2022 RI General Assembly Civil Liberties Rankings

Discover which elected officials have voted to protect your rights and civil liberties here in Rhode Island

Summary of Our Findings

Civil Liberties Rankings in the Senate were down this year only slightly from 2021, with an average score of 65.2 vs. 69.5 in 2021. Senators Mendes and Miller returned to the top 5 for the 2nd year in a row. The House, however, showed a significant slump from 2021, with an average score of just 54 vs. a respectable 76 in 2021. Representatives Blazejewski and Solomon, Jr. again reached the Top 5 for the 2nd year in a row. Rep. Kislak has the distinction of being the only representative to make the Top 10 in all 3 years that RI Rank has produced this segment.

Of the three categories of Civil Liberties in this segment, Senators performed best on the Civil Rights segment (avg. score 69) while lagging in Student and Worker rights with an average score of just 49. It should be noted that because Senate leadership killed every bill in that category except one, most members ended up with a score of N/A. Performance in the House was markedly different, with the Criminal Justice category averaging a score of just 29 among all members. However, with several good Student & Worker Rights bills making it to the floor, the average House member scored a respectable 75 in this category.

In contrast to the Open Government segment, only 6 bills (19%) that were opposed by the RI ACLU were passed into law. Meanwhile, 17 bills supported by the RI ACLU were passed this year, demonstrating the legislature's better record with Civil Liberties. However, the General Assembly still came up short this year, killing important bills that would provide common sense reforms. Just a sampling of those bills include:

  • A bill that would include abortion coverage for those on state health insurance programs.
  • A bill to decriminalize sex work.
  • A bill to ensure all Internet traffic is treated fairly by Internet providers doing business in RI.
  • A bill that would provide a report showing the amount of taxes immigrants pay in the state of RI.
  • A bill to appeal the requirement that all voters have a government-issued ID to vote.
  • A bill to regulate license plate readers currently in use in the City of Providence and other municipalities
  • A bill to ban the use of privately run prisons, which profit based on the number of inmates they house.
  • A bill to restrict law enforcement's use of force to only when necessary, and creates a civil rights violation when excessive force is used.
  • A bill to abolish life sentences without the chance of parole.
  • A bill to eliminate cash bail for all misdemeanors except those deemed high risk.
  • A bill to prevent anyone 14 years old or younger from being placed in a juvenile detention center unless the committed a capital crime.
  • A bill establish proper procedures and rules for using "solitary confinement", commonly considered the most severe form of torture.
  • A bill to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, which gives police extra rights when they commit a crime that ordinary civilians do not receive.
  • A bill to abolish the practice of considering those serving life sentences "civilly dead" and the denial of rights they would otherwise be entitled to.

2022 By the Numbers

23

Civil Rights Bills Supported by the RI ACLU

8

Supported Civil Rights Bills Passed into Law

38

Criminal Justice Bills Supported by the RI ACLU

5

Supported Criminal Justice Bills Passed into Law

17

Student/Worker Rights Bills Supported by the RI ACLU

6

Supported Student/Worker Rights Bills Passed into Law

How We Ranked Civil Liberties Voting Records

We evaluated the 92 civil liberties-related bills with assigned Senate and House bill numbers in which the RI ACLU publicly supported or opposed during the 2022 legislative year.

Members were awarded a point for floor votes that supported RI ACLU's position, and zero points if they opposed their position, abstained, or were absent from the vote. If a member recused themselves due to a conflict of interest, the bill was not counted on their record. Those serving on committees that voted on an applicable bill were awarded a point for a vote that aligned with the ACLU position, and zero points for a vote that did not support the ACLU position (a "No" vote or choosing not to vote - "NV"). An absence or recusal from a committee vote was not counted at all.

If a committee voted to hold an applicable bill for further study, and it was never taken up again in that session, the bill is considered dead and all members of the committee that voted to hold it for further study were recorded as opposing the bill.

NOTE: RI Rank is not affiliated with the RI ACLU. Based on their long track record and long-standing nonpartisan approach to legislation, we reference the bills in their legislative agenda and their support/opposition of said bills for our scoring in this segment. The RI ACLU publishes their own scorecard which indicates how a legislator voted on the most important civil liberties bills that reached the floor. We feel this approach allows House and Senate leadership to effectively determine the contents of the scorecard, which can create a bias towards those siding with leadership. For this reason and others, RI Rank also includes all committee votes, ensuring members of the General Assembly are accountable for every vote made during the session.

Senate Civil Liberties Rankings

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Excellent OK Poor

#SenatorDistScoreCivil RightsCriminal JusticeWorker & Student Rights
1Bell, S59489100N/A
2Calkin, J308888100N/A
3Mendes, C188671100N/A
4Miller, J28838975N/A
4DiMario, A36838975N/A
6Lawson, V14828971N/A
6Valverde, B35828971N/A
8McCaffrey, M29808867N/A
9Goodwin, M1798667N/A
9Murray, M24798667N/A
11Acosta, J16737567N/A
11Pearson, R19737567N/A
11Sosnowski, S37737567N/A
14Felag, W10717167N/A
14Anderson, K31717167N/A
16Ciccone, F7697567N/A
16Algiere, D38696767N/A
18Goldin, G367706750
19Gallo, H2765836740
20Mack, T6645767N/A
20Kallman, M15645767N/A
22Morgan, E34625067N/A
23Cano, S861716740
24Picard, R20595667N/A
24Lombardo, F25595667N/A
26Seveney, J1158636740
26DiPalma, L1258636740
28de la Cruz, J23575364N/A
29Euer, D13566348N/A
30Coyne, C3254634667
30Archambault, S2254545267
32Ruggerio, D453634838
33Burke, J952624450
34Quezada, A251674143
35Paolino, T1750506725
35Lombardi, F2650524667
37Rogers, G21495346N/A
38Raptakis, L3343424267

Scoring

Score is the percentage of the senator's floor and committee votes that supported the RI ACLU position (committee votes were only counted if the senator was present for the vote).

A minimum of 3 votes were required per category to be given a score, otherwise the senator was given a score of N/A. However, their votes in the category still counted towards their overall score.

Scores above 80 are considered "Excellent", scores between 50 - 79 are "OK", and scores below 50 are considered "Poor". The maximum possible score is 100. The lowest possible score is 0.

Bills Scored

All bills reference the RI ACLU's legislative agenda, in which they publicly supported or opposed each piece of legislation. Bills in red were opposed by the ACLU (a "no" vote is scored positively).

Civil Rights
S2242, S2762, S2549, S2766, S2713, S2716, S2386, S2387, S2625, S2626, S2486A, S2030, S2395, S2595, S2006A, S2381, S2187, S2097, S2096, S2617A, and S2430A.

Criminal Justice
S2650, S2510, S2509, S2367, S2371, S2913, S2379, S2643, S2399, S2382, S2228, S2631, S2380, S2178A, S2799, S2213, S2701, S2227, S2641, S2108, S2370, S2808, and S2612A.

Worker & Student Rights
S2662, S2124, S2436, S2289, S2778, S2095, and S2578.

House Civil Liberties Rankings

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Excellent OK Poor

#RepresentativeDistScoreCivil RightsCriminal JusticeWorker & Student Rights
1Blazejewski, C2757533100
1Solomon, Jr., J22757533100
3Kislak, R473803386
4Morales, D7717525100
4Cortvriend, T72717525100
4Ruggiero, D74717525100
7Fogarty, K35696033100
7Kazarian, K6369753378
9Amore, G6568673380
10Potter, B16675733100
10Tanzi, T3467752586
10Kennedy, B38675025100
10Shalcross Smith, M4667802578
10Donovan, S6967633386
10McGaw, M7167752586
16Handy, A18655725100
16McNamara, J1965803367
16Henries, B6465753370
16Abney, M7365574088
16Carson, L75656720100
21Biah, N364673380
21Casimiro, J31647344100
21Ackerman, M4564603383
21Barros, J5964574080
21Speakman, J68645033100
26Marszalkowski, A5263674075
26Alzate, K6063803363
28Ranglin-Vassell, M562753367
28Hull, R662574078
28Baginski, J1762434089
28McLaughlin, J5762603380
32Place, D4761466571
33Slater, S1060574075
33Azzinaro, S37604333100
33Phillips, R5160603371
36Williams, A959753360
36Messier, M6259752069
36Edwards, J7059574070
39Diaz, G1158295088
39Lima, C1458503380
39Serpa, P27582533100
42Hawkins, B5356503367
42O'Brien, W545667075
42Giraldo, J5656633357
45Shanley, E2453752063
45Cardillo, E4253503360
45Newberry, B4853502567
45Casey, S5053503363
49Nardone, G2852433370
50Caldwell, J3050642889
50Cassar, L665050080
52Filippi, B3647753344
52Quattrocchi, R4147295063
54Knight, J67466226100
55Shekarchi, J2345552670
56Ajello, E144672389
56McEntee, C3344582675
56Fellela, D434450056
59Perez, R1342503340
59Bennett, D20425616100
59Noret, T2542502678
59Felix, L6142622089
63Fenton-Fung, B1540403343
63Craven, R3240622286
65Lombardi, J839622171
66Vella-Wilkinson, C2138402488
66Chippendale, M4038252560
68Corvese, A5537422364
69Batista, J1236621957
70Roberts, S2931461563
71Price, J392503340
71Lima, S492525040
73Morgan, P262103333
74Costantino, G441703320
75Tobon, C580000

How We Rank

Score is the percentage of the representative's floor and committee votes that supported the RI ACLU position (committee votes were only counted if the representative was present for the vote).

A minimum of 3 votes were required per category to be given a score, otherwise the representative was given a score of N/A. However, their votes in the category still counted towards their overall score.

Scores above 80 are considered "Excellent", scores between 50 - 79 are "OK", and scores below 50 are considered "Poor". The maximum possible score is 100. The lowest possible score is 0.

Bills Scored

All bills are taken from the RI ACLU's legislative agenda, in which they publicly supported or opposed each piece of legislation. Bills in red were opposed by the ACLU (a "no" vote is scored positively).

Civil Rights
H7668, H7442, H7539, H7405, H7306, H7189, H7458, H7249, H7939A, H7680, H7484, H7137, H7706, H7396A, H7076, and H7593A.

Criminal Justice
H7774, H7704, H7739, H7355, H7937, H7711, H7938, H7191, H7141, H7084, H7192, H7572, H7508, H7567, H7353, H7691, H7461, H7715, H7896, H8009, H7246, H7760, H7343, H6624, H7678, H7411, H7188, H7807, H7187, H7308, H6630, and H7507.

Worker & Student Rights
H7511, H7509, H7720, H7904, H7905A, H7563A, H7162, H7806, H7459, H7519, H6649A, H7213A, H7546, H7485, and H8310.