Senate OKs Gallo Bill Providing for Senate Confirmation of Education Commissioners

 

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo to require appointments to the offices of Elementary and Secondary Education commissioner and Postsecondary Education commissioner to be subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, just as other high-level state government appointments are. 

The legislation would also require that the governor resubmit the appointments of the secretaries of the Office of Health and Human Services and Commerce upon the governor’s second term, as is required with department directors.

“The Senate serves a very important oversight role in the appointment of high-level office-holders in our state. We are the people’s voice in these matters,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick). “The education commissioners and health and commerce secretaries shape policies that impact all Rhode Islanders. Certainly they warrant at least the same level of public accountability and oversight as other department heads and leaders in our state.”

Senator Gallo indicated that the legislation is not aimed at any particular individual in any of these positions. Rather, it is a matter of good public policy because of the important nature of the positions.

Additionally, the legislation would clarify that any appointment to these offices in an acting or interim capacity must also be submitted to the Senate for approval within 10 days, even if a search for a permanent director is ongoing, as is required for other departments.

The legislation (2021-S 0063aa) now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2021-H 5423).  

 

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