As Controversies Mount, Mattiello Reverses Course on Legislative Handle More than Marijuana and Hemp


Tuesday, October 22, 2019


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Speaker Nick Mattiello reverses position on legislative handle of DBR regs.

Just after a GoLocal expose unveiled that Speaker Nick Mattiello’s Deputy Chief of Employees Grant Pilkington is company partners in hemp with two top rated-tier State Residence lobbyists, the partnership came beneath fire.

The spotlight focused on a final-minute legislative move by Mattiello that controversially gave the legislature oversight more than the Division Enterprise Regulation and their duty to regulate marijuana and hemp.

“Pilkington’s ownership stake in American Typical Hemp raises several red flags. In June, the Residence of Representatives passed substantial alterations to the Hemp Development Act as element of the state spending budget,” John Marion, Executive Director of Popular Trigger told GoLocal final week.

Pilkington – 90% Raise in Two Years

Pilkington has had a meteoric rise in Mattiello’s employees.

In two years, his salary has jumped from $46,000 to $88,000 — a 90% salary enhance.

“Grant was hired on January 15, 2017 as a clerk for the Residence Oversight Committee at a salary of $46,805, and he nonetheless remains the clerk of that committee as nicely as his other responsibilities.  On Feb. four, 2018, he was promoted to the title of legislative manager/Residence clerk at a salary of $61,095,” stated Larry Berman, spokesperson to Mattiello, in an e-mail to GoLocal.

“Grant was promoted to deputy chief of employees on March 17, 2019.  His present salary is $88,348.  In his part, Grant addresses staffing desires and the day-to-day administration of the operations of the Residence of Representatives, as nicely as assisting the Residence chief of employees,” wrote Berman.

“Speaker Mattiello was not conscious that he invested in this enterprise.,” Berman added.

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Grant Pilkington – 90% raise in two years

Reverse Course

Initially, the Speaker’s workplace defended legislative oversight more than hemp — and marijuana via the compassion centers. 

“Regarding your query on how the Basic Assembly would deal with the approval, there are a quantity of diverse selections to satisfy the needs in the spending budget write-up.  I will get back to you when I have much more data,” stated Berman on Thursday.

But by Friday, Mattiello had reversed course — just hours following Rhode Island Lawyer Basic announced the indictment of Mattiello’s political consultant Jeff Britt. The indictment was tied to a mailer in Mattiello’s 2016 reelection campaign.

“The intent of the Basic Assembly was to present higher oversight, but it left the promulgation and enforcement of the regulations with the Governor and her Administration. The Basic Assembly wanted to assure that the regulatory approach would be fair, open and transparent to absolutely everyone and deemed that added oversight would achieve this,” stated Berman.

“However, the Governor has strongly objected. As a outcome, our Residence legal counsel has currently communicated with the Governor’s legal counsel the intent to pass legislation in January to reverse that provision in the law. The Residence intends to have discussions in the close to future with the Senate. The Residence continues to think this is an challenge that desires drastically enhanced oversight and will fulfill this function via our Oversight Committee,” added Berman.

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Popular Trigger of RI’s John Marion

Criticism of the work by the legislature to oversee executive branch regulatory authority is not new. The challenge has been raised repeatedly and a lot of argue that it is a clear violation of separation of powers.

“If Mr. Pilkington was involved in any way with that legislation it could pretty nicely represent a conflict of interest offered his ownership stake. It raises higher suspicions mainly because the Residence inserted language in this year’s spending budget that permits the Basic Assembly to veto any regulations issued by the Division of Enterprise Regulations with regard to the Hemp Development Act,” stated Marion.

The law now reads, “The division [DBR] may perhaps adopt guidelines and regulations primarily based on federal law offered these guidelines and regulations are created to comply with federal guidance and mitigate federal enforcement against the licenses issued beneath this chapter. All new and revised guidelines and regulations promulgated by the division of company regulation and/or the division of well being pursuant to this chapter shall be topic to approval by the common assembly prior to enactment.”

The requirement of final approval of the department’s regulation is precedent-setting in Rhode Island.

“We think this is an unconstitutional energy-grab on the element of the Residence of Representatives. GoLocal’s reporting raises essential concerns about the motives behind that legislation,” added Marion.



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