PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A government watchdog group in Rhode Island is trying again to close a loophole in state ethics rules that makes lawmakers immune to ethics complaints.
Common Cause Rhode Island proposed a legislative resolution last week calling for a state constitutional amendment that would ensure the state’s Ethics Commission can again investigate lawmakers for their votes.
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.
Ethics watchdogs say the loophole allows lawmakers to vote or sponsor bills to advance their own interests.
Similar proposals failed to pass in recent years because of concerns they were overly broad and could prompt frivolous ethics complaints.