Header, the Administration of the Honorable Lincoln C. Almond
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  2002 Signature
2002 Veto
2002 No Action

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February 19, 2002


I am transmitting herewith, without my signature, 2002 H-7056, as amended, "An Act Relating to Redistricting of the General Assembly."

This bill accomplishes the difficult cask of effecting a decennial redistricting of the Stare of Rhode Island while simultaneously implementing the voter mandate to downsize the General Assembly from 100 to 75 members in the House and from 50 to 38 members in the Senate.

I am pleased that the downsizing of the General Assembly is now complete. Downsizing was one component of a significant government reform package in the early 1990s that included merit selection of Judges, the establishment of four year terms for Rhode Island's general officers and campaign finance reform. The downsizing of the General Assembly demonstrates that the voice of the citizens of Rhode Island will be heard and their mandate followed.

In addition to downsizing, this bill also redistricts the General Assembly following the most recent federal census. Redistricting the General Assembly is largely a function of the General Assembly. I view my participation in this process as limited 10 vetoing any clearly unconstitutional reapporrtionment. I have heard from groups objecting to the manner in which redistricting was accomplished in the Senate, including minority groups and East Bay Senators. While their concerns are not without merit, in my view, the bill is not clearly unconstitutional. In light of these objections, however, I decline to sign this bill into law.

Accordingly, I will allow the bill to become law without my signature.


Lincoln Almond