Rod Driver

From article in the Providence-Journal Bulletin, March 19, 1987

New Legislator Questions Rubber-Stamping of 150 Bills


PROVIDENCE - Freshman Rep. Rodney Driver did the unusual yesterday.

He rose on a point of personal privilege during House proceedings to protest the number of bills that get passed "sight unseen" by rank-and-file 1egislators.

"I have no problem with resolutions of condolence. And I don't see much harm in congratulating Providence College or UR1 for winning a basketball.... But I do worry," said Driver, "about some of the other things we do in these 15-second actions."

Driver said he took a count last week and found that 150 bills had got House approval without traveling the usual route, which includes committee study and advance notice on the House calendar.

Some of his findings: "We've created or extended the reporting dates of 27 assorted commissions, requested government agencies to initiate or continue 20 programs... requested additional speed limit signs on Railroad Street in Lincoln, a traffic light on Curtis Corner Road in South Kingstown, repair of Allens Avenue in Providence ... and the widening of an unnamed road in Coventry.

"We've also approved sight-unseen bills on workers' compensation, the Federations of Women's Clubs, miscellaneous corporate charters ... Woonsocket's wholesale inventory law. And we've amended in some unknown way ... the General Laws on `public officers and employers.'

"Some day a constituent or even an opponent in a future election may ask why I voted for such and such a bill. I don't want to have to say, `I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention ... or I was too timid to ask.'"