Secretary of state seeks overhaul of RI lobbying statutes

By News Staff

The Associated Press

Rhode Island's secretary of state says she faces a "Catch-22'' situation: She's supposed to enforce the state's lobbying laws but she can't always figure out who's a lobbyist.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says she has questioned whether there are people and organizations lobbying in Rhode Island without registering, either because they're ignoring the law or don't know about it.        

Since she doesn't have power to investigate, Gorbea says she's sending educational letters to people she thinks may be lobbying based on media reports.

Gorbea wants the General Assembly to overhaul what she describes as a "broken system'' for overseeing lobbyists and lobbying activity.        

She suggested a new lobbying statute to provide a framework for investigations and hearings and grant her subpoena power.

Lawmakers didn't pass the bill this session.

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