Buddy Cianci once described the RI House Speaker as the "captain of a pirate ship." If anyone would know about absolute power, it would be Cianci. There's little doubt the Speaker of the House is the most powerful person on Smith Hill, and a possible challenger wants to end the omnipotent strength the position carries. Rep John Lombardi, a Providence Democrat and member of the Reform Caucus that opposes Nicholas Mattiello's leadership, told the Pro-Jo if elected to the top spot he'd pursue changes designed to lessen the position's pop. His changes include electing committee chairs through votes by committee members instead of appointment by the speaker...Adopt a 6 year term limit for all House leadership positions and committee chairs....allow a majority vote of the House to bring bills "held for further study" out of committee and to the floor for action....and give committee chairs and the minority leader the power to bring a certain number of bills to the floor each session. Right now, the Speaker has effective control over whether ANY legislation sees the light of day. All of Lombardi's suggested changes would make the chamber more democratic which is why THEY'LL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY.
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