Introduced By: Senators Irons, Badeau, Paiva Weed, Lenihan and Goodwin
Date Introduced : February 5, 1998
RESOLVED, That while the Rhode Island state senate has brought senate conduct of the state's business into substantial compliance with the state Open Meetings Law, and that while the several senate committees have, despite an increasing workload, made steady progress in the past six (6) years in this regard it is recognized that continuing efforts are required and always will be required, therefore, a special senate commission be and the same is hereby created consisting of fifteen (15) members to be appointed by the senate majority leader: six (6) members of the commission shall be chairs of senate committees or their designees; three (3) shall be senators of the minority party; five (5) members shall be members of the general public, two (2) with working knowledge of the legislative process; and one (1) member from the secretary of state's office.
The purpose of said commission shall be to study the work of the senate and make recommendations to promote greater citizen participation and the most efficient operations, and in particular to determine the causes and remedies if violations of the letter and spirit of the Open Meetings Law occurs.
The commission shall consider testimony from members of the public as part of its study.
The commission shall consider if there are any barriers to public involvement and conduct a thorough review of legislation in a more deliberate manner. All avenues of perceived improvements shall be considered in the deliberations of the commission, and most importantly by reviewing the types of legislation introduced to determine if there are any matters coming before the body because of tradition or antiquated legal decision which can be removed from the process such as:
(1) corporate charter reinstatements
(2) local bond issues wherein local referenda are involved
(3) memorial resolutions of condolences and congratulations
Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at the call of the senate majority leader and organize and shall select from among the legislators a chairperson. 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 joint committee on legislative services is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters for said commission; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the senate on or before June 1, 1998 and said commission shall expire on August 1, 1998.