Ruggerio submits legislation to enhance transparency of the I-195 Commission
STATE HOUSE – Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio introduced legislation today to enhance the transparency of I-195 Commission meetings. The bill would result in more meetings and discussions being held in public, and it mandates that commission members must participate in ethics training.
“I sponsored legislation creating the commission back in 2011 because I believed it was critical to have an entity fully devoted to developing the former highway land. In recent years, my disappointment has grown in the manner in which the commission has conducted itself. Decision-making based on secrecy has not served Rhode Island well historically. Rhode Islanders deserve to know that the commission is acting in good faith, in the interest of the public, and in a transparent manner to ensure the best development projects possible are being considered and properly vetted,” said President Ruggerio.
The legislation (2017-S 0850) requires that all meeting shall be open to the public and the bill narrows the scope of when the commission can go into executive, or closed, session.
According to the bill, any closed sessions will need to be audio recorded, and the recording will be publicly available upon a vote of the commission. The legislation mandates that commission members must participate in ethics training. The bill also states that the commission must abide by the provisions of the Open Records Act.
“I understand the need for the commission to go into executive session to consider an offer from a developer and I would not want to jeopardize sensitive negotiations; but all too often the commission seems to be exercising the option to go into executive session for different reasons,” added President Ruggerio.
“I’m pleased to say that this bill adopts the same stricter set of rules utilized by the State of Massachusetts with regard to transparency when conducting real estate transactions. I would also like to thank John Marion from Common Cause who assisted us in drafting this legislation,” stated President Ruggerio.
For more information, contact:
Greg Pare, Press Secretary for the Senate
State House Room 314
Providence, RI 02903