General Assembly improves from all-time low on Common Cause scorecard

RHODE ISLAND'S GENERAL ASSEMBLY score improved from an all-time low on Common Cause Rhode Island's 2011-2012 Legislative Scorecard.
Posted 10/25/12

PROVIDENCE – The nonpartisan government watchdog group Common Cause Rhode Island released its 10th Legislative Scorecard on Thursday.

The group’s scorecard, which is released every two years, rates all 113 members of the state’s General Assembly based on votes on government reform.

According to Common Cause, the 2011-2012 General Assembly saw “several significant advances” for open government and campaign transparency and improved from an all-time low on the previous scorecard.

“The legislature passed long-sought changes to the Access to Public Records Act and enacted significant campaign finance disclosure legislation. In the areas of judicial selection and ethics reform, however, we saw little progress,” John Marion, Common Cause Rhode Island executive director, said in an email announcing the report.

To grade the General Assembly members, Common Cause collected the results of 27 Senate votes and 28 House votes that focused on the group’s core issues of campaign finance and election reform, ethics and lobbying reform, judicial selection, open government, and separation of powers.

Using a complex system, the advocacy group came up with a numerical percentage score ranging from zero to 100 for each legislator, with 100 representing total agreement with Common Cause and zero indicating no agreement on the identified issues.

The average score for members of the Senate was 66 percent, with members of the House scoring an average of 68 percent. These are a rise from the all-time lows of 51 percent and 48 percent, respectively, issued on the 2009-2010 scorecard.

In the Senate, Sen. Paul V. Jabour, a Democrat from District 5, was the highest scoring member, with 77 percent. Sen. Bethany L. Moura, a Republican from District 19, scored lowest with 47 percent.

The highest scoring House member was Rep. Maria E. Cimini, a Democrat from District 7, with a score of 85 percent. Rep. Daniel P. Gordon Jr., a Republican from District 71 earned the lowest score of any House member, with 44 percent.

Marion pointed out that neither the Senate nor the House took up a Common Cause initiative to let voters decide if lawmakers should be subject to the jurisdiction of Rhode Island’s Ethics Commission.

To view the full scorecard, click HERE.

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