2012-04-12 / News

Bill would create new coastal panel

A joint committee to provide oversight of the Coastal Resources Management Council and the state Department of Environmental Management came one step closer to becoming a reality as the full Senate approved the legislation in a 37-0 vote.

Sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), the bill is part of her legislative agenda to provide proper supports for the groups overseeing the state’s coastal resources and related issues.

“Oversight is an essential part of what we strive for: good government,” Sosnowski said. “This joint committee will not only enhance that notion, but will ensure that members of the House and the Senate from more than one political party have a hand in the process.”

The Permanent Joint Committee on Coastal Resources would provide oversight of the CRMC and DEM in all matters relating to use, conservation, regulation and management of the coastal resources in Rhode Island. It would also have the ability to confer with the CRMC chairperson and staff, as well as the director and staff of the DEM.

If enacted, the committee would have the authority to issue subpoenas, subpoenas duces tecum and orders for the production of books, accounts, papers, records and documents. Its mission will be to make recommendations to the General Assembly and propose legislation regarding CRMC and DEM operation and management of coastal resources.

The legislation allows for a committee composed of eight members, four of who shall be members of the Senate, with the remaining four consisting of members of the House of Representatives. No more than three of the four members picked from each chamber shall share the same political party. The Senate president and the speaker of the House would have the power to appoint four committee members from their respective chambers.

The bill will now be transmitted to the House of Representatives.

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