Senator Nesselbush resigns as Deputy Majority Leader;
Calls for More Transparency and Democracy in the State Senate

PROVIDENCE, RI– Today, on the floor of the Rhode Island State Senate,
Senator Donna M. Nesselbush (D, District 15- Pawtucket and North
Providence) resigned her Senate Leadership position as Deputy Majority
Leader. While objecting to the Senate Rules, she delivered the following
statement:

“I rise with a heavy heart and great respect for this institution to object
to these rules for several reasons. First and foremost, nothing in these
rules would prevent the un-democratic process we lived through last week or
the un-democratic demotion of dedicated and qualified chairs that occurred
this week.

“I believe our rules should prescribe a more democratic process the Senate
must follow when electing new leadership. There should be timelines that
allow for a deliberative process worthy of this body and worthy of the
words transparency and democracy.

“I also object to these rules as they pertain to the constitution of
committees. I don’t think Committee Chairs should be chosen only by the
President. Just like government is of the people, by the people and for the
people, I believe committee chairs should be chosen from the committee, by
the committee, based on who is best for the committee.

“In these rules, Senators are allowed to request “consideration” of a bill,
but “held for further study” is deemed a form of “consideration.” I don’t
know about you, but I’m tired of sitting through long committee hearings,
only to have bills held for further study, knowing that no one will ever
ask my opinion again. When the details of legislation have been worked out,
I believe our rules should allow for to a yea or nay vote. The public
deserves to know where their elected officials stand on the issues.

“Lastly, if the past is prelude to the future, I really don’t know why we
bother to enact rules that, we will only vote to suspend in the final days
of the General Assembly when we need them the most and when the vast
majority of all bills will be enacted.

“This Senate deserves better rules that are more conducive to true
democracy. Rather, they promote hegemony, and as a wise one among us always
says “how can 33 people agree all the time.” For these reasons, I will be
voting against these rules.”