Lawmaker pushes for vote on 38 Studios payback
The House Oversight chairwoman all but challenged Speaker Nicholas Mattiello on Wednesday to bring to a floor vote her bill prohibiting repayment of the 38 Studios bonds.
Chairwoman Karen MacBeth said in a letter to Mattiello - who supports repaying the bonds - that her bill wasn't given a hearing within 30 days of submission or considered by the April deadline. She claimed that violated House rules.
"I am objecting to the failure of the House Finance Committee to adhere to the rule referenced above and hereby request that you order the immediate discharge of said bill," the letter says.
But Larry Berman, a spokesman for Mattiello, said that bills assigned to the Finance Committee have never been subject to the 30-day requirement.
He said the panel is still in the process of holding hearings on all bills requested by sponsors and that the speaker has told MacBeth that hers will be getting a hearing.
MacBeth is among the most vocal critics of repaying the $89 million Rhode Island is responsible for in connection with the collapse of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's video game company. 38 Studios went bankrupt after getting a $75 million state-backed loan.
Mattiello initially was undecided about making the next $12 million bond payment but now says it's in the best interests of the state to pay. He has claimed to have enough votes to approve the payment.
MacBeth, whom Mattiello named oversight chair in March after he unexpectedly took over the speaker's job, said Wednesday her opposition has only gotten stronger.
The two have also clashed over committee subpoenas related to 38 Studios. She has wanted to compel figures with knowledge of the deal to come before the panel. Mattiello would need to sign off on subpoenas, and he said recently he doesn't plan to.