Advocacy groups oppose delay in applying separation of powers to CRMC

Advocacy groups oppose delay in applying separation of powers to CRMC

Providence Business News

Jun. 22, 2007

Advocacy groups oppose delay in applying separation of powers to CRMC

PROVIDENCE – In a joint letter to members of the state House, Common Cause Rhode Island and the Environment Council of Rhode Island oppose any delay in reconfiguring the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council.

The reconfiguration of the CRMC and other agencies is required by the state’s Separation of Powers Act. But House bill H-6566 would delay the move, by requesting an advisory opinion from the R.I. Supreme Court.

“We view this legislation as an attempt to thwart the will of the voters and to undermine environmental protection in Rhode Island,” the two groups said in their letter.

The letter notes that, in 2005, House Speaker William J. Murphy said in a public announcement that “I will not be seeking a Supreme Court advisory opinion on the Constitutional questions involving the Lottery Commission, the Coastal Resources Management Council and a few other boards. While I still believe there are merits to the legal questions involved in this issue, I have reached this decision to expedite the implementation of Separation of Powers and to honor the will of the people.”

The groups conclude their letter by asking the legislators to “honor the voters and reconfigure CRMC to comply with the R.I. Constitution.”

On its Web site, Common Cause R.I. calls the separation of powers drive its top priority for the legislative session that began Jan. 2. “The struggle to bring true Separation of Powers (SOP) to Rhode Island is entering its 14th year, and it’s not over,” the site says.

Date: 6/22/2007 12:00:00 AM