STATE HOUSE – President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello today announced the formation of a Joint Legislative COVID-19 Emergency Spending Task Force. The first meeting is expected to be scheduled Thursday, April 30, with further details to be announced in the coming days.
The task force will be examining the Raimondo Administration’s commitment of more than $100 million in emergency spending. This would include a review of process and contracts involved in the establishment of field hospitals and the extensive purchases of medical equipment and supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).
President Ruggerio appointed the following senators to the task force: Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley Jr. (D–Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket); Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston); Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), who is also the Senate Democratic Caucus Policy Chairman; Senator Thomas J. Paolino (R–Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield); and Environment and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman V. Susan Sosnowski (D–Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).
Speaker Mattiello appointed the following House members: Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown), Rep. Jason Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), Rep. John W. Lyle Jr. (R-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket), Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) and Oversight Committee Chairwoman Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).
President Ruggerio said, “I think that Governor Raimondo has been doing an exemplary job in her handling of this public health crisis. At the same time, it is our obligation to provide appropriate oversight of the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal relief aid being expended to address the pandemic. This approach, which is limited to overseeing the federal emergency assistance, fulfills a crucial check and balance role of the Assembly while ensuring that the governor has the flexibility she needs to swiftly direct relief funds where they are needed.”
Speaker Mattiello said, “While the Finance Committees will be doing the comprehensive work of putting the budget together in the coming weeks, this group will be narrowly focused on the details of the spending decisions that have been made during this emergency. We have a responsibility to ensure that even in a crisis, proper light is shed on the expenditure of public funds.”
Press Secretary for the Senate
Rhode Island State House, Room 314
Providence, Rhode Island 02903