- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Gov. Gina Raimondo plans to propose a package of legislation that she said would promote good government, including a line-item veto and better oversight of Rhode Island campaign finance laws.

The Democrat said in an op-ed in The Providence Journal (https://bit.ly/2mMWGZv ) that she also would push for an overhaul of the system that allows the legislature to dole out grants as part of what she is calling her “Good Government Reform” package, which she plans to roll out this week.

Raimondo wrote that the changes could help address political corruption in the state. In recent years, several elected officials have been forced from office in corruption scandals, including former Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is in federal prison for taking bribe money and spending campaign funds on himself.

Among her proposals, she said she would push for a requirement that the Board of Elections conduct random audits on certain candidates and political action committees. Raimondo said such a requirement could have caught some of Fox’s crimes sooner.

“Transparency and accountability in government will encourage more businesses to invest here, grow here and hire Rhode Islanders,” she wrote.

It’s unclear how much traction Raimondo’s ideas will get in the Democratic-dominated General Assembly. A spokesman for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello tells the Journal the House had received a proposal from the governor.

“These are issues that are being looked at internally, and there are similar bills that have been introduced by House members,” Larry Berman said. “Speaker Mattiello’s attention and primary focus is on eliminating the car tax and giving the citizens the relief they deserve.”

Mattiello, a Cranston Democrat, made a campaign promise to phase out municipal car taxes during his tight re-election campaign. Raimondo has said she wants to reduce car taxes, but her budget proposal would not eliminate them.

Legislation already has been proposed in the House and Senate this year to ask voters whether to amend the state constitution to allow the line-item veto. A proposal in the House would create a special commission to study the line-item veto.

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