PORTSMOUTH DEMOCRATS SUPPORT REFORM CAUCUS RULES RECOMMENDATIONS
PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee, at their monthly meeting on January 3, 2019, passed a resolution supporting the RI House "Reform Caucus" package of proposed rules changes to address issues with transparency, accountability, and participation.
“Most Rhode Islanders are frustrated with the legislative process in the General Assembly,” said Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee Chair Len Katzman. "Especially in the last days of the session when rules are suspended and bills are changed and pushed through without public comment or time for thoughtful consideration. That's not how our government should work."
The resolution details the four rules changes proposed by the Reform Caucus, which would limit the suspension of rules at the end of the session, require that substitute bills be posted for 48 hours, keep bills alive for the whole two-year term rather than requiring reintroduction, and providing a viable process for a "discharge petition" that would allow a majority to force consideration of bills being bottled up by leadership.
"Portsmouth's Democratic Town Committee is committed to open, transparent government," said Katzman, "And we are proud that two of our town's elected representatives, Susan Donovan (D-68) and Terri Cortvriend (D-72) are members of the Reform Caucus which proposed these reforms. All Rhode Islanders can agree that these reforms will allow our elected officials be more responsive to the people they represent. We stand firmly in support of these reforms and urge all members of the General Assembly to take up these rule changes now, at the start of this session."
PORTSMOUTH DEMOCRATS SUPPORT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE ACT
PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee, at their monthly meeting on January 3, 2019, passed a resolution supporting the RI House and Senate “Reproductive Health Care Act,” (RHCA) bills, which prohibit the state from interfering in a woman’s reproductive decision-making.
“The Town Committee joins the majority of Rhode Islanders who believe that the time has come to pass legislation clearly and unambiguously protecting reproductive rights in our state,” said Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee Chair Len Katzman.
The resolution notes that recent polling shows that Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support keeping abortion safe and legal, and notes the threat posed by the shift in the makeup of the Supreme Court to Roe v. Wade, the 40-year-old decision protecting access to abortion.
The resolution explains that the RHCA, virtually identical to the bill from the 2018 session, places the main principle of Roe v. Wade into Rhode Island law, while repealing outmoded state laws barring abortion.
The Town Committee’s resolution urges all members of the General Assembly to support the Reproductive Health Care Act, and calls on the Democratic majority in particular to take action.
"The state Party platform says that Democrats stand behind the right of every woman to choose," said Katzman. "We call on all Democratic representatives and senators to support RHCA, press leadership to allow the bills out of committee this session, and cast votes supporting women's rights on the floor."
“The time is now," said Katzman. "When rights are at risk, our legislators must stand up for Democratic principles.”