RI General Assembly to Become RI General Assembly

The Rhode Island General Assembly, currently comprising a 38-member Senate and 75-member House, long facing criticism for undemocratic processes where decisions are made by a tiny cabal of leaders who punish dissenters by stripping them of committee assignments and their share of patronage pork, has announced plans for significant expansion.

“The General Assembly should be a true general assembly,” said Nicholas Mattiello, current House speaker. “My critics have accused me of being undemocratic, so let’s see how they like real democracy.” Under the newly proposed system, the estimated 852,102 residents of the state who are at least 18 years old will gather all together to function as a unicameral legislature.

Prudence Island school house (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Prudence Island school house
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Meetings will be held on Prudence Island, which is situated in the middle of Narragansett Bay and is inaccessible except to private boaters and strong swimmers. “I don’t think that will be a problem,” Mattiello said. “After all, it’s nearly six times larger than Central Falls.” The 5.57 square miles of Prudence Island would, in fact, accommodate all 852,102 eligible attendees with slightly more than 182 square feet each, about the size of a prison cell. “The historic schoolhouse will make a nice state capitol,” he added.

“I don’t see how getting 852,102 people in one place to argue out public policy would be any more chaotic than the existing process,” said Governor Gina Raimondo.

“It’s not as if I could possibly have anything less to do to earn my salary,” said Lt. Governor Dan McKee.

Some expressed skepticism but wished for the best. “They should hold forth a lively experiment,” said Charles II, former king of England.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Thomas Wilson Dorr, whose proposal for a similar democratic expansion of legislative functions met with little success. “If it doesn’t work out as planned, don’t blame me.”

“What cheer, netop?” said Canonicus, chief sachem of the Narragansett tribe, who explained, “That means ‘Hi, Neighbor!'”

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