Difference between revisions of "Rhode Island State Senate"

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::''See also: [[Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions]]''
::''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, the General Assembly was in session from January 1 through July 5.
==== Major issues====
==== Major issues====
In 2013, legislators will address a budget deficit estimated at $69 million, legalization of same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic development.<ref> [http://coventry.patch.com/articles/this-week-at-the-general-assembly-1d0d6613 ''Coventry Patch,'' "This week at the General assembly," January 6, 2013] </ref>
Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included a budget deficit estimated at $69 million, legalization of same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic development.<ref>[http://coventry.patch.com/articles/this-week-at-the-general-assembly-1d0d6613 ''Coventry Patch,'' "This week at the General assembly," January 6, 2013]</ref>

Revision as of 09:54, 8 July 2013

Rhode Island State Senate

Seal of Rhode Island.svg.png
General Information
Type:   Upper house
Term limits:   None
2015 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)
Members:  38
   Democratic Party (32)
Republican Party (5)
Independent (1)
Length of term:   2 years
Authority:   Art VI, Section 2, Rhode Island Constitution
Salary:   $14,185.95/year
Last Election:  November 6, 2012 (38 seats)
Next election:  November 4, 2014 (38 seats)
Redistricting:  Rhode Island legislature has control
The Rhode Island Senate is the upper house of the Rhode Island General Assembly, the state legislature of Rhode Island.

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.[1]

Each Rhode Island state senator represents an average of 27,699 residents, as of the 2010 Census.[2] After the 2000 Census, each member represented 27,587 residents.[3]

The Rhode Island Senate meets at the Rhode Island State Capitol in Providence.[4]

The Senate can confirm or reject gubernatorial appointments to executive departments, commissions, boards, or justices to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

As of May 2015, Rhode Island is one of 7 Democratic state government trifectas.


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 was in session from January 1 through July 5.

Major issues

Major issues in the 2013 legislative session included a budget deficit estimated at $69 million, legalization of same-sex marriage, gun control, and economic development.[5]


See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions

In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 3 through June 13.

Major issues

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.[6]


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. [7]


See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions

In 2010, the Senate was in session from January 5 to June 11.[8]


See also: Open States' Legislative Data Report Card

The Sunlight Foundation released an "Open Legislative Data Report Card" in March 2013. Rhode Island was given a grade of D in the report. The report card evaluated how adequate, complete and accessible legislative data was to the general public. A total of 10 states received an A: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington.[9]



See also: Rhode Island State Senate elections, 2012

Elections for the office of Rhode Island State Senate will be held in Rhode Island on November 6, 2012. A total of 38 seats were up for election.

The signature filing deadline was June 27, 2012 and the primary date is September 11, 2012.

The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.


See also: Rhode Island State Senate elections, 2010

Elections for the office of Rhode Island's State Senate were held in Rhode Island on November 2, 2010.

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: [10]


Article III of the Rhode Island Constitution lays out the requirements for officeholders of Rhode Island's state government.


See also: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures
How Vacancies are filled in State Legislatures
NevadaMassachusettsColoradoNew MexicoWyomingArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashingtonIdahoTexasOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaMinnesotaIowaMissouriArkansasLouisianaMississippiAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisWisconsinTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhioKentuckyPennsylvaniaNew JerseyNew YorkVermontVermontNew HampshireMaineWest VirginiaVirginiaMarylandMarylandConnecticutConnecticutDelawareDelawareRhode IslandRhode IslandMassachusettsNew HampshireMichiganMichiganAlaskaVacancy fulfillment map.png

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[11]. The person elected to fill the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term[12].


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.

2010 census

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.[13]

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.[14]


Rhode Island does not provide pensions for legislators who took office after 1994.[15]

When sworn in

See also: When state legislators assume office after a general election

Rhode Island legislators assume office the first Tuesday in January.

Partisan composition

See also: Partisan composition of state senates
Party As of May 2015
     Democratic Party 32
     Republican Party 5
     Independent 1
Total 38

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Rhode Island State Senate from 1992-2013.
Partisan composition of the Rhode Island State Senate.PNG


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.[16]

Current leadership

Current Leadership, Rhode Island State Senate
Office Representative Party
President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva-Weed Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio Electiondot.png Democratic
State Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere Ends.png Republican

Length of terms

See also: Length of terms of state senators

The Rhode Island Constitution, in Article IV, Section 1, says that the length of terms served by the state's senators is two years:

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.[17]

List of current members

Current members, Rhode Island State Senate
District Senator Party Assumed office
1 Maryellen Goodwin Electiondot.png Democratic 1987
2 Juan Pichardo Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
3 Gayle Goldin Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
4 Dominick Ruggerio Electiondot.png Democratic 1985
5 Paul Jabour Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
6 Harold Metts Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
7 Frank Ciccone Electiondot.png Democratic 2003
8 James Doyle Electiondot.png Democratic 2005
9 Adam Satchell Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
10 Walter Felag Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
11 Christopher Ottiano Ends.png Republican 2011
12 Louis DiPalma Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
13 M. Teresa Paiva-Weed Electiondot.png Democratic 1993
14 Daniel Da Ponte Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
15 Donna Nesselbush Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
16 Elizabeth Crowley Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
17 Edward O'Neill Independent Independent 2009
18 William Conley Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
19 Ryan Pearson Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
20 Roger Picard Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
21 Nicholas Kettle Ends.png Republican 2011
22 Steve Archambault Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
23 Paul Fogarty Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
24 Marc Cote Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
25 Frank Lombardo III Electiondot.png Democratic 2011
26 Frank Lombardi Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
27 Hanna Gallo Electiondot.png Democratic 1999
28 Joshua Miller Electiondot.png Democratic 2007
29 Michael McCaffrey Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
30 William Walaska Electiondot.png Democratic 1995
31 Erin Lynch Electiondot.png Democratic 2009
32 David Bates Ends.png Republican 1993
33 Leonidas Raptakis Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
34 Catherine Cool Rumsey Electiondot.png Democratic 2013
35 Dawson Hodgson Ends.png Republican 2011
36 James Sheehan Electiondot.png Democratic 2001
37 V. Susan Sosnowski Electiondot.png Democratic 1997
38 Dennis Algiere Ends.png Republican 1993

Standing committees

The Rhode Island Senate has 10 standing committees:


Partisan balance 1992-2013

Who Runs the States Project
See also: Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States and Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Rhode Island’’
Partisan breakdown of the Rhode Island legislature from 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 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 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.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island State Senate and the Rhode Island House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Rhode Island state government(1992-2013).PNG

See also

External links