RI House Republicans move to restore “Checks and Balances” in Governor’s State of Emergency

From the Caucus:

Rhode Island House Republicans will submit legislation to ensure proper checks and balances on the Governor’s powers during a declared State of Emergency. These measures address the gaping holes in our emergency statutes that have been exposed by the past eight months of government by executive order with scarce legislative involvement.  

The first proposed bill will establish in law a new bi-partisan Permanent Joint Disaster Oversight Committee, comprised of members from both the House and the Senate. This committee will be required to regularly meet during a declared state of emergency to review the policies and actions of the Governor. The Committee will have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.

The second proposed bill will amend the Declaration of Emergency statute (§ 30-15-9) by requiring legislative action to continue a declared state of emergency past 90-days. 

The House Republican Caucus issued the following statement regarding this action:

Rhode Island has been without a legislative branch of state government for the past eight months.

Rather than elected lawmakers passing laws, we are governed by a succession of executive orders issued by Governor Raimondo. Many of these executive orders are legislative in nature because they deeply affect our personal lives, including; our freedom to associate in our own homes, to practice our religion, to bury our departed loved ones, and to make a living. 

Additionally, the General Assembly has failed to exercise its basic constitutional oversight function of the Governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including: for our seniors dying in our nursing homes; our children failing with remote education; our struggling over-regulated businesses, and our declining economy. Sadly, Speaker Mattiello stated last week that his secret closed-door meetings with Governor Raimondo and Senate President Ruggierio is an appropriate level of oversight, and those that disagree are “political noise” that want Rhode Island to fail for political gain. It is most unfortunate that Speaker Mattiello has failed to lead the House of Representatives during this crisis, and that he has chosen to attack the motivations of those seeking to respect basic constitutional norms. 

Our proposed legislation will require legislative action during declared emergencies, rather than leave it up to the whims of legislative leadership. These proposals will return thoughtful and public engagement to the State House by providing the proper balance of allowing the Governor to respond to an emergency, while at the same time ensuring that basic constitutional checks and balances are upheld. 

The Rhode Island House of Representatives Minority Caucus (Republican) is comprised of the following elected members representing constituents who live in the following districts throughout the Ocean State:  Minority Leader, Blake Filippi, District 36 (Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly, New Shoreham); Minority Whip, Michael Chippendale, District 40 (Foster, Glocester, Coventry); Representative John Lyle, Jr., District 46 (Lincoln, Pawtucket); Representative George Nardone, District 28 (Coventry); Representative Brian Newberry, District 48 (North Smithfield, Burrillville);  Representative David Place, District 47 (Burrillville, Glocester); Senior Deputy Minority Leader Justin Price, District 39 (Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond); Deputy Minority Leader Robert Quattrocchi, District 41 (Scituate, Cranston); Deputy Minority Whip Sherry Roberts, District 29 (Coventry, West Greenwich).

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  1. Kathleen Bradley-Tordoff on November 9, 2020 at 4:19 am

    It’s about time!
    We Republicans have been forgotten in this Democratic controlled state of RHode Island and Providence Plantations. We have your backs! This is a call to arms! How could you have just sat back and let this happen to us! We voted and have been forgotten by our RI representatives. Raimondo, White House, Langevine, Cicilline…. they do not speak for me. They have brought ruin to our beautiful state and squandered our tax dollars. And President Trump is still our President!

  2. Dean on November 6, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    It would seem appropriate to start a Recall Petition:

    “The citizens of Rhode Island are granted the authority to perform a recall election by the Rhode Island Constitution Article 4 Section 1.”


    In Rhode Island, an official may be recalled if he or she “has been indicted or informed against for a felony, convicted of a misdemeanor, or against whom a finding of probable cause of violation of the code of ethics has been made by the ethics commission.”

    Is it a felony to violate one’s oath of office? While you would think so, first it has to be proven. Code of ethics?! Is it unethical to issue executive orders beyond the time allowed under emergency powers? Again it would seem so, but it has to be proven. Amazing that “failure to abide by existing law” is not cited. That would make a recall petition ideal. In the proposed bill above, include language to amend reasons for recall to include language about violating the Federal or State Constitutions or any other existing RI law.

  3. Mary Ryan on October 31, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Perhaps if the General Assembly AND the Governor followed the tenets of the U.S. Constitution and the Rhode Island Constitution, they would UNDERSTAND their obligations. this is just another dog and pony show reflecting Partisan Politics – and has NOTHING to do with the Existing Rule of Law that is being ignored by all. Remember the old saying. “Ignorance is no excuse” for not following the law. Imagine – the lawmakers having no understanding of the existing law. What’s wrong with that picture?
    Mary Ryan

  4. Ellen on October 31, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    We are non-partisan and support these efforts while demanding an immediate concurrent resolution in the GA to terminate the current (and all perpetual) state(s) of emergency and for the state to immediately cease and desist de facto harassment of persons in compliance with mandated exceptions to face coverings. Please sign our petition at

  5. Suzanne on October 31, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Why haven’t we filed lawsuits against excessive government overreach, they have in other states and been successful.

  6. Bob on October 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for standing up to our governor and the Democrat party which thinks it is reasonable to keep parents from being spectators to their own children’s outside sporting events here in RI.

    Democrats have gone off the rails!

  7. Linda Cortellesso on October 31, 2020 at 11:01 am

    It’s about time! It is extremely unfortunate that this state has so blindly voted in Democrat candidates that there are a lot of places that don’t even have a Republican choice to put in the legislature. Very frustrating. Hopefully there are enough to have some influence on this states decisions.

    • Francine Hopkins on November 3, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      Finally!! Let’s stop her in her tracks!! We are tired of her draconian rules and fake laws!!!