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6/29/2017 Assembly votes to study line-item veto, runoff elections for governor
STATE HOUSE – With a final vote in the House today, the General Assembly gave its approval to a joint resolution sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi 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.

“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 (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren).

Said Senator Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston), “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.”

The legislation (2017-H 5340A, 2017-S 0961) would create a special joint commission to comprehensively study the “policy, political, and fiscal considerations” of a line-item veto in Rhode Island, including 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 is to 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 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).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923