Unconstitutional Donor anti-Privacy Bill one of Worst of 2016

March 21, 2016

Privacy of charitable donors at risk in potentially unconstitutional bill, part of overall negative 2016 session

Providence, RI — Headlined by H 7147A, a bill that could force Rhode Island nonprofits to report all of their donors to the government, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today updated its list of the BEST and WORST bills of the 2016 General Assembly session.

Sponsored by Reps Edwards, Canario, Messier, Hearn, and Newberry, H7147 passed in committee and is scheduled for a full House floor vote this week. National legal scholars have questioned the constitutionality of this bill and its Senate companion, S2369, sponsored by Sen. Miller.

On a broader level, once again General Assembly lawmakers in 2016 are on track to continue a multi-year, negative trend of public policy that will reduce economic justice for Rhode Islanders. This according to the 2016 General Assembly Freedom Index, an interactive, live tool published by the nonpartisan Center.

Although not all 2016 bills have received final ratings, the few positive pieces of legislation are massively outweighed by the much greater number of negative bills, resulting in a net negative impact, as has occurred in prior years.

Lawmakers and the public are encouraged to visit the “Legislation” tab on the 2016 Freedom Index to determine the bill rankings for the majority of bills that have been rated, but not yet voted on. The “Summary” tab displays individual lawmaker scores.

Summary: As of March 18, early findings in the 2016 session include:

  • 140 bills are rated negatively, with only 45 bills receiving a positive score, and 3 et to receive a rating
  • The negative bills would total a (-219) cumulative score, if all were to be voted on, while the positive bills would produce a +69 score, resulting in a net (-150) overall General Assembly rating
  • Led by Representative Jared Nunes (D, Coventry) only 16 of 113 lawmakers can currently boast a positive individual score, consisting of 3 Democrats, 12 Republicans, and 1 Independent; with 7 in the Senate and 9 in the House

The Center notes that not all bills have received final reviews and that the public should check back regularly for updated bill ratings and legislator rankings.

Additional resources are available on the main RI Freedom Index page, including a number of online and interactive tools and information for users, with links to scores from prior years:

Interactive Scorecard – from 2012 thru 2015 sort and filter scorecard data by year, chamber, party, individual legislator, category, and/or by town
2015 Legislator Scorecard – legislator by legislator scores and votes on individual bills, party index with full sort and filter
2015 Freedom Index findings – additional details and charts of 2015 results
2015 Freedom Index Report – Downloadable PDF
Description & Methodology

Media Contact:
Mike Stenhouse, CEO
401.429.6115 | info@rifreedom.org

About the Center
The nonpartisan RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity is Rhode Island’s premiere free-enterprise research and advocacy organization. The nonprofit Center is funded entirely by private tax-deductible donations and never accepts public funding. The mission of the 501-C-3 organization is to return government to the people by opposing special-interest politics and advancing proven free-market solutions that can transform lives by restoring economic competitiveness, increasing educational opportunities, and protecting individual freedoms.