PROVIDENCE – Government watchdog group Common Cause Rhode Island is working to close a loophole in state ethics rules that makes lawmakers immune to ethics complaints, The Associated Press reported last week.
The nonprofit proposed a legislative resolution last week calling for a state constitutional amendment that would ensure the R.I. 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.
According to the AP, ethics watchdogs say the loophole allows lawmakers to vote or sponsor bills to advance their own interests. •