New report calls out lawmakers for missing votes - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

New report calls out lawmakers for missing votes

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A new report released Monday  by "Watchdog RI" and "The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity" says that one in eight Rhode Island lawmakers missed more than 20 percent of their votes this year. 

Ken Block, Chairman of Watchdog RI blames marathon sessions like the last day of session where he says the house took up 209 pieces of legislation and the senate 141 in less than 48 hours.

"When the rules of operation of the General Assembly make it possible for virtually any representative to miss as many as a third of the votes taken for a year that's a problem with how we operate,” said Block.

Republican Senator Ed O'Neill on the list of lawmakers who missed the most votes. The report puts him at missing 118.

"I was very surprised because I'm virtually never absent. I average less than one day a year,” said O’Neill. "I have to go back and do some fact checking there….the numbers don't make sense."

O'Neill does say that he left the last day of session after midnight missing out on a slew of votes because he didn't feel it was right to vote on laws he never had a chance to read.

"We have insanity at the state house. We have a three ring circus going on all the time especially the last couple of days of the session,” said O’Neill. “The last night is terrible. So why don't we fix it?"

Democratic Rep. Robert Jacquard making the list with 157 missed votes. He also says he'd be in favor of reducing the number of votes allowed per night.

"I missed a few votes myself,” said Jacquard. “But, it's not always an indication of the work we are doing there. For instance, I had a perfect attendance record at the general assembly this year." // "I've missed some votes because we have other meetings that we are attending."

Rep Joe Trillo telling ABC 6 News that this study is "so inaccurate it's insane."

Other lawmakers to top the list for most votes missed include Rep. John Carnevale, Speaker Nick Mattiello and Senator Frank Lombardi.

To view a PDF of the full report got to: rifreedom.org/walkers

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