I’m writing in support of amending the proposed rules of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Rules are frequently suspended at the end of the session. The representatives work late into the night and have little time to consider the bills being voted on. The rules should change to allow for the temporary suspension of rules only by a vote of two-thirds of the representatives.

Representatives are required to receive amendments before a vote, but some amendments are provided only moments before, leaving no time for any of the members to read the amendment and make a thoughtful decision. The rules should change to require that all proposed amendments be posted online and made available for 48 hours prior to any vote.

The current proposal allows the primary sponsor of a bill to petition the members of the House to move a bill to the floor for a vote if a majority of representatives sign the petition. Currently, these petitions are required to be held by the recording clerk. The rules should change to allow the prime sponsor of the bill to circulate the petition.

The current proposal allows committees to vote to move a bill to the House floor for a vote or shelve the bill for further study. A disproportionate number of bills are held for further study and die without a vote. The rules should change to eliminate the option to recommend that the bill be held for further study.

Bethany Foster

Bristol