Rhode Island State Senate
|Rhode Island State Senate|
|2013 session start:||January 1, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||M. Teresa Paiva-Weed, (D)|
|Majority Leader:||Dominick Ruggerio, (D)|
|Minority leader:||Dennis Algiere, (R)|
| Democratic Party (32) |
Republican Party (5)
|Length of term:||2 years|
|Authority:||Art VI, Section 2, Rhode Island Constitution|
|Last Election:||November 6, 2012 (38 seats)|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014 (38 seats)|
|Redistricting:||Rhode Island legislature has control|
It is composed of 38 Senators, each of whom is elected to a two-year term. Rhode Island is one of the 14 states where its upper house serves at a two-year cycle, rather than the normal four-year term as in the majority of states. There is no limit to the number of terms that a Senator may serve.
The Rhode Island Senate meets at the Rhode Island State Capitol in Providence.
The Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, commissions, boards, or justices to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
Article VI of the Rhode Island Constitution establishes when the Rhode Island General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 3 of Article states that the General Assembly is to convene its regular session on the first Tuesday of January in each year.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the General Assembly will be in session from January 1 through late June.
In 2013, legislators will address a budget deficit estimated at $69 million, legalization of same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic development.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 3 through June 13.
The legislature had to address a $120 million budget deficit. Legislators wanted to cut spending to close the gap while Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) pushed for a tax raise. Major issues also included reducing municipal pension costs and reducing regulations to spur economic growth.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Senate was in session from January 4 - July 1. The legislature is in recess until October, when a special session is planned to tackle the cost of public-employee pensions. 
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, Rhode Island State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 21||Nicholas Kettle||1.5%||13,769||Scott M. Pollard|
|District 34||Catherine Cool Rumsey||10.3%||12,973||Francis Maher, Jr.|
|District 27||Hanna Gallo||13.1%||12,603||Aram G. Garabedian|
|District 35||Dawson Hodgson||16.8%||13,534||Winters B. Hames III|
|District 23||Paul Fogarty||18.2%||12,728||Julian P. Forgue|
|District 22||Stephen R. Archambault||18.2%||12,518||Richard A. Poirier|
|District 19||Ryan William Pearson||19.2%||12,540||Bethany Moura|
|District 36||James Sheehan||20.2%||14,327||Mariacristina C. Mckendall|
|District 17||Edward O'Neill||21.3%||13,232||John J. Cullen|
|District 33||Leonidas Raptakis||23.4%||12,607||Glenford Shibley|
The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in these elections was May 28, 2010. The primary election day was September 14, 2010.
In 2010, the candidates for state senate raised a total of $2,009,724 in campaign contributions. The top 10 donors were: 
|2010 Donors, Rhode Island State Senate|
|Tassoni Jr, John J||$50,000|
|ONeil, Kevin R||$49,166|
|Assalone, John R||$42,617|
|ONeil, Edward J||$35,100|
|Pinga, Michael J||$22,715|
|Butera Noble, Linda||$20,500|
|Rhode Island Senate Democratic Leadership||$18,000|
|Colaluca, Anthony J||$17,903|
|Ruggerio, Dominik J||$17,825|
|Lanzi, Beatrice A||$17,700|
| How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures |
If there is a vacancy in the Senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. The Secretary of State must call for an election to be held anywhere from 70 to 90 days after the vacancy occurred. No election can be held if the vacancy happens after the first Monday in February during an election year. The person elected to fill the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term.
- See also: Redistricting in Rhode Island
The General Assembly is responsible for legislative redistricting, with the Governor holding veto power. In June 2011, the Assembly passed a law establishing a redistricting commission of 18 members -- 12 legislators and six members of the general public -- that would make recommendations to the Assembly, who would then pass new maps as regular legislation.
Rhode Island received its census data on March 23, 2011. The state had a very low growth rate of 0.4 percent; the five counties ranged from -3.0 to 2.8 percent. As far as the most populous cities, Providence grew by 2.5 percent, Warwick decreased by 3.7 percent, Cranston grew by 1.4 percent, Pawtucket decreased by 2.5 percent, and East Providence decreased by 3.4 percent.
On February 1, 2012, the Senate and House passed a proposal that the commission had released and approved in December 2011. Republican were upset over what they saw as gerrymandering in House District 47 working to the benefit of incumbent Cale Keable (D). Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) signed the maps into law on February 8, 2012. A Republican lawsuit followed on March 8.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the Rhode Island Legislature are paid $14,185.95/year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive no per diem.
Rhode Island does not provide pensions for legislators who took office after 1994.
When sworn in
Rhode Island legislators assume office the first Tuesday in January.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2013|
The President of the Senate serves as the presiding officer of the body. The President is elected to a two-year term by the entire Senate. Duties of the President include calling the Senate to order, deciding all questions of order, and appointing all standing committees. The majority and minority caucuses choose their party leaders. The majority and minority leaders serve as ex-officio members of all standing committees.
|Current Leadership, Rhode Island State Senate|
|President of the Senate||M. Teresa Paiva-Weed||Democratic|
|State Senate Majority Leader||Dominick Ruggerio||Democratic|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Dennis Algiere||Republican|
Length of terms
- See also: Length of terms of state senators
- The senators and representatives in the general assembly shall be elected on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, biennially in even numbered years, and shall severally hold their offices for two (2) years from the first Tuesday of January next succeeding their election and until their successors are elected and qualified.
List of current members
The Rhode Island Senate has 10 standing committees:
- Corporations Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Education Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Environment and Agriculture Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Finance Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Government Oversight Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Health and Human Services Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Housing and Municipal Government Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Judiciary Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Labor Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Rules Committee, Rhode Island State Senate
- Special Legislation and Veterans' Affairs, Rhode Island State Senate
Partisan balance 1992-2013
During every year from 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Rhode Island State Senate. The Rhode Island State Senate is one of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013.
Across the country, there were 544 Democratic and 517 Republican State Senates from 1992-2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- Official website of the Rhode Island Senate
- Map of Rhode Island Senate Districts
- State Senate of Rhode Island.
- ↑ List of state legislative term limits
- ↑ Population in 2010 of the American states
- ↑ Population in 2000 of the American states
- ↑ http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/RiConstitution/C04.html: Rhode Island Constitution, Article 4, Section 1]
- ↑ Coventry Patch, "This week at the General assembly," January 6, 2013
- ↑ Boston.com, "Issues to watch in 2012 RI session," January 2, 2012
- ↑ Projo.com, R.I. lawmakers pass flurry of bills, recess until October, July 1, 2011
- ↑ 2010 session dates for the Rhode Island Legislature
- ↑ Follow the Money: "Rhode Island Senate 2010 Campaign Contributions"
- ↑ Rhode Island Legislature "Rhode Island General Laws"(Referenced Statute 17-3-6 (a))
- ↑ Rhode Island Legislature "Rhode Island General Laws"(Referenced Statute 17-3-6 (b))
- ↑ U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Rhode Island's 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting," March 23, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
- ↑ NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- ↑ USA Today, "State-by-state: Benefits available to state legislators," September 23, 2011
- ↑ Rhode Island Senate Leadership
- ↑ Rhode Island Constitution
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