Jan. 27, 2020

Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, (401) 528-1733


Rep. Vella-Wilkinson bill would require witnesses to take oath before testifying before General Assembly


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would require witnesses offering testimony to General Assembly committees to be sworn in.

The bill (2020-H 7298) would require all witnesses who are representatives of a state department or agency appearing in their official capacity or any expert witness who is testifying before the General Assembly or any committee to be sworn before testifying. Anyone testifying falsely would be guilty of perjury before the General Assembly.

“The testimony we receive from experts and agents of state government is very serious,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “Lawmakers rely on that testimony and the information we receive to make decisions about bills that will have a profound impact on the people of Rhode Island. It’s not just idle opinion, and it should be taken very seriously.”

Witnesses would be required to declare that they will testify truthfully, by oath or affirmation.

Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence), who cosponsored the bill, said, “Telling the truth the first time around always helps to better understand the situation and helps to properly resolve it in a timely, professional and respectful manner.  This bill will ensure such truth is presented to the committees, allowing the legislature to make informed decisions on the bills before us.”

The legislation, which is also cosponsored by Representatives Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket), William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston), has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.






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