The lieutenant governor has many roles, but his most important is the role of President of the Senate. As president, he presides over the debates in the chamber.
The lieutenant governor is the second highest ranked official in the state. Should anything happen to the governor that prevents him/her from serving the office the lieutenant governor would move up and fill the position.
The lieutenant governor oversees legislation in the Senate chamber, but cannot vote on the legislation. The lieutenant governor can work with members of the Senate on specific legislation that he or she wishes to be introduced to the chamber.
Forty-three states in the U.S. have a lieutenant governor, and the other seven can opt to have this position if they choose. In most states the governor and lieutenant governor run on the same ticket for election in order to ensure they are both from the same party.
Some states, including Rhode Island have made movements to abolish the office of the lieutenant governor. There are critics of the position in both major parties who feel there is not a need for this office. As of 2015, legislation to remove the office in some states has not been successful. When the governor of the state is away the lieutenant governor oversees the position.