PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A little-known committee made up of the state’s most powerful legislators is poised to begin meeting again for the first time since 2009.

Democratic and Republican leaders announced Friday the Joint Committee on Legislative Services will resume its meetings after the dismissal of a lawsuit tied to the legislative body filed in 2020.

The committee oversees the legislature’s $50 million budget, along with day-to-day operations of the General Assembly, such as staff hiring and firing power. And while decisions are technically supposed to be made by the top leaders of both the majority and minority parties, the committee stopped meeting more than a decade ago and decisions have since run mostly through the House speaker.

“I look forward to the commencement of the work of the committee with the common goal of efficient management of the General Assembly on behalf of every Rhode Island taxpayer,” Shekarchi said in a statement Friday.

The committee and its lack of meetings became a flash point in 2019 between then-House Minority Leader Blake Filippi and then-House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello after the speaker used the JCLS to order an unusual audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Mattiello’s opponents criticized him for ordering the audit, arguing he did it in retaliation for the way his friend working there was being treated. A grand jury examined the issue but ultimately did not charge Mattiello with criminal wrongdoing.

Filippi slammed the speaker at the time, arguing Mattiello wielded unfettered power over the JCLS. Without regular meetings, Filippi argued, none of the other members ever got to cast votes on any of the decision-making. Filippi subsequently filed the lawsuit against Mattiello and other state leaders, arguing the committee was operating unlawfully.

Later that year, Mattiello lost re-election. Filippi last year decided not to run for re-election. Shekarchi, meanwhile, promised during the 2020 Democratic caucus that elected him as successor to Mattiello he would resume JCLS meetings. But the speaker quickly said — at the advice of his legal counsel — he would wait until the lawsuit had been concluded.

A first meeting has not yet been scheduled. A spokesperson for Shekarchi said the speaker plans on reaching out to other members of panel at the end of the month.

The panel comprises the House speaker and majority leader, the House minority leader, the Senate president, along with the Senate minority leader.

On Twitter, Filippi said he was “thrilled” that they would start meeting again, which he described as the goal of his lawsuit.

“With this agreement in place, I’m more happy to dismiss my lawsuit, and look forward to the first JCLS meeting in over 10-years,” he wrote.

Ruggerio said in a statement the Senate has long wanted JCLS meetings to meet regularly again, adding, “now that the suit is behind us, I expect that regular meetings of the committee will commence.”

“As we move forward with transparency in this process, Rhode Islanders can be assured that the day-to-day operations of the General Assembly will be executed responsibly and in a public forum,” added Minority Leader Chippendale.

Eli Sherman ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.