Power to the Leadership

In contrast to the promise of more open government in the Republican-controlled U.S. House that I noted earlier, this head-turner came via GoLocalProv today:

[Newly appointed Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Peter] Palumbo [D, Cranston] said he has just started poring through all the rules, but he already has some ideas about what he would like to see changed. For one, he’d like to tweak a rule that allows a state rep to yank a bill that is blocked in committee as long as he or she gets enough of their fellow reps to sign a petition. Palumbo, who at first liked the rule as a freshman lawmaker, said it is better for bills to go through the thorough vetting process of committees before making it to the House floor.

Killing legislation in committees is one of the key ways in which the political establishment keeps a firm grip on power in Rhode Island. It certainly is not a good sign that this is a rule high on Palumbo’s list for this legislative session.

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