- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A state Senator is proposing tweaks to Rhode Island’s Constitution to close a loophole that shields most legislative activities from the scrutiny of the state Ethics Commission.

Democratic Sen. James Sheehan of North Kingstown said Wednesday that his proposed amendments would allow the Ethics Commission to pursue complaints against lawmakers prompted by their legislative conduct. The other would allow legislative leaders to recommend commission nominees to the governor.

In 2009 the state Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers were immune to ethics complaints prompted by their votes or comments during legislative debates because of a constitutional provision protecting lawmakers from harassment for votes or debate. Efforts to close the loophole since have failed.

Voters would have to approve the amendments.


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