How Your Legislator Voted on Relieving Your City or Town From Unfunded Mandates

After the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed this year’s set of individual budget articles, Representative John Loughlin of Tiverton/Little Compton/Portsmouth introduced an amendment to add an additional article to relieve cities and towns from certain unfunded education mandates (pg. 162)…

Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, whether contained in the appropriations for the support of the state for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, or in any general or public law, rule or regulation, the general assembly hereby relieves the school committee and city or town council of any city or town, to the extent that expenditure for compliance would exceed the city or town’s maximum spending level permitted by law, from compliance with any unfunded mandates with the exception of those mandates pertaining to transportation, transportation safety and fire safety.
The amendment failed.
Representative Karen MacBeth of Cumberland then proposed a similar amendment addressing non-educational mandates on municipalities (pg. 164)…
Notwithstanding any provision of the general or public laws, or any rule or regulation to the contrary, all unfunded state mandates, not attached to federal funds, required of the cities and towns in municipal areas of operation under their jurisdiction are hereby repealed.
This amendment also failed.
52 Representatives voted against relieving cities and towns from unfunded mandates on both the municipal and educational sides…
The Honorable Speaker Fox and Representatives Ajello, Almeida, Caprio, Carnevale, Coderre, Corvese, Costantino, DaSilva, DeSimone, Diaz, Edwards, Fellela, Ferri, Gablinske, Gallison, Gemma, Giannini, Guthrie, Handy, Jackson, Kilmartin, Lally, Marcello, Martin, Mattiello, Melo, Messier, Murphy, Naughton, O’Neill, Pacheco, Palumbo, Petrarca, Pollard, Rice A., Rice M., Ruggiero, San Bento, Segal, Serpa, Shallcross, Silva, Slater, Sullivan, Ucci, Vaudreuil, Walsh, Wasylyk, Williams, Williamson, Winfield.
2 other Representatives voted to lift the the municipal mandates, but not the educational ones…
Fierro, Jacquard.
…and another 3 voted to lift the educational mandates, but not the municipal ones…
Carter, Hearn, Kennedy.
Finally, 13 Representatives voted for both of the unfunded-mandate relief amendments…
Azzinaro, Baldelli-Hunt, Brien, Driver, Ehrhardt, Loughlin, MacBeth, Menard, Newberry, Savage, Schadone, Trillo, Watson.
Rep. Lima voted for lifting educational unfunded mandates and did not vote on the municipal amendment. Rep. McCauley did not vote on the educational amendment and voted against lifting municipal mandates.
It should also be noted that, between this year and last, a substantial number of Representatives changed positions on unfunded mandates. During the 2009 legislative session, Rep. Loughlin had introduced a slightly different version of his amendment addressing educational mandates (pg. 56)…
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, contained in the appropriations for the support of the state for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, any general or public law, rule or regulation, the general assembly hereby relieves the school committee of any city or town from any unfunded mandates with the exception of those mandates pertaining to transportation, transportation safety and fire safety.
Ten Representatives who voted for this amendment in 2009 voted against the similar amendment in 2010…
Edwards, Fierro, O’Neill, Petrarca, Pollard, Rice A, Rice M, Sullivan, Ucci, Winfield.
And on top of this flip-flop, all ten of these Reps voted in favor of reducing the car-tax exemption from its initially proposed new value of $3,000 to just $500, and eight of the ten voted for the final car-tax change Article. In other words, the ten Representatives listed above suddenly decided that they were against increasing municipal budgeting flexibility in the same session they decided to have municipalities assume a larger direct share of their spending. This is the Rhode Island let’s just shift the costs to somebody else and let them worry about it mentality at its worst.
5 other representatives switched their votes the other direction, voting in favor of lifting unfunded educational mandates this year, whilst having voted against lifting them last year…
Carter, Hearn, Kennedy, Lima, Savage.
Finally, the award for the most brazen flip-flop on this issue has to go to Representatives William Murphy, Al Gemma, and Peter Petrarca. In February, these three reps were co-sponsors on a bill identical to the MacBeth amendment
Notwithstanding any provisions of the general or public laws, or any rule or regulation to the contrary all unfunded state mandates required of the cities and towns in municipal areas of operation under their jurisdiction are hereby repealed.
In June, Reps Petrarca, Murphy and Gemma all voted against language they had sponsored just months earlier. I wonder who told them it was time to change their positions.
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David P
David P
10 years ago

What about Malik?

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

And yet, MacBeth was faced with a primary.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

I am real tired of politicians complaining about “unfunded mandates”. Let’s face it, a choice was made to allow regulation of local matters by a distant government (the “State”). Who ever expected them to pay for regulatory compliance?
The state “mandates” that your car pass inspection before you can use the roads. Does anyone expect the state to “fund” the cost of compliance if your car fails to pass? Of course not.
The state “mandates” compliance with the Building Code. Does anyone expect the state to “fund” compliance? Of course not.
Why do local governments expect adequate “funding” when they pass control of local matters to a higher level of government. The higher level of government has its own budget to be concerned with.

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