The following is from a press release issued from Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Tiverton, Portsmouth):
Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) has introduced a bill that would require political parties and action committees advocating for any charter-amending question on a ballot to file a report of all the contributions it receives from any one source in excess of $100.
The bill would expand the law to include any town or city charter amendment considered at a Financial Town Meeting in addition to election ballots.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the bill (2012-H 7060) on Wednesday, Feb. 15, around 4:30 p.m. at the Rise of the House in Room 313 of the State House. Edwards on campaign finance reporting.
“It’s very simple,” Edwards said. “This is about increasing transparency. It only makes sense for committees that advocate for a charter question at Financial Town Meetings to file reports, just like with everything else. Sometimes charter questions have the potential to make a major change in how a city or town does business. We need to keep an eye on the local level, not just the state level.”
Co-sponsoring the legislation are Representatives Scott J. Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry), Rene R. Menard (D-Dist. 45, Lincoln, Cumberland), Jeremiah T. O’Grady (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) and Joy Hearn (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence).
Updated on Thursday at 10:22 a.m.
Common Cause Rhode Island released the following statement in support of the bill.
"Common Cause Rhode Island is pleased to support H 7060, a bill that would require spending on political activity to influence a financial town meeting," wrote John Marion. "We have long advocated for greater transparency in the selection of our leaders, and in the processes for influencing their decisions once in office.
"Voters should know who is trying to influence their votes, and citizens should know who is trying to influence their policy makers. This bill, in our view, simply extends the type of disclosure that the General Assembly requires in all other instances where decisions about the allocations of public funds are occurring."