In its ongoing mission to prove that Rhode Island spells "ethics" u-n-i-o-n, the state Ethics Commission has found that the vice president of the National Education Association of Rhode Island has zero conflict of interest when, as a state senator, she votes for state-mandated giveaways to her union's members. In fairness, the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity's Freedom Index for 2019 proves that Valarie Lawson (Democrat, District 14, East Providence) is perfectly happy to give away taxpayer dollars to members of any government union.
As one of the worst legislators in the General Assembly, Lawson voted earlier this year to increase the benefits and leverage of teacher, police, fire, and municipal unions. She did so through unyielding "yes" votes on one terrible bill after another. She voted to make all union contracts last forever, as well as to reduce the maximum hours that firefighters can agree to work before being paid overtime. As a bit of union-ideologue icing on the cake, she also voted to make it more difficult for teenagers to get jobs by requiring them to take courses on labor issues.
Lawson's efforts to make government more expensive and to make work harder to find don't end with specifically union issues. If there was a left-wing cause on the docket, she gave it a thumbs up, from permissive pro-abortion legislation to locking ObamaCare's compulsory health insurance rule into state law.
Naturally, to pay for her freedom-crushing preferences, Senator Lawson also favored the continuation of unfair taxation of Rhode Islanders. For example, she voted to renege on the state's promise to reduce the abusive sales tax rate when it started collecting the tax on Internet purchases.
The Ethics Commission may be willing to turn a blind eye to her obvious conflicts of interest, but Rhode Islanders shouldn't ignore the fact that Senator Valarie Lawson's interests definitely conflict with theirs.