Panel would scrub outdated laws from books


The Senate approved creation of a committee last week that would comb through existing legislation with the intent of identifying outdated measures that should be repealed.

Senate Bill 682, sponsored by Senator Erin P. Lynch (D- Warwick, Cranston), would establish the Joint Committee of the Repealer. According to the bill, citizens, businesses and government agencies would be able to suggest statutes, regulations and executive orders they believe to be outdated. The committee would then compile a list of those measures that should be considered for repeal.

“There are reams of outdated laws on the books that could be slowing our economic development,” Senator Lynch said in a press release regarding the bill. “The new Joint Committee will be a big step forward to ensuring that the state’s laws are adapted to the 21st century, and that no statute from the 1950s is hurting us in 2013.”

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Warwick Senator Michael McCaffrey, says the committee would be made up of three representatives and three senators, appointed by the speaker of the House and the senate president respectively, and there would be “no more than two members from each House and Senate political party” on the committee, according to a press release from the General Assembly.

The release also says that Lynch believes this new committee would ensure economic growth throughout the state by removing outdated statues that may be hindering businesses.

The concept of the Joint Committee mirrors Kansas’ Office of the Repealer, which was established by Governor Sam Brownback in 2011 to clear out outdated and redundant laws. It is Lynch’s hope that passing this bill will help Rhode Island to adapt the concept to its economic needs and make sure today’s businesses are not held back by any unnecessary statutes of the past.

“I think this committee is just what Rhode Island needs,” said Senator Lynch. “If we can clean up our outdated laws and ease the burden on our businesses, we’re definitely on the right track.”


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