- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Top Rhode Island lawmakers are moving quickly to get an ethics reform initiative on the November ballot.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello made a rare appearance Tuesday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

His legislation seeks voter approval of a constitutional amendment that would allow the state’s Ethics Commission to investigate lawmakers for potential conflicts of interest.

It would restore powers taken from the commission by a 2009 court ruling.

Mattiello and Democratic Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed jointly introduced the legislation last week.

It has the backing of open government advocates, but the state’s Republican Party says it falls short by imposing a moratorium on ethics complaints before elections.

Rep. Michael Marcello, a Scituate Democrat, has sponsored a similar, competing bill without the campaign season blackout.

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