfare of its citizens.

      To carry out its duties effectively, the commission shall be empowered to conduct

legislative oversight of the accountability and performance of the Economic Development

Corporation and its subsidiaries and all other departments, boards, commissions, quasi-public

corporations and statutory entities that deal directly or indirectly with economic development

(hereinafter collectively referred to as (“entities”) that exercise executive governmental functions

dealing with or affecting economic development operations, policies, statutes or regulations of the

State of Rhode Island.

      In addition to its general and plenary oversight authority, the commission may:

     (a) Hold hearings;

     (b) Conduct investigations, audits and inquiries;

     (c) Recommend legislation to other committees of the House;

     (d) Report its findings to the House for further action if necessary;

      (e) Review all rules and regulations proposed or promulgated under the Administrative

Procedures Act and propose appropriate and necessary rules and regulations for promulgation by

the appropriate agency or department;

     (f) Require that the entities periodically submit operations, policy and budgetary plans

and goals for review and oversight by the commission;

     (g) Establish and execute procedures and processes to oversee each entity’s operational

performance to assess the attainment of their respective goals;

     (h) Recommend actions to the House when it is necessary to modify, enhance,

reorganize, eliminate or reassign the functions, work scope and powers of these entities;

     (i) Subject to paragraph (m) hereinafter provided, the commission shall have access to all

records, reports, audits, reviews, papers, books, documents, recommendations, correspondence

(including information relative to the purchase of services or anticipated purchase of services)

from any entity over which oversight is provided and any other data and material that is

maintained by or available to any such entity regardless of the media in which it is maintained,

which in any way relates to the programs and operations of the State of Rhode Island;

     (j) The commission may request information, cooperation and assistance from any state

agency as well as the entities as may be necessary for carrying out its duties and responsibilities.

Upon receipt of such request, each person in charge of the governing body shall furnish to the

commission such information, cooperation and assistance, including information relative to the

purchase of services or anticipated purchase of services from any contractor by any public body

within ten (10) business days of receipt of its request, or at such other time as the request may

require. If the research for the information requested cannot be complied within the ten (10)

business days, the senior official of the governmental agency must notify the commission before

the expiration of the ten (10) business days as to the reason that the request cannot be complied

within the time frame provided in this section and shall provide a specific date for expected


     (k) The commission may initiate and conduct investigations, audits (performance or

financial) and compliance reviews and shall prepare detailed reports to the general assembly

relating to findings and conclusions concerning the administration of the programs and operations

of the entity over which oversight is conducted and may conduct an examination of any public


     (l) The commission may request the production, on a voluntary basis, of testimony or

documents from any entity over which oversight is conducted which relate to actions or matters

that pertain to such entity’s duties and responsibilities;

     (m) Commission meetings shall be open and its records open except to the extent the

commission obtains documents that are not public records under Rhode Island General Laws

section 38-1-1.1, et seq. or are documents protected by a legally recognized privilege, the

commission shall protect such privacy interest or privilege and may enter into binding agreements

with the entity producing the documents to protect interests or privilege; and

     (n) The commission may conduct its business and shall retain full powers regardless of

whether or not the general assembly is in session.

     Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at the call

of the Speaker of the House and organize and shall select a chairperson. The Speaker of the

House shall appoint the vice-chairperson and secretary of the commission. The chairperson may,

with the approval of the Speaker, establish subcommittees to aid the full commission in

performing its functions. Six members present shall constitute a quorum. Vacancies in said

commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.

     The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.

     All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,

documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or

desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.

     The Speaker of the House is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters

for said commission. The commission shall be provided with legal counsel and other staff as

appropriate to carry out its duties and functions. With the approval of the Speaker of House after

written application by the chairperson, the commission may hire and retain experts and

consultants to advise it and if necessary provide testimony upon matters requiring specialized

education, training experience and/or expertise; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the commission shall annually report its findings and

recommendations to the House of Representatives.