Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Attachments
  
  
  
Description
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Abstract
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
15,151
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee has approved a $9.97 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year that largely avoids new taxes while strengthening education, continuing the car-tax phase-out and maintaining municipal aid, while also closing a $200 million budget gap.

“This is definitely a pro-business, pro-consumer budget that reflects our commitment to operate within our state’s means. We are fully funding the essential programs our state provides to its citizens, particularly education, and keeping our commitments without instituting new taxes or plunging our state into unjustifiable debt. This budget is balanced and sound, and will help Rhode Island continue to move forward in the coming year,” said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston)

Said House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown), “As with any legislative session, the state budget is perhaps the most important bill that comes before the General Assembly because it affects every single resident of Rhode Island.  The House Finance Committee has spent countless hours vetting and hearing testimony on the governor’s budget proposal.  We have faced numerous hard decisions when formulating this budget, and I am proud of the work that has been accomplished. I believe that this budget will serve the people of Rhode Island fairly while also keeping our economy stable and strong for the future to come.”

The bill (2019-H 5151A), which is scheduled to be brought before the full House for a vote June 21, restores full funding for the third year of the phase-out of the automobile excise tax, a program instituted through legislation sponsored by Speaker Mattiello. In the budget she submitted to legislators earlier in the year, the governor had proposed slowing down the phase-out, which is set to be complete after 2023.

The committee did not include the governor’s proposal to institute a new fee on large businesses whose employees are enrolled in Medicaid programs, nor did it include her proposal to expand the sales tax to include lobbying services, design services and commercial building contracts for services like cleaning and landscaping. It also declined to increase the hotel tax and didn’t include a new excise tax on firearms and ammunition. The committee did let one part of her sales tax expansion stand: digital downloads and streaming services like Netflix will be subject to the sales tax under the version approved by the committee.

The committee added the elimination of the “tampon tax” to the budget, agreeing to make feminine hygiene products exempt from sales tax, a proposal originally put forth in separate legislation (2019-H 5307, 2019-S 0049) by Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Tiverton, Newport). Of the 45 U.S. states that collect sales tax, 10, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, currently exempt feminine hygiene products. The committee also added urns to the list of funeral items that are tax exempt, as proposed in a separate bill (2019-H 5157, 2019-S 0054) sponsored by Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston). All tax changes would take effect Oct. 1.

The committee added House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi’s (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) proposal (2019-H 5576) to provide a work-around for owners of “pass-through” entities whose state and local taxes exceed the new $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction on their federal tax returns, instituted under the changes to the federal tax codes passed by Congress in December 2017. The change will allow pass-through entities, such as limited liability companies (LLCs), S corps, partnerships and sole proprietorships, to pay the state tax on their business income, instead of passing it along to their partners to claim on their personal income tax returns. Based legislation enacted in Connecticut, it is expected to be revenue-neutral for the state.

The committee rejected the proposal to increase the cigarette tax by 25 cents per pack and 30 cents on cigars, based on the impacts on small businesses, particularly border-town convenience stores who also benefit from sales of other products to people who come in to buy tobacco products.

While the committee kept the governor’s proposed increases to campsite fees at state parks to fund park and beach maintenance, it rejected an increase in beach parking fees.

The committee left economic development programs largely the same as they are in the current year, but set some new limits on the Rebuild RI economic development program.

The committee included legislation (2019-S-803Aaa) sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and passed by the Senate this week to establish a process for creating Special Economic Development Districts on state-owned tracts of 20 or more contiguous acres at their inception that are not owned or controlled by the Department of Environmental Management. The bill was triggered by delays and impediments imposed upon the Hope Point Tower proposal for the I-195 Redevelopment District. The special districts would be vested with authority to adopt development plans that include land use, location of buildings, street systems, dimension and height requirements, parking, landscaping, design review and population density.

The bill fully funds the state’s education aid formula, increasing direct aid by $34.4 million over the current year’s amount. The committee granted the governor’s request for $5 million for more support for English language learners, and much of her request for additional pre-kindergarten classrooms, adding $2.9 million for another 270 seats to the 1,080 that are currently funded, with expansion targeted toward the neediest families. All told, $14.9 million in general revenues will go toward high-quality pre-K.

The committee also added an additional $640,000 in funding for the Department of Education to help with education reforms.

While the committee did not concur with the governor’s proposal to expand the Rhode Island Promise program, it did fully fund the program as it stands, providing graduating high schoolers with two free years at the Community College of Rhode Island.

The committee added to the budget the proposal to establish a 17-member board of directors for the University of Rhode Island, providing it a governance structure similar to those of other public universities. URI is currently under the auspices of the state Council on Post-Secondary Education, which also oversees Rhode Island College and CCRI. The change was proposed in separate legislation (2019-H 6180) introduced by Speaker Mattiello.

The committee restored proposed cuts to health care. The committee rejected the proposed freeze on hospital reimbursement rates, and kept the proposal for a 1-percent rate increase to nursing home facilities, and kept in the modest wage hike for direct care workers who serve people with developmental disabilities.

The committee also added Senate President Ruggerio’s proposed Opioid Stewardship Act (2019-S 0798) to establish a restricted receipt account for $5 million to fund opioid treatment, recovery, prevention and education services funded by an assessment to manufacturers and distributors on opioid products sold or distributed in Rhode Island, with exemptions for those used for hospice care, addiction treatment and epidurals.

The committee also restored cuts to municipal aid, rejecting the governor’s cuts to both the excise tax phase-out and the payment in lieu of taxes program (PILOT) that reimburses municipalities for some of the taxes they lose out on from untaxed nonprofits in their community. Those changes restored $21.5 million in municipal aid.

The bill does not include the governor’s proposal to legalize recreational marijuana, although the committee did include authorization of six more compassion centers, in addition to the three existing ones, to sell medical marijuana. As part of the expansion, the committee increased the licensing fees for new centers to $500,000 each. It rejected the governor’s new restrictions on homegrown medical marijuana.

The committee added $220,000 in funding to help train E911 operators to better provide CPR instruction to callers while they await emergency responders, and established restricted receipts accounts for E911 surcharge fees on phone bills. To comply with federal requirements, the surcharges on phone bills will be split into two separate charges, one to support E911 operations and another for funding other public safety needs. Both will go into restricted receipt accounts.

The committee did not include funding for renovations to the “Super Max” prison facility.

It also increased “complete count” funding related to the upcoming census, from $150,000 in the governor’s proposal to $300,000.

The committee also added approval of up to $200 million in GARVEE bonds that will allow Rhode Island to take advantage of current low interest rates to fund the reconstruction of the viaduct that carries Route 95 north though downtown Providence. Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds are a common funding mechanism that allows the state to begin highway projects in anticipation of receipt of federal funds. Last month, the Senate approved separate legislation  (2019-S 0633A) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) to authorize the same bonds. House Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) sponsored the bill (2019-H 5883) in the House.

The committee did not concur with the governor’s plan to once again put off the reissuance of license plates, which is required by law. The budget would start replacing current license plates with a new design upon the renewal of registration, with a fee of $8 per vehicle, a $2 increase.

The committee also reduced from $10 million to $5 million in savings the state must identify in unspecified efficiencies over the course of the year. It also added statutes requiring more transparent reporting of overspending by state agencies and expanded the auditor general’s authority. It also achieved savings by eliminating vacant positions throughout state government.

The committee did not include a proposal to increase the minimum wage from $10.50 to $11.10 next year. The General Assembly has increased the minimum wage in six of the last seven years.
6/14/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; Rep. Nicholas Mattiello; #199; #120; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/money4_jpg.jpgYesApproved
The House Finance Committee has approved a $9.97 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year that largely avoids new taxes while strengthening education, continuing the car-tax phase-out and maintaining municipal aid, while also closing a $200 million budget gap.


YesYesApproved3704146/15/2019 12:42 AMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:18 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,149
  
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) has called on the attorney general to investigate the Department of Children, Youth and Families to determine if there is any criminal liability in the case of a nine-year-old girl who died in the custody of a Warwick woman.

Representative Solomon, a member of the House Oversight Committee, heard a review of a report that found DCYF staff had ignored several dangers facing eight special needs children who had been placed in the home of Michele Rothgeb of Warwick. One girl, Zha-Nae, 9, died in her custody. She was found lying face down naked in a bathtub by a rescue crew. Rothgeb is now facing charges of manslaughter.

“It broke my heart to read this report,” said Representative Solomon, whose district includes the home where the child died. “It is horrific to know what that girl suffered in addition to the other children in the house. No person should suffer like that. Anyone who was aware and let it happen should be held responsible.”

 “People need to be held accountable and responsible,” Rhode Island Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith told the committee. “Too many employees showed poor judgment and just reckless disregard, not only for this one child who died, but the other children who became her siblings.”

The Office of Child Advocate is tasked with the review of all fatalities or near fatalities involving abuse or neglect of children involved or recently involved with the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

“We maintain that the actions, or inactions of DCYF staff contributed to the death of this child,” the report said.

“I am so outraged and saddened by this; and I can’t believe that not a single employee in DCYF has even been fired over this incident,” said Representative Solomon. “It’s not enough to say they’re going to review their policies and procedures. We need to investigate to see if there is any criminal culpability here.”
6/14/2019RepRep. Joseph J. Solomon; #214; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/22-Solomon_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3704126/14/2019 12:08 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:09 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,145
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the 2020 state budget bill (2019-H 5151) tomorrow, Friday, June 14, at approximately 7 p.m. in Room 35 in the basement of the State House.

There will be a media briefing with Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) in Room 320 on the third floor shortly before the committee convenes.

For an update tomorrow on the approximate time of the briefing, please contact House Communications Director Larry Berman at (401) 447-2655 in the afternoon.

6/13/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/money2_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The House Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the 2020 state budget bill (2019-H 5151 Friday, June 14, at approximately 7 p.m. in Room 35 in the basement of the State House.
NoYesApproved3704086/13/2019 6:17 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:08 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,132
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has scheduled a meeting tomorrow for consideration of the Reproductive Privacy Act (2019-H 5125A).

The meeting is scheduled tomorrow, Thursday, June 13, at 6:15 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

There is a proposed amendment to the bill that will be considered at that time.

The bill, which codifies the protections in Roe v. Wade in Rhode Island law, is sponsored by Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence).

6/12/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Greg Pare
7
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/statehouse_night_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has scheduled a meeting Thursday tomorrow for consideration of the Reproductive Privacy Act 
NoYesApproved3703956/12/2019 3:38 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:08 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,116
  
Effort aimed at reducing overdose deaths, promoting treatment
 
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to explore the creation of a pilot program to create “harm reduction centers” to help prevent drug overdose deaths.

The centers would be supervised facilities for drug users, staffed by health care professionals who could help in cases of overdose and make treatment referrals. Often referred to as “safe injection facilities” or “supervised injection facilities,” there are about 120 such facilities operating in 12 countries worldwide.

“If we are truly going to rein in the drug overdose epidemic, we must recognize drug addiction as the health problem it is, rather than as merely a crime. People who are addicted need help and protection from the most dangerous possibilities of addiction. Having a place where someone can save them from an overdose and where there are people offering them the resources they need for treatment is a much better alternative to people dying alone in their homes or their cars. We could prevent needless death and turn lives around with a program like this,” said Chairman Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).

The legislation (2019-S 0297A) would authorize the Department of Health to establish regulations and explore the creation of a harm reduction pilot program for people to safely consume controlled substances they have obtained on their own. The centers must be staffed with health care professionals to prevent overdoses and make treatment referrals.

The bill also establishes a nine-member advisory committee made up of various stakeholders from the realms of health care, law enforcement and addiction to help the Department of Health maximize the effectiveness of the program and operate the centers in the safest possible way.

Under the bill, centers would be allowed only with the approval of the municipality in which they are located. The bill also stipulates that the programs should be designed to provide liability protection to the centers’ property owners and to staff at the centers.

According the American Medical Association, studies of supervised injection facilities in other countries have demonstrated that they reduce overdose deaths and transmission rates for infectious disease, and increase the number of individuals who seek addiction treatment, without increasing drug trafficking or crime in the areas where they are located.

Several other states and municipalities are considering similar harm reduction measures, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California and Philadelphia.

The bill is cosponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) and Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket).

It now goes to the House, where Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5545).
 

6/6/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/syringe_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to explore the creation of a pilot program to create “harm reduction centers” to help prevent drug overdose deaths.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Miller-Social_png.jpg3703796/6/2019 5:44 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:08 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,115
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today passed two measures sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin to help address pay gaps affecting women and members of minority groups.

“Women deserve to be paid just as much as men for our work. These bills provide employees a more effective, realistic set of tools for addressing unfair pay practices, and they help our state identify unequal pay where it occurs. Today we are doing more than raising awareness; We are making real progress toward fixing the problem of pay inequality,” said Senator Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence).

In Rhode Island, a woman working full-time still makes only 84 cents to the dollar that her male counterpart makes. Women of color are even more deeply affected. Black women in Rhode Island make 58 percent of what their white male counterparts make; for Latinas, the number is even lower— 49 percent. On average, Rhode Island working women lose $9,037 per year to the wage gap—money desperately needed by working families. The wage gap amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost earnings over a lifetime, and over $1 million on average for Latinas.

“These bills are two important first steps in closing wage gaps. This is a complex problem with lots of causes, including societal biases and expectations that need to change. By identifying where wage gaps exist and how wide they are, and better enabling workers to advocate for themselves, we are pointing our state in the right direction on this issue, moving toward a future where all Rhode Islanders, regardless of gender, race or any other factor, have fair opportunities to support themselves and their families,” said Senate Majority Whip Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

Senator Goldin’s bill (2019-S 0509) would provide protections and transparency in the workplace to help women and people of color demand equal pay for equal work. Titled the Fair Pay Act, the bill would make it illegal to pay workers less than their white, male colleagues without a clearly documented difference in skills. It clarifies “comparable work,” making it clear that workers need to be paid equally for “substantially similar” work even if every detail is not the same. It bans policies that prevent workers from discussing their pay with each other and removes past salary history as a consideration since discrimination is perpetuated over time by employers relying on past salaries, rather than skills and value, to determine current pay.  It also requires the employer to disclose the salary range for the position. reduced penalties for companies that take steps such as conducting an equal-pay analysis or making progress toward wage gap elimination. Companies that violate the law but are taking steps such as conducting an equal-pay analysis or making progress toward wage gap elimination, would be eligible for reduced penalties.

In 2017, Massachusetts passed a similar Fair Pay Act, joining cities and companies across the country that are enacting these policies.

The bill will now be sent to the House, where Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5659). Cosponsors include Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), Senator Goodwin, Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket).

Senator Goodwin’s bill (2019-S 0172), which will also now go to the House and is cosponsored by Senator Goldin, would collect data from employers of 100 or more people in Rhode Island to help determine industries and areas where pay gaps occur, and their extent. The Department of Labor and Training would be responsible for developing a form by which companies would report information on the compensation and hours worked by employees by age, gender, race, ethnicity, job category and occupation or title. DLT would publish aggregate data compiled from the reports, including state, regional, and industry pay disparities by occupational category.

Both bills would take effect Jan. 1.

6/6/2019SenSen. Gayle Goldin; Sen. Maryellen Goodwin; #200; #104; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/equal-pay_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate today passed two measures sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin to help address pay gaps affecting women and members of minority groups.
NoYesApproved3703786/6/2019 3:16 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:08 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,110
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation to ban housing discrimination against tenants or prospective tenants who receive housing subsidies.

The legislation (2019-S 0331), sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts, adds “lawful source of income” to the list of statuses — such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and marital status — that landlords may not use as a basis for their decisions about to whom they will rent, or which units they will rent to them. The bill would not apply to owner-occupied dwellings of three units or less.

“It should not be legal to refuse to rent to someone just because they get a housing subsidy. That’s discrimination against the poor and those who, for whatever reason, qualify for assistance. It’s a systematic way of keeping poor people out of certain places, and forcing them into certain other places. That’s segregation and it hurts families and our society. We absolutely should have addressed this problem long ago,” said Senator Metts, (D-Dist. 6, Providence).

A study by Southcoast Fair Housing released this spring found that although Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) recipients can afford more than one-third of listed apartments statewide, they are ultimately rejected from 93 percent. Over 9,300 households in Rhode Island rely on HCV to afford housing.

The organization uncovered what it described as “systemic online discrimination against voucher recipients” during the course of its research. When its researchers reached out to local housing providers by phone, 63 percent refused to rent to any tenant with a voucher. Another 11 percent expressed uncertainty. Southcoast Fair Housing’s report, titled, “‘It’s About the Voucher’ Source of Income Discrimination in Rhode Island,” is available online here.

The bill includes language that would still allow landlords to ask whether a prospective tenants is at least 18 years old, and allow them to check a prospective tenant’s income, its source and its expected duration only for the purpose of confirming the renter’s ability to pay rent.

The bill defines “lawful sources of income” as “income or other assistance derived from Social Security; Supplemental Security Income; any other federal, state or local general public assistance, including medical assistance; any federal, state or local housing assistance, including Section 8 Housing …, and any other rental assistance; child support; or alimony.”

In addition to protecting tenants from being refused housing based on their income, the bill protects them from other unlawful housing practices, including segregation.

Fourteen states currently prohibit housing discrimination based on lawful source of income. Rhode Island and New Hampshire are the only states in New England that lack this protection.

“I was in high school when there were sit-ins against housing discrimination in the 1960s. How disappointing it is that this discrimination still exists in 2019,” said Senator Metts. “We must make discrimination-free housing a civil right. Rhode Island should not be divided into haves and have-nots, with certain families stigmatized just because of the type of assistance they receive. That dynamic weakens and segregates our communities.”

The bill, which also passed the Senate last year, will now go to the House, where Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5137).

The HomesRI Income Discrimination Coalition, a diverse group of local organizations and community stakeholders, supports the legislation, as does Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. 

6/5/2019SenSen. Harold Metts; #91; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/affordable-housing_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate approved legislation to ban housing discrimination against tenants or prospective tenants who receive housing subsidies.
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Metts-Social_png.jpg3703736/5/2019 5:21 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:08 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,109
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne to ban 3-D printed firearms and other untraceable or undetectable firearms in Rhode Island.

“As we struggle to fight the gun epidemic in this country and try to improve our efforts to prevent children, criminals and the mentally ill from possessing firearms, we must not tolerate attempts to subvert our laws by making guns untraceable or undetectable. Serial numbers, background checks and metal detectors help prevent tragedies, and our laws should be clear that no one should be trying to get around them to engage in criminal activity,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).

The legislation (2019-S 0084 Aaa) would make it unlawful in Rhode Island for any person to manufacture, sell, offer to sell, transfer, purchase, possess, or have under his or her control any firearm that is made from plastic, fiberglass or through a 3-D printing process; or one that lacks a serial number under the requirements of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968; or one that would be undetectable by a metal detector after removal of all parts other than a major component, or whose major component would not generate an accurate image if subjected to the type of screening equipment used at airports and public buildings.

The bill sets a punishment for violations at up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Repeat offenders would not be eligible to have any part of their sentences suspended or deferred, or for probation.

In June 2018, the federal government entered a settlement with a Texas nonprofit called Defense Distributed that was to allow it to post free online blueprints for a pistol that could be created from plastic by anyone with 3-D printing equipment. A U.S. District Court later issued a preliminary injunction banning the release of the blueprints until the resolution of a lawsuit by attorneys general from 19 states and the District of Columbia seeking to ban the untraceable weapons.

Before the settlement, the U.S. State Department maintained Defense Distributed was in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. The attorneys general participating in the lawsuit, as well as Senator Coyne and many others, argue that releasing the plans imperils the public by allowing unlimited, unmarked, untraceable weapons to be accessed by anyone, including those legally prohibited from possessing them, and would allow the creation of weapons that would be undetectable by metal detectors.

Banning 3-D printed guns was one of the recommendations made by the Rhode Island Working Group for Gun Safety, a 43-member task force that was assembled following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., when panel issued its final report in October.

“With 3-D guns, criminals seeking guns would be able to bypass background checks, age restrictions and gun licensing rules,” said Senator Coyne, who is a retired lieutenant with the Rhode Island State Police. “This is a terrifying precedent, a blow to public safety and a huge potential tragedy in the making. We must not wait for the federal government or the courts to solve this problem. We can and must move now in Rhode Island to address this issue.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Senate Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) and Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton).

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5786).
6/5/2019SenSen. Cynthia A. Coyne; #208; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/3D-gun_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne to ban 3-D printed firearms and other untraceable or undetectable firearms in Rhode Island.



NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Coyne-Social_png.jpg3703726/5/2019 5:00 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 2:07 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,150
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Senate last week passed legislation sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would ensure more humane treatment of dogs and cats sold in pet stores.
 
The legislation (2019-S-699A) increases transparency regarding the source of dogs and cats to be sold by requiring pet stores to post information confirming the pet was seen by a licensed veterinarian, as well as inspection reports from breeders, and the total number of animals on the breeder’s premises at the time of the sale. This information, along with the breed, age, and date of birth of the pet, must be displayed on the pet’s enclosure.
 
The legislation also includes a provision so pet stores can obtain animals from rescue organizations and shelters, and prohibits pets being sold or traded on any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or other outdoor market.
 
“We’ve all heard horror stories of so-called puppy mills with sickening conditions that can leave pets with lifelong medical conditions or worse,” said President Ruggerio. “This legislation will help ensure that pet stores obtain their animals responsibly and treat them with the love and care they deserve.”
 
The measure further requires pet stores to report all of the breeder’s information to the State Veterinarian at the Department of Environmental Management.
 
The legislation has been sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

6/17/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3704136/14/2019 4:11 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 1:48 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,155
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Judiciary Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, June 18 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 101 of the State House to consider several pieces of legislation.

The following bills will be considered by the committee:
  • 2019-H 5355, sponsored by Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence), amends the definition of "public body" to include the board of directors of any library which has funded at least 25% of its operational budget in the prior budget year with public funds.
  • 2019-H 6043, sponsored by Rep. Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence), provides special protection to public safety canines and horses that are intentionally or maliciously subjected to cruelty, injuries, or death, by increasing the potential criminal and civil penalties for the offenders.
  • 2019-H 6114A, sponsored by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), requires that all persons seeking appointment as a limited guardian or guardian pursuant to chapter 15 of title 33 ("Limited Guardianships and Guardianship of Adults") be required to undergo a criminal background check.
  • 2019-H 6164A, sponsored by Rep. Robert B. Jacquard (D-Dist. 17, Cranston), allows the presiding justice of the Superior Court, to create a Superior Court Diversion Program.
  • 2019-H 6186, sponsored by Rep. Christopher T. Millea (D-Dist. 16, Cranston), provides no person may use wireless handset/personal wireless device for texting while driving.
The committee will also be hearing testimony on legislation (2019-H 6224) sponsored by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) which makes it a felony to isolate an elder or dependent adult and would expand the persons entitled to notice when a guardianship or conservatorship petition is filed in the probate court for dependents or elderly adults.

6/17/2019RepRep. Robert Craven; #189; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3704186/17/2019 12:32 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 12:32 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,154
  
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives will consider the FY 2020 state budget (2019-H 5151A) on Friday, June 21 at approximately 2 p.m. in the House chamber.

On Tuesday, June 18 at 3 p.m. in the House Lounge, Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) will provide a budget briefing before Friday’s vote. 

The briefing is open to all House members and the media.

6/17/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Rep. Marvin Abney; #120; #199; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/money2_jpg.jpgYesApproved
The House of Representatives will consider the FY 2020 state budget (2019-H 5151A) on Friday, June 21 at approximately 2 p.m. in the House chamber.


YesYesApproved3704176/17/2019 12:21 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 12:21 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,153
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, June 18 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 35 of the State House to consider several pieces of legislation.

The following bills will be considered by the committee:
  • 2019-H 5189 / 2019-S 0134, sponsored by Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), provides that the non-resident withholding requirement for a corporation that sells real estate be consistent with the seven percent corporate income tax rate.
  • 2019-H 5191A / 2019-S 0065aa, sponsored by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) and Sen. William J. Conley (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), enables city and town councils to grant tax relief from payment of real estate and property taxes during periods of federal and state government cessation of operations to state and federal employees.
  • 2019-H 5874 / 2019-S 0781A, sponsored by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth) and Senator DiPalma, reduces the number of infractions for a person to be considered a "toll violator" from 20 to 10. The act also reduces the number of infractions for a person to be considered a "toll evader" from 100 to 20.
  • 2019-S 0203, sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), extends the period for musical and theatrical productions to obtain tax credits to July 1, 2024.

6/17/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3704166/17/2019 12:03 PMSystem Account6/17/2019 12:03 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,152
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Judiciary Committee will be meeting twice on Tuesday to consider several appointments and a variety of legislation.

On Tuesday, June 18 at 3 p.m. in Room 313 of the State House, the committee will consider the advice and consent of Alberto Aponte Cardona, Esq. as a Magistrate of the RI Family Court.

The committee will meet again on Tuesday, June 18 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House to consider the following appointments:
  • Reappointment of Peri Ann Aptaker Esq. to the Convention Center Authority for a term expiring June 30, 2023.
  • Reappointment of Bernard Buonanno, II to the Convention Center Authority for a term expiring June 30, 2023.
  • Reappointment of Stan Israel to the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority for a term expiring June 30, 2023.
  • Reappointment of John Hooper to the Convention Center Authority for a term expiring June 30, 2023.
  • Reappointment of George Nee to the Convention Center Authority for a term expiring June 30, 2023.
  • Reappointment of Dale Venturini to the Convention Center Authority for a term expiring June 30, 2023.
The committee will also consider the following bills:
  • 2019-H 0610, sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), creates a new process with standards to be utilized when deciding whether an applicant's past criminal contacts' convictions should disqualify them from receiving a government issued license.
  • 2019-H 0953, sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), provides that law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, and agencies participating in the HOPE initiative be exempt from civil liability or criminal prosecution as a result of administering opioid antagonists.
  • 2019-S 0962, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), allows the presiding justice of the Superior Court to create a Superior Court Diversion Program.

6/17/2019SenSen. Erin Lynch Prata; #151; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3704156/17/2019 11:16 AMSystem Account6/17/2019 11:16 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,148
  
STATE HOUSE — Referencing “57 pages of well documented chronic incompetence,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Patricia Serpa expressed disbelief Thursday night that not one employee of the Department of Children, Youth and Families was terminated in the wake of a young girl’s death.

“We take babies from the delivery room, we take children from their biological parents, because we say, ‘You’re at risk. You’re not safe.’ We take them with the sacred charge of keeping them safe. And what did we do here? We buried this little girl.”

The committee heard a review of a report that found DCYF staff had ignored several dangers facing eight special needs children who had been placed in the home of Michele Rothgeb of Warwick. One girl, Zha-Nae, 9, died in her custody. She was found lying face down naked in a bathtub by a rescue crew.

“People need to be held accountable and responsible,” Rhode Island Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith told the committee. “Too many employees showed poor judgment and just reckless disregard, not only for this one child who died, but the other children who became her siblings.”

The Office of Child Advocate is tasked with the review of all fatalities or near fatalities involving abuse or neglect of children involved or recently involved with the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

“We maintain that the actions, or inactions of DCYF staff contributed to the death of this child,” the report said.

“How many more children have to die?” asked Representative Serpa. “This is a tragedy. This is injustice. This is murder. There is blood on this department’s hands.”

Chairwoman Serpa told DCYF officials that the committee would reconvene in about six weeks to take up the matter again.
6/14/2019RepRep. Patricia Serpa; #121; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/27-serpa_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3704116/14/2019 11:26 AMSystem Account6/14/2019 11:28 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,147
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate has approved four bills sponsored Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne to better support Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease and to protect against elder abuse.

The Senate has approved Senator Coyne’s bill (2019-S 0223) to establish a program within the Department of Health dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease, and create a 13-member advisory council that would provide policy recommendations, evaluate state-funded efforts for care and research and provide guidance to state officials on advancements in treatment, prevention and diagnosis. The bill is based on legislation signed into law last year in Massachusetts.

“Alzheimer’s disease profoundly reshapes families, often for years. Its effects slowly rob people of the abilities they have had their whole lives. Providing the care that their loved ones need can be an enormous challenge for families. We must ensure that we are carefully and effectively using every available resource we have to ensure that every person affected by Alzheimer’s has the support and care they need,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), whose father died after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The bill, which unanimously passed the Senate June 4, would require the Department of Health to assess all state programs related to Alzheimer’s, and maintain and annually update the state’s plan for Alzheimer’s disease. The bill would also require the Department of Health to establish an Alzheimer’s disease assessment protocol specifically focused on recognizing the signs and symptoms of cognitive impairments, and appropriate resource information for effective medical screening, investigation and service planning. The bill would require caseworkers working with the Department of Elderly Affairs to be familiar with those protocols. Additionally, the bill would require a one-time, hour-long training on diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with cognitive impairments for all physicians and nurses licensed in the state. House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) is sponsoring the bill (2019-H 5178) in the House.

Adoption of the bill would enable Rhode Island to qualify for federal funding that is available to help states with their efforts to support those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, the Senate approved three more of her bills related to Alzheimer’s care or elder abuse.

The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0302A) she is sponsoring to allow the spouses or partners of patients residing in Alzheimer’s or dementia special care unit or program to live with them, even if they do not meet the requirements as patients themselves. Allowing couples to live together would help maintain patients’ relationships, connections and personal dignity. Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) is sponsoring the bill (2019-H 5141) in the House.

It also passed legislation (2019-S 0603A) expanding a law that requires people who have reasonable cause to believe a person over age 60 is being abused, neglected or mistreated to report it to the Division of Elderly Affairs, which will report the incident to law enforcement if appropriate, and intervene.

Currently, health care providers and numerous types of workers who come into contact with elderly or disabled people in health care facilities are required to report suspected abuse or neglect within 24 hours.

The legislation adds a section of law requiring reporting of suspected abuse, exploitation, neglect or self-neglect of people over age 60, regardless of whether they live in a health care facility. It also expands the list of those required to report suspected abuse to include physician assistants and probation officers and protects employees who report abuse from liability (unless they are found to be a perpetrator) or negative consequences at work for reporting abuse or neglect. Similar legislation (2019-H 5573) is sponsored in the House by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).

Passage of the bill comes just in time for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is Saturday, June 15. Designated by the United Nations, the commemoration is intended to raise awareness about the millions of older adults worldwide who experience elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Additionally, the Senate today passed a third bill sponsored by Senator Coyne to require a nationwide criminal background check for anyone seeking guardianship or limited guardianship of another adult, even temporarily. Under the bill (2019-S 0845A), anyone who is found to have been convicted or plead nolo contendere to charges for a variety of crimes, including violent crimes or crimes involving abuse or neglect of elders, would be disqualified. The bill is being recommended by the Senate’s Special Task Force to Study Elderly Abuse and Financial Exploitation, which is chaired by Senator Coyne. Similar legislation (2019-H 6114) is being sponsored in the House by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).

All four bills passed by the Senate are now bound for the House.

“There must be no tolerance for abuse or neglect of elderly people, and no vulnerable elderly person should be left in the care of a person who has a criminal past that includes violence or abuse,” said Senator Coyne. “These bills aim to ensure that elderly people are in safe hands and are helped immediately if they are being victimized.”

Senator Coyne is also sponsoring a resolution (2019-S 0310) in support of the adoption and implementation of a new five-year update to the state plan for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The state’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, led by Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, developed the updates over the course of a year, announcing its completion in February. The plan includes more than 30 recommendations, including the allocation of one director-level position within the Department of Health to coordinate the implementation of actions in the plan, efforts to promote Alzheimer’s and dementia research in Rhode Island and the inclusion of brain health in existing publicly-funded health promotion and chronic disease management activities. Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) is sponsoring the bill (2019-H 5569) in the House.

There are an estimated 23,000 Rhode Islanders age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease — about 17.4 percent of that population, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, the rate of Alzheimer’s is expected to increase. In just six years, the number is expected to increase to 27,000. In the United States, nearly one in every three seniors who die has Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
6/13/2019SenSen. Cynthia A. Coyne; #208; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/32-Coyne_jpg.jpgYesApproved
The Senate has approved four bills sponsored Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne to better support Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease and to protect against elder abuse.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Coyne-Social_png.jpg3704106/13/2019 6:34 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 7:19 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,139
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved three bills that are part of a package of education reform legislation that was unveiled earlier this year.

The entire package of bills would bring a comprehensive reform to curriculum, instruction support, accountability, teacher certification, specialty skills certification, teacher assessments and the principal certification process.

The first bill (2019-S 0863Aaa), introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, would require the Commissioner of Education to align statewide academic standards with curriculum and the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System. It would also require the Commissioner to develop curriculum frameworks, which are broad, research-based instructional strategies for educators to help students develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge called for by the statewide standards.

“This bill would ensure that our academic standards set forth the skills, competencies, and knowledge expected of each student. The curriculum will align with those standards, and the frameworks would provide strategies to help meet the diverse needs of our students, closing any gaps that exist,” said Senator Gallo. “The bills seek to bring about a culture change within our education system so that the talented professionals at the Department of Education can shift from ensuring compliance to assisting schools with on the ground – or in the classroom – support. We need educators, not regulators.”

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5008A) has been introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

Under the second bill (2019-S 0864A), sponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would become a professional support partner with local education agencies regarding effective ways to evaluate student improvement and proficiency. The department would support local schools by providing a comprehensive understanding of how curriculum affects those schools based on their specific characteristics, such as size, budget, and demographics.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 6111) has been introduced by Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence).

The third bill (2019-S 0869), sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a fast-track program to certify new principals. Applicants to the program must have at least 10 years of experience as an “effective” or “highly effective” teacher, a recommendation from the superintendent where they have taught, a record of leadership and a master’s degree.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 6085) has been introduced by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket).
6/13/2019SenSen. Hanna Gallo; Sen. Harold Metts; Sen. Adam Satchell; #88; #91; #201; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/pencil_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3704026/13/2019 1:02 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 6:33 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,146
  
Model allows greater autonomy for disabled, elderly people who need support
 
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell to establish a formal process recognizing “supported decision making,” a structure of support for disabled or aging individuals.

The legislation establishes a system of personal support that is less restrictive than guardianship to help individuals maintain independence while receiving assistance in making and communicating important life decisions. It is aimed at providing an alternative with more self-determination for individuals who are aging or who have developmental or intellectual disabilities.

“Regardless of disabilities, all people deserve dignity and the right to make as many of their own decisions about their lives as possible. While guardianship may be the right fit for some people, supported decision making is much less restrictive and maintains individuals’ autonomy while ensuring they have the help they need. This is an opportunity for more fulfilling, independent lives for many Rhode Islanders,” said Senator Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick).

Under the bill (2019-S 0031A), individuals in Rhode Island would be able to designate another person, or a team of people, as a supporter who would help them gather and weigh information, options, responsibilities and consequences of their life decisions about their personal affairs, support services, medical or psychological treatment, education and more. The supporter would also help the individual communicate the person’s wishes to those who need to know.

The legislation is supported by the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and AARP Rhode Island. Eight other states and Washington, D.C. have enacted legislation to legally recognize some form of supported decision making.

The legislation creates a legal form that establishes the agreement between individuals and their supporters, and designates the types of decisions with which the supporter is authorized to help.

The bill establishes that decisions made with support under such an agreement are legally valid, and allows supporters to assist with the accessing an individual’s confidential health and educational records.

It also requires that any other person who is aware that an individual is being abused, neglected or exploited by their supporter is obligated to report that abuse to the proper authorities.

The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives, where House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5909). The Senate bill is cosponsored by Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) , Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket). 

6/13/2019SenSen. Adam Satchell; #201; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3704096/13/2019 6:24 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 6:25 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,140
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation (2019-S 0855) introduced by Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that would rename the state airport “Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.”

“The airport is an economic engine for Warwick and Rhode Island and this opportunity to raise the airport’s brand awareness could attract even more domestic and international travelers to the Ocean State,” said Senate Majority Leader McCaffrey. “More passengers means more dollars spent at Warwick and Rhode Island businesses.”

The airport was established in 1931 as Hillsgrove State Airport. In 1938, it was renamed T.F. Green Airport in honor of Rhode Island Governor and U.S. Senator Theodore Francis Green.

The change has been touted by airport executives as a way to increase awareness of Rhode Island’s main airport to domestic and international travelers and more accurately reflect the changing complexion of the airport while continuing to honor the memory of T.F. Green.

 “As a family, we are pleased that the Senate agrees that the honor bestowed on Senator Green some 80 years ago should remain as part of our state airport’s name forever,” said Theodore F. Green II, great-nephew of the late senator.

Today, Green Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the U.S. Its complement of airlines includes: Air Canada, Allegiant Airlines, American Airlines, Azores Airlines, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, New England Airlines, Norwegian Air, OneJet, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 6149) has been introduced by Rep. Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence).
6/13/2019SenSen. Michael McCaffrey; #106; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/29-McCaffrey_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/McCaffrey-Social_png.jpg3704036/13/2019 1:04 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 6:21 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,127
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee has scheduled a vote Thursday on the 2020 state budget bill (2019-H 5151). (Note that amendments to the proposal will be introduced at this meeting.)
The meeting is scheduled Thursday, June 13, at approximately 7:00 p.m.

All House Finance Committee hearings take place in Room 35 on the basement level of the State House. They are televised live on Capitol TV, which can be seen on Channel 15 for Cox Communications and Full Channel subscribers, Channel 1013 for Cox HD customers, and Channel 34 for Verizon viewers. They are also live streamed at www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV.

6/11/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/money2_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The House Finance Committee has scheduled a vote Thursday on the 2020 state budget bill (2019-H 5151). (Note that amendments to the proposal will be introduced at this meeting.)
The meeting is scheduled Thursday, June 13, at approximately 7:00 p.m.



NoYesApproved3703906/11/2019 7:36 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 6:18 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,142
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0702A) that precludes the disability of a parent from serving as a basis for denial or restriction in matters involving a child's welfare, foster care, family law, guardianship and adoption was passed by the Senate tonight.

“Individuals with disabilities continue to face unfair, preconceived, and unnecessary societal biases, as well as antiquated attitudes regarding their ability to successfully parent their own children.  This leads to new parents with disabilities being unnecessarily referred to social workers and governmental staff for evaluations of their parenting abilities to provide proper care and environments for their children, based solely upon erroneous assumptions about the parent’s disability.  This is unfair, unjust, and may also have serious effects on children who may be denied the opportunity to live in a loving home with parents or caretakers who also have disabilities.  Our society is strongest with strong family environments so we should not eliminate loving homes for our kids simply because a parent has a disability,” said Senator DiPalma.

The purpose of the legislation is to protect the best interests of children who have parents with disabilities by establishing procedural safeguards that require adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This would include education of hospital, child protective services and judicial staff in the equal protection rights of parents with disabilities in the context of child welfare, foster care, family law, and adoption.

The legislation states that a parent’s disability cannot serve as the basis of referral to a hospital social worker or the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.  The parent’s disability cannot serve as the basis for the denial or restriction of visitation and custody either if the child’s best interests are taken into account.

Also, when a parent’s disability is alleged to have a detrimental impact on a child, the party raising the allegation bears the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence that the behaviors are, or will likely, endanger the health, safety, and welfare of the child.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration where Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) is the sponsor of the companion legislation (2019-H 5562).

6/13/2019SenSen. Louis DiPalma; #147; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/12-DiPalma_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0702A) that precludes the disability of a parent from serving as a basis for denial or restriction in matters involving a child's welfare, foster care, family law, guardianship and adoption was passed by the Senate.


YesYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/DiPalma-Social_png.jpg3704056/13/2019 4:29 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 6:14 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,138
  
STATE HOUSE — The State Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Sen.  James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) that would impose a substance abuse fine for those who drive under the influence or fail to submit to a breathalyzer test.

The legislation (2019-S 0238A) would impose a $250 fine on any conviction of driving under the influence or a violation for refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer that would fund substance abuse programs. Senator Seveney submitted the legislation after touring the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal and discussing the need for increased funding for substance abuse prevention programs with Chief Magistrate Domenic DiSandro III.

“I’d like to thank Chief Magistrate DiSandro and Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey for their assistance in developing this alternative funding stream,” said Senator Seveney. “This legislation will require those who drink and drive to fund important substance abuse programs, which in turn will help to mitigate the incidence of driving under the influence.”

Those funds would be allocated to the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Development Disabilities and Hospitals and used to fund substance abuse programs and student assistance programs for youth.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5293) has been introduced by Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton).
6/13/2019SenSen. James A. Seveney; #229; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/11-Seveney_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Seveney-Social_png.jpg3704016/13/2019 12:59 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 6:13 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,143
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien’s (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5887A) that would require certain licensed public school teachers to be proficient in scientific and structured literacy reading instruction passed the House of Representatives tonight.  The bill also requires all other licensed teachers to have a cursory knowledge of scientific and structured literacy reading instruction.

The legislation passed unanimously with a 68-0 vote.

Scientific and structured literacy reading instruction is the teaching of how sounds relate to letters and words during reading instruction.  It is based upon research regarding how the brain works while learning spoken and written language with an emphasis on phonological awareness, alphabetic principle, orthographic awareness, and comprehension strategies.

Currently, many teachers and teaching students are unaware of the research and teaching methods behind scientific and structured literacy reading instruction and the goal of the legislation is to rectify this gap in educational instruction. 

“Too many of our children, especially those with dyslexia, cannot read at their grade level and are being left behind in the educational process.  This gap in literacy teaching is because outdated methods of teaching literacy are still being taught to our teachers and this bill requires our teachers to learn and to instruct their students with the clinically-tested and scientifically-proven ‘scientific and structured literacy reading instruction’ model,” said Representative O’Brien.

The legislation establishes several benchmarks for when current and future teachers should be prepared to teach literacy with the scientific and structured literacy reading instruction model.  The legislation also lays out penalties for schools and teachers who are not proficient with the literacy teaching method within the defined time period.

“The fact that the Rhode Island Department of Education has no one on staff that is a trained and qualified dyslexia expert is extremely troubling.  The department has been letting down 20 percent of our student population for years by ignoring the problems and issues within our dyslexic student population and it is shameful.  I hope that this bill can fix these problems and finally give all of our students the education that they deserve,” said Representative O’Brien.

The bill also instructs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop website resources to assist school districts in developing programs to ensure all teachers and administrators have professional awareness of best practices on recognition of dyslexia and related disorders and evidence-based interventions and accommodations for students with dyslexia and related disorders.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

6/13/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgYesApproved
Rep. William W. O’Brien’s (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5887A) that would require certain licensed public school teachers to be proficient in scientific and structured literacy reading instruction passed the House of Representatives tonight.  The bill also requires all other licensed teachers to have a cursory knowledge of scientific and structured literacy reading instruction.


YesYesApproved3704066/13/2019 4:31 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 5:27 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,137
  
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today approved two bills that are part of a package of education reform legislation that was unveiled earlier this year.

The entire package of bills would bring a comprehensive reform to curriculum, instruction support, accountability, teacher certification, specialty skills certification, teacher assessments and the principal certification process.

The first bill (2019-H 5008A), introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, would require the Commissioner of Education to align statewide academic standards with curriculum and the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System. It would also require the Commissioner to develop curriculum frameworks, which are broad, research-based instructional strategies for educators to help students develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge called for by the statewide standards.

 “The goal is to give parents a clear map of what their children will be learning, and have it be consistent statewide,” said Representative McNamara. “It’s tremendously important that we bring these three tiers — standards, curriculum and testing — into alignment.”

The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 0863A) introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) has been approved by the Senate Education Committee.

The second bill (2019-H 6085A), sponsored by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket), would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a fast-track program to certify new principals. Applicants to the program must have at least 10 years of experience as an “effective” or “highly effective” teacher, a recommendation from the superintendent where they have taught, a record of leadership and a master’s degree.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 0869A) sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) has been approved by the Senate Education Committee.
6/13/2019RepRep. Joseph McNamara; Rep. Jean Philippe Barros; #41; #222; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/pencil_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3704006/13/2019 12:56 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 5:23 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,141
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that would increase Rhode Island’s earned income tax credit.

The legislation (2019-S 0272) would raise the earned income tax credit from 15 percent to 20 percent for the tax years 2020 and beyond.

The EITC is a tax credit that reduces the income tax owed by lower-wage working families. The federal credit is considered one of the nation’s most effective tools for lifting families out of poverty, boosting the incomes of low-paid working families who struggle to afford basic needs like housing, heat, food, and health care.

The value of the federal credit changed in December 2017 with passage of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which uses a different measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index. This means that the maximum value of the federal credit will rise more slowly over time than under the previous method. 

“This change reduces the value of Rhode Island’s current 15 percent EITC,” said Senator Conley. “With reduced federal and state credits combined, working families stand to lose hundreds of dollars per year. Rhode Island can mitigate this effect by increasing our EITC from 15 to 20 percent.  It is worth noting that three of every five recipients of the federal credit use it temporarily — for just one or two years at a time — while they get back on their feet.”

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5245) has been introduced by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence).
6/13/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/18-Conley_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Conley-Social_png.jpg3704046/13/2019 1:06 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 5:23 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,136
  
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would ensure the use of appropriate disability language in state job descriptions and regulations.

The bill (2019-H 5289) would authorize and empower the personnel administrator to revise state job descriptions to incorporate the appropriate language. For instance, the term “mentally retarded” would be replaced with “intellectual and developmental disability.” The term “addict” would be replaced with “person with a substance use disorder.”

“Many of the state’s job descriptions still reference the former Department of mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals along with using a lot of no-longer-appropriate language,” said Representative McNamara, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. “Without a legislative change, it would take the personnel director about 50 separate public hearings to fix these job descriptions. This bill would eradicate the use of some pretty archaic and offensive language.”

The bill would likewise authorize the Office of Regulatory Reform to update the same language in state regulations.

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

6/13/2019RepRep. Joseph McNamara; #41; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/19-mcnamara_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703996/13/2019 12:54 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 5:05 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,144
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien’s (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5023) that would expand Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations passed the House of Representatives tonight.

“Often in cases of domestic violence, pets can be severely harmed by the abuser as well. Many states in the country already have laws that include pets in domestic violence protection orders. An innocent animal should not be allowed to be left with dangerous and violent abusers and I thank my colleagues in the House for passing this bill that will protect our dear pets during domestic abuse situations,” said Representative O’Brien.

Representative O’Brien has previously sponsored an animal protection law that requires anyone entrusted with the care and control of an animal, such as a veterinarian or an animal shelter worker, to report any discovered instance of animal cruelty to the proper authorities.

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) is the sponsor of the companion legislation (2019-S 0225) in the Senate.  President Ruggerio’s bill has already passed the Rhode Island Senate and is currently before the House Judiciary Committee.

Representative O’Brien’s legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

6/13/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3704076/13/2019 4:32 PMSystem Account6/13/2019 4:54 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,135
  
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives has passed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) that would allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control.

The bill (2019-H 5549) would authorize a pharmacist to prescribe and dispense hormonal contraceptive patches and self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives, provided that the pharmacist has completed a training program approved by the state board of pharmacy.

“Taking time off work, finding transportation to a clinic and paying for a doctor’s visit is a lot of work to get birth control,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “Pharmacist-prescribed birth control would improve the quality of life for so many women, which is an important goal of our evolving health care system.”

Rhode Island would join 12 other states that have existing laws allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control.

“Pharmacists are highly underutilized health care professionals,” said Representative Wilkinson. “Laws that keep developing and whose policies are incorporated into practice will allow the profession to expand and better serve patients. Prescribing birth control is a major step in pharmacists’ ability to take some of the workload off physicians, use their knowledge to the fullest, and enhance the patient’s health care experience.”

The legislation would limit prescriptions to those patients who are at least 18 years of age, unless the patient has evidence of a previous prescription from a primary care practitioner or women’s health care practitioner.

The pharmacist would also be required to provide a self-screening risk assessment tool that the patient must use prior to the pharmacist’s prescribing the birth control.

“Some states have found a decrease in abortion rates following enactment of this law,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, research shows that access to effective birth control leads to lower abortion rates, likely by helping to prevent unintended pregnancies.”

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.

6/12/2019RepRep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson; #235; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/21-Vella-Wilkinson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703986/12/2019 4:31 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 5:10 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,134
  
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed a joint resolution introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) that’s aimed at better supporting Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

The legislation (2019-H 5569) supports the adoption and implementation of a new five-year update to the state plan for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The state’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, led by Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, developed the updates over the course of a year, announcing its completion in February.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a public health crisis-in-the-making, and that cannot be overstated,” said Representative Ackerman. “It impairs thinking and the independence of millions of people worldwide. And it’s going to get worse. Since dementia affects physical and cognitive functions, such as speech and memory, people with Alzheimer’s are more likely to use long-term services and supports. And that doesn’t even take into account all the unpaid caregivers, the spouses, family members, friends or others.”

The plan includes more than 30 recommendations, including the allocation of one director-level position within the Department of Health to coordinate the implementation of actions in the plan, efforts to promote Alzheimer’s and dementia research in Rhode Island and the inclusion of brain health in existing publicly-funded health promotion and chronic disease management activities.

There are an estimated 23,000 Rhode Islanders age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease — about 17.4 percent of that population, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, the rate of Alzheimer’s is expected to increase. In just six years, the number is expected to increase to 27,000. In the United States, nearly one in every three seniors who die has Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where a companion resolution (2019-S 0310) has been introduced by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).

6/12/2019RepRep. Mia Ackerman; #191; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/45-ackerman_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703976/12/2019 4:29 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 4:51 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,106
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) has been honored by the Rhode Island Athletic Trainers’ Association with the group’s 2019 Frank Murgo Service Award.  Representative Amore was presented with the award at the association’s Athletic Training Conference and State Meeting held at Providence College on June 4.

Representative Amore was honored due to his educational efforts and dedicated service to the athletes and athletic trainers of Rhode Island.

“I am honored and humbled to have received this recognition from the RI Athletic Trainers’ Association.  As someone who has been involved in competitive youth sports for years, I have witnessed how invaluable the work of athletic trainers is to the health and safety of our young athletes and I thank them for all that they do and for this wonderful honor,” said Representative Amore.

The Rhode Island Athletic Trainers’ Association is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers who support the athletic training profession in the state of Rhode Island.  They are a member organization of the National Athletic Trainer's Association, District One.

6/5/2019RepRep. Gregg Amore; #195; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/65-Amore_JPG.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) has been honored by the Rhode Island Athletic Trainers’ Association with the group’s 2019 Frank Murgo Service Award.  Representative Amore was presented with the award at the association’s Athletic Training Conference and State Meeting held at Providence College on June 4.



NoYesApproved3703696/5/2019 2:02 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:52 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,103
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) has been honored with the “Make a Difference” award for her groundbreaking work for immigrants, especially the Cape Verdean and Latino people of Pawtucket.

Senator Nesselbush’s district has a large number of Cape Verdean residents, and she is actively involved in their community. The Cape Verdean community has bonded together to form the Damata Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to raise a $1 million endowment, the interest from which will finance college scholarships for students in the Cape Verde islands. Pawtucket has a large and prosperous Cape Verdean community which is committed to assisting those back home who are less fortunate.

The Damata Foundation recently celebrated their five year anniversary at a gala celebration and dinner held in April at the Providence Convention Center. The event was attended by hundreds of supporters, and several awards were given. Senator Nesselbush was pleased and honored to receive the “Making a Difference” award.

“In our diversity, lies our strength. Education is the great equalizer, and America is a great nation in part because one can arrive at our shores as part of a poor, huddled mass.  In America, you can transform social and economic strata, achieving prosperity that allows for philanthropy back home. That’s exactly what the Damata Foundation does. I’m proud to have received this award, proud of the Damata Foundation and proud of our entire Cape Verdean community,” said Senator Nesselbush.

The award was formally presented to Senator Nesselbush at a ceremony at the State House on May 22, 2019.

Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush, third from right, accepts the “Making a Difference” award from the Damata Foundation in the Senate chamber.  Pictured with Senator Nesselbush, from the left, is Ismail da Silva, Luisa Xavier, Romana Ramos, Jorge Brito, and Nelson Evora.

6/4/2019SenSen. Donna Nesselbush; #179; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Nesselbush-Damata-Award-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) has been honored with the “Make a Difference” award for her groundbreaking work for immigrants, especially the Cape Verdean and Latino people of Pawtucket.



NoYesApproved3703666/4/2019 12:35 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:52 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,101
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) with the group’s Legislative Award on June 1 at their annual awards ceremony hosted in Warwick.  Representative Azzinaro, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, received the award due to his constant and tireless advocacy for veterans’ issues at the State House.

“This honor bestowed upon me by the VFW is truly close to my heart because I am so grateful for all that our veterans have done in order to ensure our American way of life.  The gratitude I have for our veterans is why I fight so hard for their best-interests at the State House and I will continue to honor their sacrifices every single time I enter the doors of the State House.  Thank you to the VFW and all of our veterans for the many sacrifices you have made in order to protect our country,” said Representative Azzinaro.

The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service due to many arriving home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.

Annually, the nearly 1.7 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make a Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sam Azzinaro receives the RI Veterans of Foreign Awards Legislative Award on June 1, 2019 in Warwick for his dedication to veterans and his leadership and sponsorship of several veterans’ related bills.  From left are VFW officials John Gallo and Jerry Herker, Chairman Azzinaro and VFW official Raymond Blanda.

6/4/2019RepRep. Samuel Azzinaro; #134; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Azzinaro-VFW-award-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) with the group’s Legislative Award on June 1 at their annual awards ceremony hosted in Warwick.  Representative Azzinaro, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, received the award due to his constant and tireless advocacy for veterans’ issues at the State House.


NoYesApproved3703646/4/2019 9:20 AMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,088
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) legislation (2019-H 5171A) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was passed by the House of Representatives tonight. 

More specifically, the legislation extends the statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse claims to 35 years.  Currently, the statute of limitations is seven years in Rhode Island.

“It is unfortunate that this bill is needed in our society because it signals that not only are our children being sexually victimized, but even more sadly, many of these victims will never have their day in court to face their abusers and demand accountability for the vicious childhood assaults that have haunted their lives – often times for decades.  It is for this reason that we need to significantly extend the statute of limitations on civil actions relating to sexual abuse.” said Representative McEntee.

The bill would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years. The legislation would also extend to 35 years the statute of limitations for entities, individuals or organizations which caused or contributed to childhood sexual abuse through negligent supervision, conduct, concealment or other factors that enabled the abuse to occur. 

The 35 year statute begins at the age of 18 for the victims.

The bill also enables victims of sex abuse to file suit against perpetrators and non-perpetrators up to seven years from the time a victim discovered or remembered abuse had taken place, such as through therapy as an adult or parent.

Representative McEntee introduced this bill due to her own personal family connection to childhood sexual abuse.  Last session and this session, Representative McEntee has accompanied her older sister, Dr. Ann Hagan Webb, to testify in favor of the legislation.  Dr. Webb recounted her own experiences being a young survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of the family parish priest. 
Representative McEntee’s sister, now a psychologist specializing in counseling adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, detailed how often it takes years, if not decades, for victims of childhood sexual assault to not only come to terms with their abuse, but also to find the strength to come forward, to name their abuser, and seek justice for the crimes perpetrated against their innocence and youth.

Dr. Webb also explained that because of the complex and often long healing process in regards to these crimes, many abusers are not only never charged criminally, but they also are shielded by statutes of limitations from having to answer for their crimes in a civil manner.

“Victims of childhood sexual abuse deserve justice and by passing this legislation, these brave people who have the courage to confront their victimizers will have a chance at justice for the crimes committed against them as children,” concluded Representative McEntee.

The bill has been referred to the Rhode Island Senate for consideration.

5/30/2019RepRep. Carol Hagan McEntee; #226; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/33-McEntee_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) legislation (2019-H 5171A) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was passed by the House of Representatives.


NoYesApproved3703515/30/2019 5:50 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,083
  
 STATE HOUSE – Rep. Julie A. Casimiro’s (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) legislation (2019-H 5964A) that directs superintendents to create an annual report on the academic progress of foster care youth passed the House of Representatives tonight.

“Youth in our foster care system have already gone through so much turmoil and heartbreak during their short lives so it is imperative that we do not allow them to fall by the wayside in our educational system.  We owe these children the best possible opportunities to succeed later in life and this is not possible if they are academically failing.  This bill will ensure that if they are falling behind in school, these children will have the help and support they need in order to be academically successful,” said Representative Casimiro.

The annual report will include the total number of foster care youth identified by school and grade of instruction; the number of foster care youth receiving supplementary literacy instruction; the foster care youth uniform testing scores and the percentage of foster care youth that meet or exceed the mean average score for uniform testing; the percentage of foster care youth meeting academic standards; the number and percentage of foster care youth receiving alternative or special education services; the number of foster care youth suspended or expelled from school during the academic year; the number of foster care youth identified as involved in chronic absenteeism, truancy or as drop-outs; and the number of foster care youth assigned to advanced placement.

According to the legislation, if the superintendent determines that foster care youth are disproportionately failing to meet academic standards or are subject to school discipline at a rate more than the overall student population, a remediation plan shall be included within the submitted annual report.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

5/29/2019RepRep. Julie A. Casimiro; #237; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/31-Casimiro_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Julie A. Casimiro’s (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) legislation (2019-H 5964A) that directs superintendents to create an annual report on the academic progress of foster care youth passed the House of Representatives.


NoYesApproved3703465/29/2019 4:17 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,082
  
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would give compensation to innocent people who have spent time behind bars but later released when new evidence shows they were not guilty.

“When an innocent person is put in prison, they not only lose their freedom but their future, their plans, everything they might have been,” said Representative Serpa. “Once they are proven innocent, the task of re-entering society can be even more difficult than it is for those who rightfully paid for their crimes. Unlike those who are paroled, who have many services at their disposal, the innocent have nothing. They are left with no housing, no income, and no health care.”

Rhode Island in one of 17 states that does not compensate the wrongfully imprisoned. That would change with the legislation (2019-H 5329A) Rep. Serpa has sponsored. The law would authorize any person who has been wrongfully sentenced to a term of imprisonment greater than one year to petition the presiding justice of Rhode Island Superior Court for an award of compensation and damages, including attorney’s fees.

“We as a society owe it to the wrongfully incarcerated to make up for the mistake we made in imprisoning them in the first place,” said Representative Serpa, who was contacted by a former Warwick police officer who spent six years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. “We failed them when we slammed the cell door. This legislation will give us the opportunity to provide prompt and compassionate assistance to help make up for that mistake.”

Under the legislation, if the court found that the claimant was wrongfully incarcerated, it would grant an award of $50,000 for each year served in a correctional facility. For incarceration of less than a year, the amount would be prorated to 1/365 of $50,000 for every day served.

The award may be expanded to include compensation for any reasonable costs including housing, transportation, subsistence, re-integrative services, and mental and physical health care costs, along with reasonable attorney’s fees.

“This is not only the right thing to do, but it’s an important step we need to take to ensure the integrity of our criminal justice system,” said Representative Serpa.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 0701) has been introduced by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).
5/29/2019RepRep. Patricia Serpa; #121; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/27-serpa_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would give compensation to innocent people who have spent time behind bars but later released when new evidence shows they were not guilty.

NoYesApproved3703455/29/2019 1:28 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,080
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would ban health insurers from utilizing the discriminatory practice known as gender rating, or routinely charging women and men different premiums for individual insurance.

 “Women face unconscionable disparities when buying health insurance in the individual market,” Senator Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) said. “Women sometimes are charged 10 percent to 25 percent to 50 percent more than men for insurance providing identical coverage, especially during the age bracket associated with child-bearing years.”

This legislation (2019-S 0445A) would prohibit insurance companies from varying the premium rates charged for a health coverage plan based on the gender of the individual policy holder, enrollee, subscriber, or member. 

When it comes to health insurance, women are considered a higher risk than men because they tend to visit the doctor more frequently, live longer, and have babies. The practice is similar to car insurance companies charging a higher premium to insure teenage drivers.

Research from a 2012 National Women’s Law Center report entitled, “Turning to Fairness: Insurance Discrimination Against Women Today and the Affordable Care Act,” states that 92 percent of best-selling plans charge women more for health insurance coverage than men in states without laws banning gender rating. Only 3 percent of these plans cover maternity services. It also states that the practice of gender rating costs women approximately $1 billion per year, based on an average of 2012 advertised premiums and the most recent data on the number of women in the individual health insurance market. Excluding maternity coverage, the report further says that nearly one-third of plans examined charge 25- to 40-year-old women at least 30 percent more than men for the same coverage. In some cases, the difference is even greater.

The National Women’s Law Center is a research and advocacy group, which works to expand, protect and promote opportunity and advancement for women and girls. 

The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5364) has been introduced by Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence).

5/28/2019SenSen. V. Susan Sosnowski; #111; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/37-Sosnowski_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would ban health insurers from utilizing the discriminatory practice known as gender rating, or routinely charging women and men different premiums for individual insurance.

NoYesApproved3703435/28/2019 3:27 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,070
  
STATE HOUSE – The House today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese to create a statewide animal abuser registry aimed at preventing those with a history of mistreating animals from obtaining other animals.

“People who have abused animals should not be allowed to own other animals. Pets are utterly defenseless, and allowing those who are known to abuse them to have more of them is subjecting those animals to an almost-certain fate of pain, suffering and perhaps death. This is a common-sense measure to prevent known abusers from having easy access to more likely victims,” said Representative Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence). “Besides protecting animals, a registry would provide assistance and peace of mind to the dedicated people who work to find homes for homeless animals. The last thing they want is to send a pet into the arms of an abuser, and this will give them a tool to avoid that situation.”

Under the legislation (2019-H 5113aa), which will now go to the Senate, the registry would be maintained by the Attorney General’s office, and would include all animal abusers who are convicted or plead guilty or nolo contendere after the legislation has been enacted. The abuser’s information would be on the registry for 15 years after his or her release from incarceration, or upon conviction if no jail time is served.  Those convicted of a second animal abuse charge would be on the registry for life. All convicted animal abusers would have five days from release or conviction to register and must pay a one-time $125 fee for the administration and maintenance of the online registry. 

The legislation requires the registry be made available on the Attorney General’s website, and requires that animal shelters and pet sellers check the registry before allowing the sale or adoption of any animal to confirm that the animal buyer is not on it, or face a fine of up to $1,000.  Any animal abuser who fails to register is subject to a misdemeanor conviction punishable by incarceration of no more than one year and a fine not to exceed more than $1,000. The same punishment applies for abusers on the registry who are caught owning or possessing an animal, with the exception of farm animals for farmers and service animals for people with disabilities.

The legislation is modeled after “Rocky’s Law,” which was enacted in Orange County, N.Y., and named after a Staffordshire Terrier named Rocky whose owner left him outdoors in freezing temperatures without food or water for five weeks while he went on vacation. Rocky’s resulting deterioration led to his euthanization, and his owner was arrested.

According to the legislation, those who have abused animals are likely to do so again. Some types of animal abuse, such as animal hoarding, have a recidivism rate of nearly 100 percent. There is also a strong correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence.

Creating an animal abuse registry that is available online would make animal welfare agencies, shelters and pet stores partners with the state in helping to prevent abuse. It would also enable ordinary citizens who might be looking for a new home for their pet or its offspring to be sure they are not handing an innocent creature over to a known abuser.

The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) and Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence).
5/23/2019RepRep. Arthur Corvese; #11; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/dog_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese to create a statewide animal abuser registry aimed at preventing those with a history of mistreating animals from obtaining other animals.

NoYesApproved3703335/23/2019 12:54 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,065
  
STATE HOUSE – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) honored four legislators yesterday during their annual Humane Lobby Day at the State House.  Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima, Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata, and Sen. Stephen R. Archambault were each honored with the Humane State Legislator Award due to their ground-breaking advances and advocacy for animal welfare in Rhode Island.

Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) was honored because under his leadership as Speaker of the House, Rhode Island has climbed in the Humane State Rankings by HSUS to the top tier.  The HSUS compiles an annual report based on a comprehensive rating of public policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research, and farm animals.

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the Humane Society.  The work they do protecting our animal friends is not easy, but they are dedicated and driven, and every animal in Rhode Island is better off because the Humane Society exists.  Thank you for this award and I look forward to continuing our excellent professional relationship with the Humane Society,” said Speaker Mattiello.

Deputy Speaker Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence) received the award due to the passage of a bill she sponsored that ensures that dogs and cats used as test subjects at higher education research facilities in Rhode Island be afforded an opportunity to live out their lives in loving homes through adoption.

“Everyone knows that I am a tireless advocate for the health and safety of Rhode Island’s animals and this is why I am so touched to be honored by the Humane Society.  The society truly serves as a voice and protector to our voiceless animals and it is a privilege to work with them in the fight against animal abuse,” said Deputy Speaker Lima.

Senator Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) was honored because of a bill she sponsored that defines the term "adequate shelter" where dogs may be kept passed the General Assembly and became law. The bill limits the weight of any dog chain or tether to one-eighth of the dog’s total body weight. In addition, the legislation limits the time dogs may be tethered outdoors.

“Animal abuse is an abhorrent crime that sadly happens too often in our society.  That is why I am thankful for the ever-present efforts of the Humane Society to protect our animals through the modernization of our laws and the watchful and compassionate eyes of its members.  I thank them for this humbling award and for all the good work that the Humane Society does on a daily basis,” said Senator Lynch Prata.

Senator Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, Johnston, North Providence) was recognized due to his sponsorship of legislation that protected animals from being left alone in hot cars as well as his sponsorship of legislation that aims to prohibit the operation of puppy mills in Rhode Island.

“I’d like to thank the Humane Society for this tremendous honor, and I would also like to thank them for their vigorous determination to help and protect the animals of Rhode Island.  We have made great strides against animal abuse, but there is still more work to be done and I am looking forward to continuing to work with the Humane Society to ensure the protection of Rhode Island’s animals,” said Senator Archambault.

Front row: Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima, Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Sen. Erin Lynch Prata, and Sen. Stephen R. Archambault are joined by Stephanie Harris, the state director for the Humane Society, at the Human Society’s Lobby Day at the State House. Representatives from different Rhode Island animal protection groups join in the background.

5/22/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Rep. Charlene Lima; Sen. Erin Lynch Prata; Sen. Stephen Archambault; #120; #16; #151; #204; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Humane-Society-award-photo-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) honored four legislators yesterday during their annual Humane Lobby Day at the State House.  Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima, Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata, and Sen. Stephen R. Archambault were each honored with the Humane State Legislator Award due to their ground-breaking advances and advocacy for animal welfare in Rhode Island.



NoYesApproved3703285/22/2019 11:21 AMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,063
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) has introduced a resolution (2019-S 0829) that denounces and opposes white nationalism and neo-Nazi groups in Rhode Island.

“I represent a large number of people of color, and tragically, we are witnessing a resurgence of hateful ideas and actions fueled by a vile and disturbing ideology of white supremacy.  I cannot stand by and do nothing. Hate crimes and attempts to turn back the clock on decades of racial progress are unacceptable. It is imperative to officially denounce and oppose these hate in our state and country.  This resolution seeks to send a strong message that white supremacy has no place in Rhode Island,” said Senator Nesselbush.

The resolution states that the Rhode Island Senate and the State of Rhode Island strongly denounces and opposes the totalitarian impulses, violent terrorism, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by white nationalists and neo-Nazis.

The resolution cites the heinous attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in Poway, California to confirm that white nationalism and neo-Nazism are threats to social and racial progress, and they remain very real threats here in Rhode Island and throughout the United States of America.

If passed, this Rhode Island resolution will be sent to the Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, the members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation, and the Honorable Gina M. Raimondo, Governor of the State of Rhode Island.

The resolution is currently before the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

5/21/2019SenSen. Donna Nesselbush; #179; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/15-Nesselbush_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) has introduced a resolution (2019-S 0829) that denounces and opposes white nationalism and neo-Nazi groups in Rhode Island.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Nesselbush-Social_png.jpg3703265/21/2019 12:03 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,062
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. David A. Bennett, chairman of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, has introduced legislation that would ban Rhode Island food service establishments from using disposable polystyrene foam containers and plastic stirrers.

The legislation (2019-H 6126), introduced Thursday, is aimed at eliminating waste that is generally not recycled in Rhode Island in favor of more environmentally friendly packaging.

“If we don’t drastically reduce waste in Rhode Island, the central landfill will reach its capacity in just 15 years. We simply have to stop making so much trash,” said Chairman Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston). “Single-use foam containers and plastic stirrers are low-hanging fruit in terms of wasteful things that we can easily live without. It’s 2019, and we have lots of alternatives to disposable foam, from paper and compostable containers to recyclable and reusable ones. Wooden stirrers work just as well as plastic, or — even better — you can put your cream and sugar in first and it’ll blend as you pour in the coffee, no stirrer needed. Let’s say no to this trash and yes to less waste in our environment.”

The chairman said his bill is inspired by the worldwide movement to eliminate disposable plastic straws, an effort that is the subject of a separate bill (2019-H 5314) he is also sponsoring. The bill is based on legislation signed into law in Maine last month, making that state the first to pass a statewide ban.

His legislation would apply to restaurants and any other establishment where prepared food is served, including farmers’ markets, food pantries and nursing homes, although the bill does include exceptions for hospitals and “Meals on Wheels”-type programs.
 
The bill, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2021, would prohibit such establishments from providing food in single-use containers and cups made in whole or in part of blown, expanded or extruded polystyrene foam, or from providing beverage stirrers made from plastic. The bill is intended to apply to items like takeout containers and cups as well as egg cartons and trays that hold items like meat.

Polystyrene foam has long been used for packaging because it is cheap to produce, lightweight to ship and effective at retaining both heat and cold. However, it is not often cost-effective to recycle and does not biodegrade. It also breaks apart easily and floats, which makes it dangerous to animals that mistake it for food.

Many establishments already have stopped using foam, and others are currently phasing it out. Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s both committed to eliminating its use.

Maine became the first state to ban polystyrene foam food containers when its governor signed the bill April 30. The measure takes effect in 2021. Maryland’s legislature has passed a ban although it is unclear whether its governor will sign it, and Vermont, Connecticut and Oregon are also weighing statewide bans. Many municipalities around the country, including New York City, have adopted local ordinances banning some or all types of polystyrene foam food packaging.
 

5/21/2019RepRep. David Bennett; #161; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/styrofoam_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. David A. Bennett, chairman of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, has introduced legislation that would ban Rhode Island food service establishments from using disposable polystyrene foam containers and plastic stirrers.


NoYesApproved3703255/21/2019 11:25 AMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,053
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to help protect Rhode Islanders’ access to insurance coverage in the face of threats to the federal Affordable Care Act.

The legislation, sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara, would ensure that the standards of the Affordable Care Act — often called Obamacare — remain in effect in Rhode Island, even if the courts or Congress were to eliminate the federal laws that created it.

The bill (2019-S 0738A) is also designed to provide predictability to insurers, stabilizing the Rhode Island insurance market regardless of the future of the federal law.

“Whatever may happen at the federal level, we want to do everything we can to help Rhode Islanders remain adequately insured. This bill enacts the Affordable Care Act’s standards of care that in most instances have been in place since 2010 at the state level in case the ACA is overturned or repealed. It also tells insurers that, here in Rhode Island, the quality of insurance is not going to change, so they know what benefits and coverage they can offer to policyholders. They have to be able to know the parameters to which they’re going to be held in the near future in order to write policies. This bill will protect Rhode Islanders’ health and wallets, no matter what politics play out in Washington,” said Chairman Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives, where House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5916).
 
The legislation enacts into state law the current insurance practices that protect consumers under the ACA, such as:
  • Giving people clearer explanations of their benefits.
  • Prohibiting annual limits and lifetime dollar caps on coverage for essential benefits.
  • Requiring that insurers keep their administrative costs in check.
  • Guaranteeing that dependents up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ plans.
  • Guaranteeing protections against pre-existing condition exclusions.
  • Requiring essential benefit coverage that must be included at every tier of coverage (preventive services, maternity, hospital, mental health, etc.).
  • Guaranteeing coverage of preventive services without any patient cost-sharing.
  • Guaranteeing issue and renewal so no one can be denied a policy, even if sick.
  • Allowing discounts for wellness programs.
  •  Allowing insurance premium rates to vary only by age (not gender or health).
  • Setting out-of-pocket limits with a process for updating these annually.
In March, the Justice Department filed a letter with a federal appeals court changing its position on the ACA. It previously objected to the law’s protection prohibiting insurers from turning away people with pre-existing conditions, but is now arguing for the entire law to be struck down, which could result in millions of Americans losing health care coverage.

5/16/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/stethescope_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller to help protect Rhode Islanders’ access to insurance coverage in the face of threats to the federal Affordable Care Act.


NoYesApproved3703145/16/2019 5:29 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,050
  
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello to help prevent overdose deaths by better protecting law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who try to save victims.

The bill (2019-H 5536), which now goes to the Senate, would add law enforcement and emergency medical personnel to the Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Act, which protects them from civil or criminal liability arising from helping a person they believe is overdosing.

Many police and EMTs in the state are equipped with kits for administering naloxone – the  opioid-overdose antidote commonly known by its trade name, Narcan. In fact, a change made to the Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Act last year allows them to distribute naloxone kits to at-risk individuals or their families or friends so they are equipped in case of an overdose.

But the new law did not specifically shield them for liability for administering or distributing the drug. This bill would do just that, provided they act in good faith. It would also provide the protection to officers and agencies participating in the Heroin-Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE).

The Speaker is also sponsoring a separate bill (2019-H 5537) that would limit most first-time opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply when prescribed for the first time to adults, and every time for patients under 18. The bill provides exceptions for treatment related to cancer and other serious conditions, as well as medications designed to treat substance abuse or dependence. The purpose of the limit is to prevent patients from becoming addicted. That bill is currently before the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee, which held a hearing on it May 1.

“Over the course of several years, lawmakers, policymakers, medical professionals and community leaders have been collaborating and working hard to curb the opioid epidemic that has destroyed or taken the lives of so many in Rhode Island and across the nation. We are continuing to identify every possible contributing factor and implement every solution we can find to address this very complex crisis. We are making headway — recent figures show Rhode Island is experiencing fewer overdose deaths — but we still have much work to do to put an end to this devastating epidemic,” said Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). “My legislation will make improvements that will help prevent addiction in the first place, and ensure that nothing stands in the way of an overdose victim getting the emergency help they need.”

Both pieces of legislation build upon two other bills that Speaker Mattiello sponsored last year to help prevent opioid dependency, both of which were signed into law. The first (2018-H 7416) gives patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers. The second (2018-H 7496A) establishes a procedure for individuals to file a revocable, voluntary non-opiate directive form with their doctor, indicating that the patient does not want to be administered or offered a prescription for an opiate.

5/15/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/15-mattiello_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello to help prevent overdose deaths by better protecting law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who try to save victims.


NoYesApproved3703115/15/2019 9:18 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,034
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Walter S. Felag’s (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0178) that authorizes the state’s higher education institutions to waive application and transcript fees for veterans passed the Rhode Island Senate tonight.

“Our brave and selfless veterans have already given so much to the people of Rhode Island through their military service and to thank them for their honorable duty, application and transcript fees should be waived if they apply to one of our public higher education institutions.  We should be making their lives easier after they return home and this is just one way we can express our gratitude for their service to our country,” said Senator Felag.

The legislation states that the Council on Postsecondary Education shall authorize and encourage the presidents of the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island to exempt all veterans from any and all application and transcript fees.

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

5/8/2019SenSen. Walter Felag; #112; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/10-Felag_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Walter S. Felag’s (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0178) that authorizes the state’s higher education institutions to waive application and transcript fees for veterans passed the Rhode Island Senate.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Felag-Social_png.jpg3702915/8/2019 4:27 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,030
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would bring further transparency to the St. Joseph's Health Services pension plan.

The legislation (2019-S 0431Aaa), which President Ruggerio developed with General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, would require all pension plans with at least 200 members not covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, to submit to the same public scrutiny, including public reporting of all its liabilities and assets.

“The beneficiaries of this pension plan deserve the same level of transparency as other pension plans, said President Ruggerio. “This legislation affords them an opportunity to level the playing field by bringing much-needed transparency to the pension plan process.”

Last year, a law introduced by President Ruggerio helped members of the insolvent pension plan to reach settlements in their multiple class-action lawsuits by better positioning members to reach fair, equitable settlements with the multiple defendants of the lawsuits.

The $85 million St. Joseph pension plan covers about 2,700 current and former employees of Our Lady of Fatima and Roger Williams hospitals, but was left insolvent when contributions to it ceased following the sale of Fatima and Roger Williams to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2014.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where the House Judiciary Committee passed similar legislation (2019-H 5287A) introduced by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick).
5/7/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov/////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/04-Ruggerio_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would bring further transparency to the St. Joseph's Health Services pension plan.

NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3702875/7/2019 3:54 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,032
  
Legislation has support from tobacco industry this year
 
STATE HOUSE – For the sixth consecutive year, Rep. Teresa Tanzi has once again filed legislation to increase the age to buy tobacco products in Rhode Island to 21. This time, she has support from an unlikely backer: the tobacco industry.

Representative Tanzi said the industry is supporting the bill for the first time ever, agreeing to the need to protect adolescents from the highly addictive product. Tobacco giant Altria, which owns a 35-percent share in the largest vaping device maker, Juul, submitted testimony in favor of a companion bill when it was heard in the Senate last month. 

The legislation (2019-H 5603), which is scheduled for a hearing before the House Finance Committee, Thursday, May 9, at the rise of the House session, would make Rhode Island the 13th state in the country to raise the age to buy tobacco products to 21. Massachusetts changed its minimum age to 21 on Jan. 1. In Rhode Island, Central Falls and Barrington have adopted local ordinances prohibiting sales to those under 21, joining Boston and New York City among the more than 450 municipalities across the country with such ordinances.

“The still-developing brains of youth are particularly susceptible to the drug nicotine and the lure of the sleek devices and the sweet flavors, creating a lifelong addiction without comprehension of the long-term health consequences. Raising the age for the sale of tobacco and nicotine products makes them harder for young people to acquire through both social sources — an older sibling or friend — or through retail outlets, and will help the next generation avoid addiction and live longer, healthier lives,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 80 percent of all adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18; and approximately 95 percent of all adult smokers began smoking before age 21.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, most tobacco use is started and established primarily during adolescence, and therefore preventing tobacco use among youth is critical to ending the tobacco epidemic in the United States, which is responsible for the deaths of 480,000 Americans annually. In Rhode Island, 1,800 adults die each year from their own tobacco use, and the state’s annual health care costs due to tobacco use are about $640 million. While teen smoking rates have declined significantly in recent years, teens’ use of vaping products has risen swiftly in the few years they’ve been on the market. According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, in 2018, 5 percent of American adolescents reported smoking a cigarette in the last month, verses 28 percent in a 1996/1997 survey. About 300 Rhode Island children become new daily smokers every year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2017. But the percentage of high school seniors who had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days increased from 1.5 percent in 2010 to 26.7 percent in 2018.

Changing the tobacco purchase age to 21 has the support of health advocates in Rhode Island and nationwide, including the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse have cosponsored federal legislation to raise age to 21 nationwide.

Representative Tanzi points to success in reducing youth tobacco use in communities that adopt higher age restrictions, and the positive effect that less smoking would have on Rhode Islanders’ health as well as public and private health care costs. 

The Institute of Medicine for the Food and Drug Administration estimated that raising the age of tobacco purchase to 21 nationwide would result in a 25-percent reduction in youth tobacco use initiation, a 12-percent reduction in rates overall, and 16,000 fewer preterm or low birth weight births in the first five years of the policy. The report estimated that such a policy throughout the United States would prevent 4.2 million years of life lost to smoking in children alive today. In another study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that 75 percent of adults favor raising the tobacco age to 21, including 70 percent of smokers and 65 percent of those age 18 to 24.
 

5/8/2019RepRep. Teresa Tanzi; #166; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/cigarette_pack_jpg.jpgNoApproved
For the sixth consecutive year, Rep. Teresa Tanzi has once again filed legislation to increase the age to buy tobacco products in Rhode Island to 21. This time, she has support from an unlikely backer: the tobacco industry.
NoYesApproved3702895/8/2019 2:14 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,029
  
STATE HOUSE — The leadership of the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives unveiled a package of education reform bills during a press conference at the State House today.

“We were all disappointed by the standardized test scores last year,” said Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). “There was also a great disparity in results from community to community, often based on income. This package of bills will standardize curriculum, improve governance and accountability so more decisions are made at the local level, and improve teacher training and evaluation. These are long-term solutions that will really change the ways that schools do business.”

The legislation would bring a comprehensive reform to curriculum, instruction support, accountability, teacher certification, specialty skills certification, teacher assessments and the principal certification process.

“We have high standards in place, as well as assessments that are aligned to those standards. However, we never did the hard work of ensuring our curriculum prepares students for these expectations. Nor have we done the difficult work of better preparing and supporting teachers so they are equipped to help students succeed. We have the gold standard in education right next door in Massachusetts, and we looked to their model to see what best practices could make a real difference here,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence).

The first bill (2019-S 0863, 2019-H 5008) would require the Commissioner of Education to align statewide academic standards with curriculum and the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System. It would also require the Commissioner to develop curriculum frameworks, which are broad, research-based instructional strategies for educators to help students develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge called for by the statewide standards.

“This bill would ensure that our academic standards set forth the skills, competencies, and knowledge expected of each student. The curriculum will align with those standards, and the frameworks would provide strategies to help meet the diverse needs of our students, closing any gaps that exist,” said Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee and sponsor of the bill. “The bills seek to bring about a culture change within our education system so that the talented professionals at the Department of Education can shift from ensuring compliance to assisting schools with on the ground – or in the classroom – support. We need educators, not regulators.”

“The goal is to give parents a clear map of what their children will be learning, and have it be consistent statewide,” said Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, and sponsor of the bill. “It’s tremendously important that we bring these three tiers — standards, curriculum and testing — into alignment.”

Under the second bill (2019-S 08642019-H 6111), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education would become a professional support partner with local education agencies regarding effective ways to evaluate student improvement and proficiency. The department would support local schools by providing a comprehensive understanding of how curriculum affects those schools based on their specific characteristics, such as size, budget, and demographics. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) and Rep. Daniel P. McKiernan (D-Dist. 7, Providence).

The third bill (2019-S 0865, 2019-H 6084) increases building-level management of our schools, increases on-the-ground support for underperforming schools, and provides for the same support at the district level, which has not existed before. Student assessments would include a range of elements, such as work samples, projects, and portfolios, in recognition of the variety of student learning styles.

 “This bill will increase the authority and power of those who know their schools best – the principals, teachers and community members who are fully aware of the their school’s needs and how to best meet these needs,” said Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence), the House sponsor of the bill. “I have spoken with numerous school professionals, in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts, and they tell me such a change would make a significant difference in their ability to properly cultivate the educational environment in order to best serve our children. This bill is an important piece of the reforms we are trying to enact so that our children have the best educational opportunities in our state.”

“This legislation will create a greater collaboration among state, district and school officials to develop and implement plans,” said Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), the Senate sponsor of the bill. “This bill is really a culture change for our schools. It’s reform that will focus on the success of individuals by giving greater authority to those who are actually doing the educating at a school and district level.”

The fourth bill (2019-S 0866, 2019-H 6098), which applies to new teachers, would add an instructional component to the test that teachers must pass to get their certificates. This component will demonstrate that, in addition to understanding what they will teach, the aspiring educator must understand how to teach that subject matter to students. The bill is sponsored by Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket).

The fifth bill (2019-S 0867, 2019-H 6100) would create a process for certifying teachers with certain specialty skills. Its intent is to alleviate difficulties that districts have in finding qualified teachers with certain skills for elementary and secondary education. Typically, such specialty skills are needed for the STEAM curricula: science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mario F. Mendez (D-Dist. 13, Johnston, Providence) and Sen. Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield).

The sixth bill (2019-S 0868, 2019-H 6099) would create a new teacher evaluation system designed, in part, to promote growth, place student learning in the center, and shorten improvement timelines. It will apply to both administrators and educators. The bill is sponsored by Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton) and Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich).

The seventh bill (2019-S 0869, 2019-H 6085) would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a fast-track program to certify new principals. Applicants to the program must have at least 10 years of experience as an “effective” or “highly effective” teacher, a recommendation from the superintendent where they have taught, a record of leadership and a master’s degree. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket) and Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence).
5/7/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; Sen. Hanna Gallo; Rep. Joseph McNamara; Rep. Gregg Amore; Sen. Ryan Pearson; #120; #85; #88; #41; #195; #203; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov/////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/pencil_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The leadership of the Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives unveiled a package of education reform bills during a press conference at the State House today.

NoYesApproved3702865/7/2019 3:48 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,123
  
STATE HOUSE — The State Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that would protect the rights of customers to pay for things in cash.

“This is a consumer protection bill,” said Senator Conley, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. “Credit-card only policies are discriminatory to the old, the young and the poor. They can also be used to track spending history to build a profile and make identity theft easier. Those who wish to avoid all that by paying in cash should not be penalized.”

The legislation (2019-S 0889) would make it unlawful for any retail establishment offering goods or services for sale to discriminate against a prospective customer by requiring the use of credit for purchase of goods or services.

According to a survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, about 8 percent of households have no bank account and only 75 percent of American adults have credit cards.

“Credit card-only policies are also age-discriminatory, since only adults can get credit cards,” said Senator Conley. “This is a troubling trend, and this bill will put a stop to it.”

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, which has passed similar legislation (2019-H 5116A) sponsored by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln).
6/11/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/18-Conley_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Conley-Social_png.jpg3703866/11/2019 1:55 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:35 AMSystem AccountCompleted
15,129
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation to improve support for those hospitalized for drug overdoses and mental health emergencies by ensuring uninterrupted insurance coverage of clinically appropriate residential or inpatient treatment after emergency treatment.

The legislation (2019-S 0307A), sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), would ensure that when a qualified medical or clinical professional determines that residential or inpatient care, including detoxification and stabilization services, is the  most appropriate and least restrictive level of care necessary, a patient would have presumptive coverage for those services during their insurance’s review of the request.

That presumptive coverage would prevent a patient from having to leave a hospital, clinic or other facility where they’ve received emergency treatment and wait — possibly for days — before they can access the residential or inpatient treatment they need.

“Sending patients home and making them wait for approval to be admitted to rehab, a detox facility or other residential treatment creates an obstacle between them and the program that will help address their condition. They’re less likely to actually go if they have to wait a day or longer, and more likely to relapse into the same problem that created the emergency situation,” said Chairman Miller. “Getting them straight to treatment is more effective, will help prevent rehospitalization and in those ways, will ultimately save on medical costs, too.”

The legislation provides that the health professional making the recommendation would have 24 hours from the patient’s admission, or until at least 24 hours before the expiration of a previous authorization, to submit the patient’s treatment plan to the insurer. It applies only to the insurance’s in-network services.

The bill, which would take effect Jan, 1, also requires that each hospital and free-standing emergency care facility incorporate patient consent for certified peer recovery specialist services into its comprehensive patient consent form.

Under the bill, the General Assembly would hold a hearing to review its requirements, including presentations from payors, providers and other stakeholders, by March 1, 2022.

The bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives, is cosponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown). 
 

6/11/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Miller-Social_png.jpg3703926/11/2019 8:21 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:34 AMSystem AccountCompleted
15,131
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that would curtail the use of plastic straws in restaurants.

The bill (2019-S 0202A) would prohibit a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the straw is from a self-service dispenser or the consumer requests such a straw.

“Single-use plastic straws negatively impact our environment,” said Senator McCaffrey. “These straws litter our shoreline and we’ve seen particularly disastrous consequences for marine life. Curtailing the use of plastic straws in restaurants will improve our environment and encourage consumers to think twice about their own carbon footprint.”

The bill, which is similar to a California law that went into effect on Jan. 1, calls for a notice of violation for first and second offenses. Subsequent offenses would be punishable by a fine of $25, not to exceed $300 annually.

Americans disposed of more than 33 million tons of plastic in 2014, most of which was not recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A study that same year estimates that there are 270,000 metric tons of plastic in the world’s oceans. It’s estimated that more than 500 million single-use plastic straws are used and thrown away every day in the U.S. as Americans use them at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day, according to the National Park Service. That translates into 175 billion straws a year.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5314) has been introduced by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).
6/11/2019SenSen. Michael McCaffrey; #106; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/29-McCaffrey_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/McCaffrey-Social_png.jpg3703946/11/2019 8:46 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:33 AMSystem AccountCompleted
15,128
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Senate today passed legislation (2019-S-803Aaa) sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that takes a new approach to economic development on large tracts of state land. Spurred by delays and impediments imposed upon the Hope Point Tower proposal for the I-195 Redevelopment District, the bill intends to create a more streamlined process for approvals on these state-owned parcels moving forward.
 
“We have a rare opportunity for development at the former I-195 land and some other areas across the state,” said Senator Ruggerio. “In the I-195 District, a developer is hoping to invest more than a quarter of a billion dollars to create an iconic structure that redefines the skyline. We should have welcomed this investment with open arms. Instead, we did everything we could to chase the developer away. Thankfully, he’s still here. This process has sent a terrible message to anyone looking to invest in Rhode Island.”
 
President Ruggerio continued, “This legislation streamlines the approval process for large, contiguous parcels of state land intended for redevelopment, so that progress isn’t stymied by narrow interests.
 
“These large development districts present extraordinary opportunities and also have a significant impact upon the common good. It is clear that municipalities are not equipped with sufficient flexibility to address the unique needs of these districts while governing their coordinated development. This new approach to economic development will provide a new mechanism with all the tools necessary to handle development in a nimble and coordinated way. It will benefit the entire state of Rhode Island.”
 
The legislation establishes a process for creating Special Economic Development Districts on state-owned tracts of 20 or more contiguous acres at their inception that are not owned or controlled by the Department of Environmental Management. The special districts would be vested with authority to adopt development plans that include land use, location of buildings, street systems, dimension and height requirements, parking, landscaping, design review and population density.
 
The I-195 Redevelopment Commission would be granted the same authority as the economic development districts. The legislation establishes a framework for additional districts. However, additional districts other than at the I-195 redevelopment area would have to be approved with an act of the General Assembly.
 
President Ruggerio began working on these bills last fall, as the Hope Point Tower faced roadblocks.
 
The legislation has been transmitted to the House of Representatives for consideration.

6/11/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3703916/11/2019 8:08 PMSystem Account6/12/2019 11:32 AMSystem AccountCompleted
15,130
  
STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by House Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) that would expand the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act on hospital discharge planning.

The legislation (2019-H 5383) would amend the Rhode Island statute consistent with new federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) guidance by allowing hospitals to contact the patient’s emergency contact and certified peer recovery specialist in certain situations.

The bill amends the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act, which was enacted in 2016 to help ensure that patients treated at hospitals, clinics and urgent-care facilities for substance-use or mental health disorders receive the appropriate care, intervention by recovery coaches and follow-up care they need to address their addiction.  It requires comprehensive discharge planning for patients treated for substance use disorders and mental health issues and required insurers to cover medication-assisted addiction treatment including methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. The bill is named for two individuals who died of overdoses during its development, and whose circumstances shaped it.

The change will improve support for those hospitalized for drug overdoses and mental health emergencies by increasing the likelihood that their families or others wishing to assist them with treatment are aware of their hospitalization.

“This bill is yet another way to help us combat the opioid crisis by ensuring that patients have the critical support they need during the transition from the hospital to recovery,” said Representative Edwards, who was selected as a 2019 Opioid Policy Fellow for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “By amending this successful law, Rhode Island will be more in tune with federal statute and allow hospitals to contact the people who are best suited to help them when they are discharged.”

Representative Edwards has supported numerous laws aimed at combatting the opioid crisis. Most recently, during the 2018 session, the General Assembly passed laws giving patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers, establishing a procedure for individuals to file a revocable voluntary non-opiate directive form with the patient’s licensed health care practitioner, allowing judges to sentence drug dealers who sell fatal doses of illicit drugs to up to life in prison, and directing the Department of Education to incorporate substance abuse and suicide prevention education into the health education curriculum.

He also took part in the Opioid Policy Fellows Program, which focuses on health policies and programs being addressed throughout the country, among them being the strengthening of prescription drug monitoring programs, developing prescribing guidelines, increasing naloxone access, and supporting access to treatment and recovery services.

The measure now moves to the Senate, which passed similar legislation (2019-S 0139A) introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).

6/11/2019RepRep. John Edwards; #144; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/70-edwards_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703936/11/2019 8:33 PMSystem Account6/11/2019 8:33 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,125
  
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Oversight is scheduled to meet Thursday to hear the latest report on child fatalities.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 13 at the rise of the House (about 5 p.m.) in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.

The committee will hear a review of the findings of a June 2019 report by the Child Fatality Review Panel. The update will be given by Rhode Island Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith.

The Office of Child Advocate is tasked with the review of all fatalities or near fatalities involving abuse or neglect of children involved or recently involved with the Department of Children, Youth and Families. The House Oversight Committee began reviewing these fatalities two years ago when the child advocate issued a report detailing the deaths of four children in DCYF custody.

The House Oversight Committee is chaired by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick). 
6/11/2019RepRep. Patricia Serpa; #121; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703886/11/2019 5:57 PMSystem Account6/11/2019 5:57 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,122
  
STATE HOUSE — Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) is sponsoring legislation that would require taxpayer representation from the community on the state’s charter school boards.

The bill (2019-S 0263) would require that charter public schools include on their board of governors or trustees, one member from the host community to be appointed by the host community’s school committee. If no board exists, one would have to be established by the school to ensure public representation.

“Charter schools were designed to more independently experiment to find creative approaches or ideas to improve education for our young people,” said Senator Sheehan. “It is an innovative approach to education, and these new approaches or ideas would be shared with the public schools. However, this independence should not come at the expense of full public input, insight or accountability.”

Similarly, the commonwealth of Massachusetts has adopted guidelines on the composition, conduct, and transparency of charter school boards, also requiring that the boards be held accountable for their fiduciary duties as trustees of public funds.

“The best way to ensure taxpayer input and public accountability is by having representation appointed by elected officials or their designees on the governance boards of charter schools to approve and monitor the expenditure of public funds as is required in other public schools,” said Senator Sheehan.
6/11/2019SenSen. James Sheehan; #90; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/36-Sheehan_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Sheehan-Social_png.jpg3703856/11/2019 11:06 AMSystem Account6/11/2019 5:55 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,124
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Karen Alzate’s (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) resolution (2019-H 5553A) that would create a 13 member special legislative commission to study and make recommendations for encouraging more persons of color to enter education fields passed the House of Representatives tonight.

“Study after study have proved the beneficial aspects of having a diverse teacher workforce, especially in regards to closing achievement gaps for students of color.  A more diverse teacher workforce that represents our state’s demographics also benefits students of all racial backgrounds.  Yet, our teachers are not representative of the communities our students come from and we have to rectify this imbalance for the sake of our kids.  This commission will be an important first step to attaining a diverse teacher pool that our students, especially our students of color, deserve,” said Representative Alzate.

The recommendations of the commission should include:
  • Develop an approach to inform students of color in the state on the importance and benefits of entering the field of education.
  • Identify relevant research and successful practices to enhance minority teacher recruitment and retention throughout the state.
  • Identify and establish public, private, and philanthropic partnerships to increase minority (meaning individuals whose race is other than white, or whose ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino as that term is used by the U.S. Census Bureau) teacher recruitment, including, but not limited to teacher preparation programs.
  • Advise and support local and regional boards of education to prioritize minority teacher recruitment and develop innovative strategies to attract and retain minority teachers within their districts.
  • Review the requirements that prevent persons of color from choosing this profession and remaining in it, including, but not limited to, teacher preparation programs, certification requirements, and lack of diversity in union leadership.
  • Identify a process or method to prepare, support, and encourage school leadership to increase retention of teachers of color.
The commission will consist of three members of the House of Representatives; the President of the RI Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers; the President of the RI Chapter of the National Education Association; the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education; three members of student focused organizations, such as Providence Student Union or Young Voices; three members of community based organizations, such as the RI Coalition for Educators of Color or Teach for America; and one member of the Educational Studies faculty at Rhode Island College.

The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives no later than April 17, 2020 and the commission will expire on June 17, 2020.

6/11/2019RepRep. Karen Alzate; #255; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/60-Alzate_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Rep. Karen Alzate’s (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) legislation (2019-H 5553A) that would create a 13 member special legislative commission to study and make recommendations for encouraging more persons of color to enter education fields passed the House of Representatives.



YesYesApproved3703876/11/2019 4:25 PMSystem Account6/11/2019 5:29 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,121
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Judiciary Committee will be meeting twice this week to consider several pieces of legislation and to hear testimony on a variety of legislation. 

On Tuesday, June 11 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 4:45 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House, the committee is scheduled to vote on the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0315A, sponsored by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years.
  • 2019-H 5125A, sponsored by Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence), would codify the abortion rights granted under the United States Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade and its progeny.
  • 2019-S 0702, sponsored by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton), precludes the disability of a parent from serving as a basis for denial or restriction in matters involving a child's welfare, foster care, family law, guardianship and adoption.
The committee will hear testimony on 2019-S 0780, sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), which eliminates the marital sexual assault exception when a victim is incapacitated, disabled, or helpless.

To ensure there is enough seating to accommodate the news media and as many members of the public as possible, media members planning to attend tomorrow’s committee hearing are asked to email Greg Paré at gpare@rilegislature.gov. The hearing will be streamed live on the General Assembly’s website.
 
On Thursday, June 13 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5:30 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House, the committee will be hearing testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0694, sponsored by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich), prohibits the use of a school district's listserv to distribute any political advertisement, invitation, and/or propaganda.
  • 2019-S 0831, sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), prohibits the purchase, sale, offer for sale or possession with intent to sell covered animal parts or products and provide for penalties for violation ranging from misdemeanor to felony upon conviction.
  • 2019-S 0933, sponsored by Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), this act would, upon its own motion or upon request of a parolee, enable the parole board to terminate a parolee's supervision and legal custody order. Prisoners with a life sentence for first and second degree murder are excluded.
  • 2019-S 0953, sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), provides that law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, and agencies participating in the HOPE initiative be exempt from civil liability or criminal prosecution as a result of administering opioid antagonists.

6/10/2019SenSen. Erin Lynch Prata; #151; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703846/10/2019 11:32 AMSystem Account6/10/2019 11:32 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,120
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Committee on Education is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider various pieces of legislation, including financial literacy and world language immersion. The panel will also consider bills related to an education reform package that was unveiled earlier this year.

The committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, June 12, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House. The committee is scheduled to vote on several bills, including the following:
  • 2019-S 0112 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), would mandate that a program of financial literacy be taught to all students in the public high schools throughout the state of Rhode Island.
  • 2019-S 0115 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), would provide increased school housing aid for communities that utilize resident architectural firms, for the architectural services included in a new school or school renovation project.
  • 2019-S 0119 — This bill, sponsored Senator Gallo, would require that all high school students attending public schools fulfill at least one-half credit or course requirement in civics education, commencing with the graduating class of 2020.
  • 2019-S 0198 — This bill, sponsored Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence), would establish and require funding for a world language and dual language immersion program.
  • 2019-S 0199 — This bill, sponsored Senator Gallo, would limit public school K through 2 class size to 20 students.
  • 2019-S 0865 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), would increase building-level management of our schools, increases on-the-ground support for underperforming schools, and provides for the same support at the district level, which has not existed before. Student assessments would include a range of elements, such as work samples, projects, and portfolios, in recognition of the variety of student learning styles.
  • 2019-S 0866 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett), would add an instructional component to the test that teachers must pass to get their certificates. This component will demonstrate that, in addition to understanding what they will teach, the aspiring educator must understand how to teach that subject matter to students.
  • 2019-S 0867 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield), would create a process for certifying teachers with certain specialty skills. Its intent is to alleviate difficulties that districts have in finding qualified teachers with certain skills for elementary and secondary education.
  • 2019-S 0868 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton), would create a new teacher evaluation system designed, in part, to promote growth, place student learning in the center, and shorten improvement timelines.
The Senate Committee on Education is chaired by Senator Gallo.

6/10/2019SenSen. Hanna Gallo; #88; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoNoApproved3703836/10/2019 11:05 AMSystem Account6/10/2019 11:06 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,119
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will be meeting today, June 10 at 3 p.m. in Room 35 of the State House to hear testimony on legislation (2019-H 6180) sponsored by Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) which establishes a board of trustees for URI.  The bill also establishes the transfer of URI research foundation authority to the board of governors if the foundation dissolved and it removes authority of Council on Postsecondary Education over URI.

The committee will also hear testimony on a bill (2019-H 6189), also sponsored by Speaker Mattiello, that establishes an opioid stewardship payment program which manufacturers and distributors of opioids would pay into to support opioid treatment programs.

6/10/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703826/10/2019 10:30 AMSystem Account6/10/2019 10:30 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,118
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Judiciary Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, June 11 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 101 of the State House to consider several bills and hear testimony on a variety of legislation.

The committee will consider the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5714, sponsored by Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls), provides that a voter may use proof of identity which expired no more than six months prior to voting.
  • 2019-H 5751A, sponsored by Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket), authorizes a 72 hour hold to be ordered by a physician in certain instances of substance use disorders.
  • 2019-H 5764A, sponsored by Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket), moves the date of primaries to the eighth Tuesday preceding biennial state elections.
  • 2019-H 5864, sponsored by Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland), allows local boards of canvassers to combine voting districts in special elections for approval/rejection of questions or when officials will be elected or in primary elections only with board of election approval.
The committee will also be hearing testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-H 6186, sponsored by Rep. Christopher T. Millea (D-Dist. 16, Cranston), provides no person may use wireless handset/personal wireless device for texting while driving.  The committee is also hearing the companion legislation (2019-S 0785) sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).
  • 2019-S 0225, sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), expands Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations.
  • 2019-S 0483, sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), requires the child advocate to review case records of fatalities or near fatalities when there is abuse or neglect present and the family had prior department contacts.

6/10/2019RepRep. Robert Craven; #189; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703816/10/2019 10:26 AMSystem Account6/10/2019 10:26 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
14,983
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence – President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio plans to submit legislation today that takes a new approach to economic development on large tracts of state land. Spurred by delays and impediments imposed upon the Hope Point Tower proposal for the I-195 Redevelopment District, President Ruggerio hopes to create a more streamlined process for approvals on these state-owned parcels moving forward.
 
“We have a rare opportunity for development at the former I-195 land and some other areas across the state,” said Senator Ruggerio. “In the I-195 District, a developer is hoping to invest more than a quarter of a billion dollars to create an iconic structure that redefines the skyline. We should have welcomed this investment with open arms. Instead, we did everything we could to chase the developer away. Thankfully, he’s still here. This process has sent a terrible message to anyone looking to invest in Rhode Island.”
 
President Ruggerio continued, “This legislation streamlines the approval process for large, contiguous parcels of state land intended for redevelopment, so that progress isn’t stymied by narrow interests.
 
“These large development districts present extraordinary opportunities and also have a significant impact upon the common good. It is clear that municipalities are not equipped with sufficient flexibility to address the unique needs of these districts while governing their coordinated development. This new approach to economic development will provide a new mechanism with all the tools necessary to handle development in a nimble and coordinated way. It will benefit the entire state of Rhode Island.”
 
The legislation establishes a process for creating Special Economic Development Districts on state-owned tracts of 20 or more contiguous acres. These special districts would be vested with the authority to adopt development plans that include land use, location of buildings, street systems, dimension and height requirements, parking, landscaping, design review and population density.
 
The I-195 Redevelopment Commission would be granted the same authority as the economic development districts.
 
President Ruggerio began working on these bills last fall, as the Hope Point Tower faced yet another roadblock. He noted that the legislative proposal is complex and will require thorough analysis and public input through the committee hearing process. “The introduction of this legislation today is the beginning of that process, not the end,” he said.

4/11/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Greg Pare
7
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/04-Ruggerio_jpg.jpgNoApproved
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio plans to submit legislation today that takes a new approach to economic development on large tracts of state land. Spurred by delays and impediments imposed upon the Hope Point Tower proposal for the I-195 Redevelopment District, President Ruggerio hopes to create a more streamlined process for approvals on these state-owned parcels moving forward.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3702374/11/2019 2:04 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:23 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
14,984
  
Bill aimed at opening career paths for those released from prison
 
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Harold M. Metts and Rep. Scott A. Slater have filed legislation to prevent Rhode Islanders from being denied an occupational license based solely or partially on a non-related criminal conviction. 

The “Fair Chance Licensing” act (2019-S 0610, 2019-H 5863) develops a standardized process by which only convictions directly related to the duties of the licensed occupation can be considered in the application for a professional license; to provide guidance on how those records should be considered when an application is being reviewed; and to create a more transparent decision-making and notification process.

The sponsors were joined by advocates from a coalition of more than 30 community groups, including Direct Action for Rights & Equality (DARE), today at a State House event to call attention to the need for the legislation.

“If the purpose of prison system is really supposed to be rehabilitation, someone who’s been there shouldn’t face a lifetime of discrimination in their efforts to find meaningful employment and become a contributing member of our society. Once they’ve served their time and been released, they shouldn’t be denied a license to work in a field that has nothing to do with their previous offense. There needs to be a more-nuanced, less-punitive approach to licensing,” said Senator Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), a deacon in the Congdon Street Baptist Church who regularly provides ministry in prison. “Most people who go to prison are already facing numerous challenges like systemic poverty, housing insecurity, mental health issues and a lack of educational opportunities. The licensing system shouldn’t be another. If they are otherwise qualified, the licensing board should have more discretion and shouldn’t automatically deny them.”

Said Representative Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence),“This is common-sense reform of a system that isn’t serving the public the way it should. It’s not protecting anyone to deny someone a license to work in a job because of a criminal record for an offense that has no bearing on that job. This is a system that helps perpetuate poverty in the community, making it so that once a person messes up, they face roadblocks that keep them down for the rest of their lives. People who have turned their lives around and want to work and support themselves and their families should have every available opportunity to do that, without senseless barriers.”

For Rhode Islanders who have been involved in the criminal justice system, occupational licensing restrictions pose a serious barrier to meaningful employment. Many of the entry-level jobs in some of the state’s fastest growing sectors require occupational licenses. Over 70 percent of the occupations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies as “lower-income” require a license. Even some professions for which Rhode Islanders can receive training and certification while incarcerated are closed to people returning home because of how licensing agencies explicitly use criminal records to exclude otherwise qualified candidates.

“Passage of this bill is a matter of fairness and equity. People who have been involved in the criminal justice system face a vast array of obstacles in re-entering society,” said Steven Brown, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island. “The state should not be adding to them through the use of unnecessarily stringent occupational licensing requirements, which are all too prevalent. The ACLU applauds the sponsors of the legislation for seeking to reduce this discrimination by giving every person a fair chance in the occupational licensing process.”

“Discrimination in occupational licensing deprives us of so many employment opportunities that we are equally fit to do, and deprives us of a better life, and breaking the cycle of incarceration” said Sara Reyes, a member of Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE).

In expanding opportunity for meaningful employment for those who have been involved in the criminal justice system, occupational licensing reform represents an important step in efforts to build stable and safe communities for all Rhode Islanders. Besides DARE and the RI ALCU, the legislation is supported by 30 additional community-based organizations, including the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights, the Economic Progress Institute and Amos House. 

4/11/2019RepSen. Harold Metts; Rep. Scott Slater; #91; #155; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/prison-release_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Bill aimed at opening career paths for those released from prison
 
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Harold M. Metts and Rep. Scott A. Slater have filed legislation to prevent Rhode Islanders from being denied an occupational license based solely or partially on a non-related criminal conviction. 
NoYesApproved3702384/11/2019 2:41 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:23 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
14,986
  
STATE HOUSE – At a meeting of the House Finance Subcommittee on Education, Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) questioned representatives from Rhode Island College (RIC) and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) over their decisions to hire armed police details for campus events at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer.  The campus police forces for RIC and CCRI are not armed and both administrations have been strong opponents to legislation (2019-H 5138) sponsored by Representative O’Brien that calls for the arming of RIC and CCRI police officers.

“The terrible reality that our society currently faces is that active-shooter situations are a persistent threat and as we have seen, schools are frequently targeted for such vile and tragic acts.  It is because of this that I believe police officers at both RIC and CCRI should be allowed to carry firearms in order to protect students, faculty, staff and the public,” said Representative O’Brien.

At the subcommittee meeting, Representative O’Brien questioned RIC Interim​ Vice President and CFO​ Stephen Nedder and CCRI President Dr. Meghan Hughes about why at times armed police details were being hired to patrol the campuses of RIC and CCRI.  He also asked if there was no need for the campus police to be armed why were armed police details being hired from neighboring communities.  Representative O’Brien also pointed out that the hiring of outside police details costs the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“If the administrations of RIC and CCRI truly believe that there is no need for armed security on their campuses, then there is no reason for armed police details to be hired at great costs to the taxpayers and students of both institutions.  Dr. Hughes even admitted that if CCRI police officers were armed, there would have been no reason to hire an outside armed police detail for an incident several years ago that lasted almost a week,” added Representative O’Brien.

Currently, the University of Rhode Island (URI) is the only public institute of higher education that has armed its campus police officers.  URI instituted this policy in 2015.  Representative O’Brien noted that Brown University in Providence, a private institution, also has campus police officers that carry firearms.

“All of these men and women are former law enforcement officers, and all are required to go through the training of the police academy, which also means under Rhode Island state law, they can carry firearms legally.  If the worst were to happen on either campus, I would much prefer that the campus police officers be trained, prepared, and equipped with firearms rather than having to approach an active-shooter with a pair of handcuffs and a prayer,” said Representative O’Brien.

Representative O’Brien’s legislation is currently before the House Judiciary Committee.

Video of the subcommittee meeting can be found here.

4/12/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
At a meeting of the House Finance Subcommittee on Education, Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) questioned representatives from Rhode Island College (RIC) and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) over their decisions to hire armed police details for campus events at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer.  The campus police forces for RIC and CCRI are not armed and both administrations have been strong opponents to legislation (2019-H 5138) sponsored by Representative O’Brien that calls for the arming of RIC and CCRI police officers.


NoYesApproved3702404/12/2019 12:03 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:23 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
14,987
  
STATE HOUSE – Legislation (2019-H 5299aa) sponsored by Rep. Bernard A. Hawkins (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester) that prohibits the misrepresentation of pets as service animals in order to acquire any rights or privileges afforded to disabled people passed the House of Representatives last week.

“Service animals provide tremendous support and critical services for those that are in need, but when an animal is misrepresented as a service animal, this negatively affects those that are truly in need of service animal support,” said Representative Hawkins.

While the behaviors of pets and service animals are distinguishable, often managers of businesses and agencies they visit have only one means to identify them: the vest they usually wear. 

Unfortunately, replicas of these vests are easily available online, leading many people to fraudulently claiming their pets as service animals.

According to the legislation, if a person is found to have misrepresented a pet as a service animal, the person would be guilty of a civil violation, punishable with up to 30 hours of community service for an organization that serves people with disabilities.

“It is fundamentally unfair to people with actual disabilities who need their service animals by their sides at all times for others to misrepresent the same conditions.  Misrepresenting a service animal defrauds actual service dog users, and businesses and agencies that work with people who employ service dogs.  This legislation protects these parties as well as providing an appropriate punishment for those who try to game the system with fake service animals,” concluded Representative Hawkins.
 

4/16/2019RepRep. Bernard A. Hawkins; #254; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/53-Hawkins_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Legislation (2019-H 5299aa) sponsored by Rep. Bernard A. Hawkins (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester) that prohibits the misrepresentation of pets as service animals in order to acquire any rights or privileges afforded to disabled people passed the House of Representatives.


NoYesApproved3702424/16/2019 12:41 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:23 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,000
  
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved a resolution sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi calling for the Department of Health to develop protocols to help detect sepsis early and treat it.

The resolution (2019-H 5539) is aimed at helping to prevent loss of life from the potentially fatal condition.

Sepsis is a complication that occurs when a person’s body has an extreme response to an infection. It can cause damage to organs in the body and can be life-threatening if not treated. If sepsis becomes severe enough or develops into septic shock, the chances of dying from sepsis increase significantly.

Leader Shekarchi introduced the legislation after hearing the heart-wrenching stories of several Rhode Island children who lost their lives in recent years as a result of sepsis.

“Sepsis moves quickly. In many cases, a person, especially children, may be perfectly healthy until they develop an infection. If that infection leads to sepsis, they could be gone in a matter of a few days. The first signs can be difficult to diagnose, but catching it early is critical to saving lives. Our state needs to make sure that there’s a strong set of procedures to follow that help health professionals identify sepsis at its first signs, and to make sure people with it receive the most effective treatment immediately,” said Leader Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick).

When the bill was heard by the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare on April 3, the parents of three girls lost to sepsis in recent years testified in favor of it, urging the adoption of best practices throughout the health care system so other families would be spared the devastation theirs experienced.

Five-year-old Layla Charette and 10-year-old Emily Halloran Otrando, both of Cumberland, and 17-year-old Gianna Cirella of Warwick all died after developing sepsis. In Layla’s case, the first signs were nothing alarming, and when she developed a fever one day in 2017, her doctor recommended the usual regimen of fluids, over-the-counter fever-reducer and rest. But in less than a day, her fever spiked, she began vomiting and became delusional. She was rushed to the hospital, but passed away there just two days later.

Emily had no previous respiratory problems when she told her parents one day in 2014 that she was experiencing shortness of breath. It turned out she had enterovirus, and developed a case of sepsis that became fatal in less than 24 hours.

Gianna was a healthy soccer player at Toll Gate High School who also developed sepsis in 2017. Her symptoms began with a sore throat, which was treated with antibiotics. She was seen by three different health care providers in the days before she went to the hospital with sepsis. She died 16 days later.

All the girls’ parents testified that they believe having statewide sepsis protocols in place would help health care providers — not only hospitals, but the physicians who are likely the first to see patients when symptoms begin — to identify potential sepsis cases and treat them before it’s too late.

The House resolution, which does not require Senate approval, respectfully requests the Rhode Island Department of Health to develop statewide evidence-based sepsis protocols for the early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. It is cosponsored by Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) and Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).

Sepsis is the most common cause of death in hospitalized children in both Rhode Island and the rest of the United States. According to a 2018 study from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, only 40 percent of sepsis patients receive proper treatment. Nationwide, only Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and Delaware have lower rates for proper treatment of sepsis.

IN PHOTO: Majority Leader Shekarchi, right, with Alaina Charette, mother of the late Layla Charette. Mrs. Charette was on hand to witness the House passing the resolution calling for sepsis protocols.
4/23/2019RepRep. K. Joseph Shekarchi; #187; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/charette_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The House of Representatives approved a resolution sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi calling for the Department of Health to develop protocols to help detect sepsis early and treat it.
NoYesApproved3702554/23/2019 5:57 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:23 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,002
  
Panels would ensure warning signs aren’t missed
 
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello to increase school safety by creating threat assessment teams in schools to serve as the “boots on the ground” in identifying potentially threatening behavior by those in the school community.

Under the bill (2019-H 5538), which will now go to the Senate, school districts would also adopt policies for assessment and intervention, including procedures for referrals to community services or health care providers for evaluation.

The legislation is a recommendation of the School Safety Committee, a panel led by the State Police to develop statewide policy for school safety. Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) met with the State Police over the summer to discuss legislative efforts that could help prevent violence in schools such as the mass shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last year.

“So many times after a tragedy, members of the school community say there were so many warning signs from the eventual perpetrator of the violence. Then people are puzzled about how those signs could possibly be missed, to such devastating effect,” said Speaker Mattiello. “Many times, it’s because of segmented administrative structures that don’t result in anyone in charge recognizing multiple warning signs from a single person. There needs to be people at every school — people who are part of that school’s fabric, who know the students, the staff, the parents and the structures — whose job it is to collect that information and decide what to do with it. Everyone at that school needs to know who to tell if they see concerning behavior, so they can help keep schools safe, and connect troubled individuals to help so they don’t become the next perpetrator of violence at school.”

Under the bill, every district school committee would be required to adopt a written policy for the establishment of threat assessment teams, and for assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of school staff or students. The policies, which must be consistent with a model policy the statewide School Safety Committee has recommended, shall include procedures for referrals to community services or health care providers for evaluation or treatment when appropriate.

Each district superintendent would establish, for each school, a threat assessment team with expertise in guidance, counseling, school administration, mental health and law enforcement. The team would be in charge of implementing the district safety policy. It would also provide guidance to students, faculty, and staff in recognizing threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community, school, or the individual, and ensure that everyone at the school knows who to tell if they recognize such behavior. If there is reason to believe someone in the school poses a threat of violence to others or himself or herself, the team would immediately pass information on for action: to the superintendent or other designated administrator, and to the school building administrator, who would be in charge of contacting parents or guardians in the case of a student. Members of the team would be prohibited from disclosing any information regarding any individual collected through the course of the team’s work, except for the purpose of addressing the threat.

The superintendent would also establish a district committee with similar expertise to oversee the school-level committees.

The bill is modeled after a Virginia law. Similar models have been adopted in Maryland, Florida and other states since the Parkland massacre.

“Besides preventing violence, this approach is aimed at getting troubled individuals the help they need. With this bill, we can prevent people from becoming victims, others from becoming perpetrators, and keep our schools safe places where kids and teachers can focus on learning,” said Speaker Mattiello.

The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket), Rep. Mario Mendez (D-Dist. 13, Johnston, Providence), Rep. Joe Serodio (D-Dist. 64, East Providence) and Rep. Thomas Noret (D-Dist. 25, Coventry, West Warwick).
4/24/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/15-mattiello_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Panels would ensure warning signs aren’t missed
 
The House of Representatives approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello to increase school safety by creating threat assessment teams in schools to serve as the “boots on the ground” in identifying potentially threatening behavior by those in the school community.


NoYesApproved3702574/24/2019 2:34 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,003
  
Measure intended as part of effort to curb opioid epidemic
 
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Justine Caldwell to require signs at pharmacies warning customers about dangers associated with opioids.

The signs would be similar to warning signs that are required where tobacco products are sold, and are meant to ensure that customers are aware of the possible dangers connected with opioids when they fill prescriptions for them.

The bill (2019-H 5184), which was the first piece of legislation introduced by the freshman representative, will now go to the Senate, where Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-S 0291).

Representative Caldwell says she views the legislation as a necessary part of a wider response to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis in Rhode Island.

“The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis. We want to give everyone the knowledge, the reminder, the chance — whether it’s someone who is chronically ill, in recovery, a parent —to use their medication only in the way as prescribed by their doctor.  While I would hope they’ve already had conversations about them with their prescribing doctors, warning signs will drive home just how serious these risks are, and prompt them to ask their pharmacist if they have any further questions,” said Representative Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich). “Given the scale of the opioid epidemic, we should be using every available means to ensure that patients who are prescribed opioids are armed with the information they need to prevent dependence.”

The legislation would require the Department of Health to compile a list of the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs containing opioids or other Schedule II controlled substances, and distribute that list to the Board of Pharmacy, which would then distribute the list to every pharmacy in the state, along with warnings about “the overuse, misuse and mixing of those drugs with other drugs and/or alcohol including, but not limited to, dependence, addiction or death.” Each pharmacy would be required to post the sign near where prescriptions are filled.

The bill would also require pharmacists to inform patients about their option to partially fill their prescription, and the procedures for dispensing other partial fills until the prescription is fully dispensed. A law passed by the General Assembly in 2018 allows patients to fill only a portion of their opioid prescription if they choose, to prevent overuse or overdoses. Under the law, they can come back for more of the prescription if they choose, until the prescription has been completely filled, until 31 days after it was first dispensed.

The bill is not expected to result in any significant cost to the state.

The bill’s cosponsors include House Judiciary Chairman Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown); Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman  Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston); Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston); and House Minority Whip Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry).
4/24/2019RepRep. Justine A. Caldwell; #252; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/prescription_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Measure intended as part of effort to curb opioid epidemic
 
The House of Representatives approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Justine Caldwell to require signs at pharmacies warning customers about dangers associated with opioids.


NoYesApproved3702584/24/2019 2:38 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,004
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne has introduced three pieces of legislation aimed at better supporting Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease and securing more federal funding for Alzheimer’s programs in the state.

“Alzheimer’s disease profoundly reshapes families, often for years. Its effects slowly rob people of the abilities they have had their whole lives. Providing the care that their loved ones need can be an enormous challenge for families. We must ensure that we are carefully and effectively using every available resource we have to ensure that every person affected by Alzheimer’s has the support and care they need,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), whose father died after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

 The first bill (2019-S 0223), which is based on legislation signed into law last year in Massachusetts, establishes a program within the Department of Health dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease, and creates a 13-member advisory council that would provide policy recommendations, evaluate state-funded efforts for care and research and provide guidance to state officials on advancements in treatment, prevention and diagnosis.

The bill would require the Department of Health to assess all state programs related to Alzheimer’s, and maintain and annually update the state’s plan for Alzheimer’s disease. The bill would also require the Department of Health to establish an Alzheimer’s disease assessment protocol specifically focused on recognizing the signs and symptoms of cognitive impairments, and appropriate resource information for effective medical screening, investigation and service planning. The bill would require caseworkers working with the Department of Elderly Affairs to be familiar with those protocols. Additionally, the bill would require a one-time, hour-long training on diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with cognitive impairments for all physicians and nurses licensed in the state.

Adoption of the bill would enable Rhode Island to qualify for federal funding that is available to help states with their efforts to support those with Alzheimer’s disease.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Senate session in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House. House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) is sponsoring the bill (2019-H 5178) in the House.

The second bill (2019-S 0302) would allow the spouses or partners of patients residing in Alzheimer’s or dementia special care unit or program to live with them, even if they do not meet the requirements as patients themselves. Allowing couples to live together would help maintain patients’ relationships, connections and personal dignity. Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) is sponsoring the bill (2019-H 5141) in the House.

The final bill (2019-S 0310) is a resolution in support of the adoption and implementation of a new five-year update to the state plan for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The state’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, led by Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, developed the updates over the course of a year, announcing its completion in February. The plan includes more than 30 recommendations, including the allocation of one director-level position within the Department of Health to coordinate the implementation of actions in the plan, efforts to promote Alzheimer’s and dementia research in Rhode Island and the inclusion of brain health in existing publicly-funded health promotion and chronic disease management activities. Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) is sponsoring the bill (2019-H 5569) in the House.

There are an estimated 23,000 Rhode Islanders age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease — about 17.4 percent of that population, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. With the aging of the Baby Boomer generation, the rate of Alzheimer’s is expected to increase. In just six years, the number is expected to increase to 27,000. In the United States, nearly one in every three seniors who die has Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
4/24/2019SenSen. Cynthia A. Coyne; #208; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/nursinghome_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne has introduced three pieces of legislation aimed at better supporting Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease and securing more federal funding for Alzheimer’s programs in the state.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Coyne-Social_png.jpg3702594/24/2019 5:11 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,006
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski’s (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) legislation (2019-H 5322) which establishes comprehensive immunity provisions for individuals donating food to food banks passed the House of Representatives tonight.

“As a farmer, I’m keenly aware of the importance of avoiding waste. I’m very interested in solving the problems in the food stream that result in good food getting thrown away while people are going hungry in the same community. This kind of waste is senseless and harmful, but is often compelled by regulations about food safety and by the potential for litigation. This bill will help to eliminate the roadblocks while maintaining safety, and help businesses and organizations get excess food to people in need, instead of dumping it in the landfill,” said Representative Marszalkowski.

The purpose of the legislation is to provide incentives and protections to implement and increase food recovery and donations in Rhode Island. 

The bill states that except for injury resulting from gross negligence or intentional misconduct in the preparation or handling of donated food, no individual or food facility that donates food to a food bank or charitable organization can be liable for any damage or injury resulting from the consumption of donated food. Individuals and organizations that donate perishable and nonperishable food that has exceeded its expiration date are protected from civil liability under the act if the person or food bank that distributes the food makes a good faith evaluation that they food is still fit for consumption.  Food banks and organizations that distribute the food are also protected under the act.

The bill also calls for a public information campaign from food safety inspectors to retail food facility operators to promote the recovery and donation of safe and edible food by informing the food facility operators about the protections from civil and criminal liability when donating food.

The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

4/25/2019RepRep. Alex Marszalkowski; #239; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/52-Marszalkowski_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski’s (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) legislation (2019-H 5322) which establishes comprehensive immunity provisions for individuals donating food to food banks passed the House of Representatives.



NoYesApproved3702614/25/2019 4:35 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,007
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) was unanimously elected as the chairman of the Permanent Joint Committee on State Lottery this week by his fellow committee members.

“I am honored that my colleagues on the committee had faith in my abilities to chair this important committee that provides oversight to one of our state’s largest revenue generators.  I am eager to begin the work leading the committee and one of my top priorities will be to work with all the stakeholders to ensure that mobile sports betting is up and running in time for the 2019 football season,” said Representative O’Brien.

The Joint Committee on State Lottery is responsible for legislative oversight of all lottery operations, which fall under the Department of Administration. The General Assembly created the committee following voter approval of the Separation of Powers constitutional amendment, which removed legislators from various boards and commissions.

At the same meeting, Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) was elected vice-chairwoman and Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) was elected secretary.

Other members of the committee include Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly), Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket), Sen. Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield), and Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence).

Representative O’Brien, who was first elected in 2012, is also a House Deputy Majority Leader, Second Vice-Chairman of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Second Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, and a member of the House Finance Committee.

4/26/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) was unanimously elected as the chairman of the Permanent Joint Committee on State Lottery this week by his fellow committee members.



NoYesApproved3702624/26/2019 3:25 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,015
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Walter S. Felag’s (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0620) that would increase the amount of beer sold directly to customers by breweries was passed by the Rhode Island Senate tonight.

The bill is part of the Senate’s “Building a More Vibrant Rhode Island” economic development package of legislation.

“Rhode Island’s craft brewery industry has been a true bright spot in Rhode Island’s resurgence from the Great Recession and this legislation will ensure that this promising and successful industry continues to grow within Rhode Island’s borders.  This bill will allow our breweries to better compete with those in our surrounding states and continue the growth we have witnessed in a very short amount of time,” said Senator Felag.

The legislation raises craft beer limits for sale so Rhode Island’s brewing industry continues to grow.  It allows breweries to sell a full case of 24 beers. If they produce 12-ounce cans or bottles, the brewery’s limit on the amount of beer sold remains the same. If the brewery produces 16-ounce cans or bottles, as many of the craft breweries do, the limit increases to a full case of 24 16-ounce bottles or cans.

The proposal seeks to allow additional growth in an industry that has recently gone from 14 to 30 craft breweries due to an earlier law addressing the same issue.

4/30/2019SenSen. Walter Felag; #112; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/10-Felag_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Walter S. Felag’s (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0620) that would increase the amount of beer sold directly to customers by breweries was passed by the Rhode Island Senate.


NoYesApproved3702724/30/2019 4:27 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,021
  
STATE HOUSE – Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) were passed by the Rhode Island Senate this week.  The two bills relate to apprenticeship programs and contractor bonds for state projects.

“Apprenticeships and increased competition for state contracts will keep our economy strong, vibrant and competitive.  In order for our state to continue its economic progress from the Great Recession, we must adapt to new models of development and both of these bills will keep our residents, and future employees, working toward a successful middle class life while also saving money and lowering costs for taxpayers,” said Senator Lawson.

On Wednesday, May 1, the Senate passed a resolution (2019-S 0711) respectfully requesting that the Governor’s Workforce Board partner with the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) to develop a report on the feasibility of expanding non-trade registered apprenticeship programs in Rhode Island.
Non-trade apprenticeship are models that fall outside the traditional trades such as plumbing and carpentry and into new areas such as information technology and healthcare.

The Senate resolution does not require House approval and copies of it were sent to the executive director and the chairperson of the Governor’s Workforce Board and the director of DLT.

This past Thursday, May 2, the Senate passed legislation (2019-S 0585) that requires contractors awarded road and bridge construction projects by the Department of Transportation with a contract price in excess of $150 thousand be required to furnish a bond equal to at least 50 percent of the contract price.

The legislation amends the statutory bonding requirements for public projects which have not been amended in 20 years.  The amendment will increase the pool of companies that can bid on state projects which could potentially increase competition and lower costs for taxpayers.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

5/3/2019SenSen. Valarie J. Lawson; #260; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/14-Lawson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) were passed by the Rhode Island Senate.  The two bills relate to apprenticeship programs and contractor bonds for state projects.


NoYesApproved3702785/3/2019 12:45 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 4:21 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,117
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Senate yesterday passed legislation sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that requires monitoring for hospital conversions involving non-profit acquirors, at the expense of the acquiror, and extends the monitoring following a conversion from 3 to 5 years.
 
The legislation, 2019-S-500A, also doubles penalties for failure to comply with the terms of the conversion from $1 million to $2 million. The bill was introduced on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Neronha as a means to enhance the tools available to the Attorney General and Department of Health to monitor and enforce conditions imposed pursuant to a Hospital Conversion Act review.
 
“The passage of these amendments to the Hospital Conversion Act ensures that the Office of the Attorney General, as well as the Department of Health, have the legal and financial tools necessary to adequately monitor and enforce our conditions in future transactions,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I would like to thank Senate President Ruggiero for his strong advocacy and members of the Senate for working with my office to pass this legislation, which gives us the necessary strategic enforcement tools to protect the interests of all Rhode Islanders.” 
 
From the Senate President’s perspective, the bill is also a response to the St. Joseph’s Health Service pension crisis, which left the fund insolvent when contributions to it ceased following the sale of Fatima Hospital and Roger Williams Hospital to Prospect Medical Holdings in 2014. The $85 million fund covered about 2,700 current and former employees of the two hospitals.
 
“This legislation will help prevent what happened with the St. Joseph’s Health Services pension plan from ever happening again in Rhode Island,” said President Ruggerio. “Extended monitoring will provide the necessary increased oversight, while stiffer penalties will work to ensure those who don’t comply with the law are held accountable.”
 
The bill builds upon legislation passed earlier this session, also sponsored by President Ruggerio, which would bring further transparency by requiring defined pension plans with at least two hundred members to comply with the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act’s (ERISA) annual reporting provisions.
 
Last year, a law introduced by President Ruggerio helped members of the insolvent pension plan to reach settlements in their multiple class-action lawsuits by better positioning members to reach fair, equitable settlements with the multiple defendants of the lawsuits.
 
The bill has been transmitted to the House of Representatives for consideration.

6/7/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703806/7/2019 2:28 PMSystem Account6/7/2019 2:28 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,114
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer to extend veterans’ benefits to members of the armed forces who were discharged because of their sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

The bill (2019-S 0837) would provide a petition process to have a discharge recorded for state purposes as honorable for members of the armed services who were given a discharge that was not honorable due solely to sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Doing so will allow them to receive all state benefits to which honorably discharged veterans are entitled, even if they have previously been denied.

“While the armed forces have fortunately stopped discharging members under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the current federal administration has renewed its attacks on our transgender service members. Far too many veterans have been discharged, shamed and left without the benefits they earned because of decades of a dehumanizing policy that said they couldn’t serve. They deserved gratitude and honor, and we should be doing everything we can to ensure that these wrongs are righted and that they get the respect they deserve,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).

By some estimates, as many as 100,000 service members were discharged for being gay between World War II and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that took effect in 1994. Many of these were given undesirable discharges, barring them from veterans’ benefits. Under the provisions of the legislation, the director of the Office of Veterans’ Affairs would provide a form certifying that the member’s discharge is to be treated as honorable.

The military will now upgrade some of those undesirable discharges to “honorable” status as long as there were no instances of misconduct, but digging up decades-old records can be difficult and time-consuming and often takes years. Some veterans prefer to go without benefits to avoid pain, embarrassment and hassle.

This state-level action would not affect federal benefits, but would allow veterans to take advantage of state and local benefits afforded to veterans.

Under the bill, the director of the state Office of Veterans’ Affairs would be required to inform veterans in the state that the measure may make them eligible to benefits they were previously denied.

The measure now moves to the House, which has approved companion legislation (2019-H 5443A) sponsored by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick).
6/6/2019SenSen. Dawn Euer; #244; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/13-euer_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Euer-Social_png.jpg3703776/6/2019 3:03 PMSystem Account6/6/2019 5:38 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,112
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would enact the Plastic Waste Reduction Act.

The legislation (2019-S 0410Aaa) is designed to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.

“We all know how dangerous plastic pollution is to the health of our oceans and marine life, and how it contributes to climate change,” said President Ruggerio. “Several Rhode Island jurisdictions, including 10 local communities have already enacted similar policies to promote and encourage the use of recyclable bags, and I think it’s appropriate to be consistent throughout the state.”

Plastics that enter the marine environment break down through wave action and sunlight into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can be ingested by marine life, putting Rhode Island’s fishing industries and aquatic ecosystems at risks. The legislation also acknowledges that plastic bags and thin plastic films are the predominant contaminant of recycling loads in Rhode Island, and that single-use plastic bags have severe environmental impacts on a local and global scale.

“It’s time to ban plastic bags in Rhode Island once and for all,” said Amy Moses, Vice President and Rhode Island Director of Conservation Law Foundation. “Plastics pollute at every stage of their lives — from extracting and refining fossil fuels to contaminating our recycling and choking wildlife. The Senate President’s bill is a great compromise and it will keep Rhode Island’s lands and waters free from this toxic litter.”

Under the legislation, retail sales establishments would be prohibited from making available any single-use plastic checkout bag or any paper checkout bag that is not a recyclable paper bag or a paper carryout bag at restaurants.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

6/6/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3703756/6/2019 10:51 AMSystem Account6/6/2019 4:44 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,113
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate yesterday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin to allow candidates for office to use campaign funds for child care while they are participating in elections activities, as federal candidates now can.

The bill (2019-H 0323) is designed to make Rhode Island campaign finance law mirror a 2018 Federal Elections Commission decision concerning New York congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley that determined that childcare expenses that result from running for office are an allowable campaign expense.

“Rhode Island is better served when our elected officials truly reflect the people they represent, and that includes parents of young children. Child care expenses are a roadblock that excludes people from running for local or state office if their family isn’t wealthy enough to afford them. The FEC recognized that those costs arise because of a candidate’s campaign and should be allowed, so our state should follow suit. Doing so would remove a barrier that keeps qualified people from choosing to run,” said Senator Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), whose own children are now teenagers who do not require child care. “You shouldn’t have to be wealthy to run for office.”

The bill is cosponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown) and Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick).

The legislation will now go to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5736).

6/6/2019SenSen. Gayle Goldin; #200; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Goldin-Social_png.jpg3703766/6/2019 12:37 PMSystem Account6/6/2019 1:52 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,111
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Lauren H. Carson has postponed a constituent meeting that was scheduled Monday, June 17, due to a Middletown Town Council meeting at the same time on that will include a vote on whether to enter into a planning process to discuss the possibility of a regional high school with Newport.

A new time for the constituent meeting will be announced at a later date.

Representative Carson said she believes it is worthwhile for the two communities to explore regionalization of the high schools, and that she plans to attend the meeting — scheduled Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m. at Middletown Town Hall, 350 East Main Road — to learn more.

“Potentially, especially as schools with declining enrollment, we could benefit from economies of scale if we were to regionalize. We would be better positioned to replace our outdated school buildings and there would be many intangible benefits, such as increased diversity among students and stronger and more varied extracurricular activities and sports. I would encourage all members of our communities to pay close attention to this conversation and consider the merits of a regional high school,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport). 

6/6/2019RepRep. Lauren H. Carson; #224; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703746/6/2019 10:49 AMSystem Account6/6/2019 10:50 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,108
  
STATE HOUSE — The Rhode Island Dermatology Society recognized Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) for her efforts in sponsoring a law that now prohibits the use of indoor tanning beds for anyone under the age of 18.

The award was presented during the organization’s advocacy day at the State House on Wednesday.

“I’d like to thank the Rhode Island Dermatology Society for recognizing my efforts to ban minors from using tanning beds,” said Representative Ackerman. “We don’t allow kids to use these tanning devices for the same reasons we don’t allow them to smoke — it causes cancer. When something is legal, it makes it very easy for people — particularly children — to ignore the health risks associated with it. In this case, the risks of melanoma are increased by 59 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent, and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent. We simply shouldn’t be risking the lives of our teenagers just so they can look good on prom night.”

The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has found that the use of tanning beds before age 30 is associated with a 75-percent increased lifetime risk of melanoma.
6/5/2019RepRep. Mia Ackerman; #191; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703716/5/2019 4:42 PMSystem Account6/6/2019 9:07 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,107
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would protect pets in the wake of animal abuse cases.

The legislation (2019-S 0225) would expand Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations.

“There is a strong correlation between domestic abuse and animal abuse,” said President Ruggerio. “If someone is violent towards humans they are likely to be violent towards animals. This legislation will ensure pets are protected under the law from domestic abusers, just as humans are.”

President Ruggerio is a longtime advocate for animal welfare. Last year, he sponsored a law requiring educational institutions that use dogs or cats for medical research to make those animals available for adoption when they are no longer useful for research.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5023) has been introduced by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence).
6/5/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/04-Ruggerio_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3703706/5/2019 2:25 PMSystem Account6/5/2019 5:14 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,105
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate is scheduled to vote on several high-profile bills today and tomorrow, including a ban on 3-D printed guns, legislation to eliminate disposable plastic shopping bags statewide, equal pay bills and a measure to address housing discrimination.

The Senate is scheduled to meet both days at 4 p.m. in its chamber on the second floor of the State House.

Today, the Senate is scheduled to take up:
  • 2019-S 0084A — Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), this bill would prohibit the possession, sale, transfer or purchase of a “ghost guns” (those without a serial number), undetectable firearms or any firearm produced by a 3D printing process.
  • 2019-S 0331 — Sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), this bill aims to eliminate housing discrimination against those who receive housing vouchers or other public assistance. It adds “lawful source of income” to the list of statuses — such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and marital status — that landlords may not use as a basis for their decisions about to whom they will rent, or which units they will rent to them.
 
Tomorrow, the Senate’s calendar includes:
  • 2019-S 0410Aaa — Sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), this bill would prohibit retail sales establishments from making available any single-use plastic checkout bag or any paper checkout bag that is not a recyclable paper bag or a paper carryout bag at restaurants.
  • 2019-S 0172 — Sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), this bill would collect data from employers of 100 or more people in Rhode Island to help determine industries and areas where pay gaps occur, and their extent.
  • 2019-S 0509 — Sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), this bill would provide protections and transparency in the workplace to help women and people of color demand equal pay for equal work and would make it illegal to pay workers less than their white, male colleagues without a clearly documented difference in skills.

6/5/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703686/5/2019 11:38 AMSystem Account6/5/2019 11:38 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,104
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Stephen R. Ucci has been appointed by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao to the federal Department of Transportation’s Drone Advisory Committee.

The committee is a broad-based, long-term federal advisory committee that provides Federal Aviation Administration with advice on key unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) integration issues by helping to identify challenges and prioritize improvements.

The committee includes stakeholders representing the wide variety of unmanned aircraft interests, including industry, research and academia, retail and technology. Representative Ucci has been asked to serve a two-year term representing local government.

“Your work representing the views of local government will greatly benefit DAC and the Department’s efforts to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System. Your experience and leadership will add valuable insights and perspectives that will help further DAC’s mission. We thank you for your previous work on the DAC sub-committee and look forward to your contributions as a member of DAC,” Secretary Chao wrote in Representative Ucci’s  appointment letter.

Representative Ucci (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston) led a legislative commission in 2015 and 2016 that studied drone regulation, and in 2016 sponsored successful legislation that gave Rhode Island Airport Corporation the exclusive legal authority to regulate the use of drones in Rhode Island.

Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman James R. Langevin all submitted letters of support on behalf of Representative Ucci’s appointment.

“I’m excited to serve in this way to help shape the laws of our nation concerning drone use. This technology provides both incredible possibilities to enhance our lives and unsettling potential to be used in dangerous ways. Ensuring that our laws support technological growth and protect Americans will be fascinating and challenging,” said Representative Ucci, who added that he was grateful to Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin for their support and shared interest in this emerging technology.
6/5/2019RepRep. Stephen Ucci; #47; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/42-ucci_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703676/5/2019 10:11 AMSystem Account6/5/2019 10:18 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,102
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will be meeting tomorrow, June 5 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 35 of the State House to hear testimony on a new budget article that relates to state leases.



6/4/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703656/4/2019 10:17 AMSystem Account6/4/2019 10:18 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,100
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0049) which would exempt menstrual products from the state sales tax is being heard by the Senate Finance Committee this Thursday, June 6 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 211 of the State House.

“Rhode Island should not be taxing feminine hygiene products as if buying them is some kind of luxury that indicates a person’s ability to pitch in a little more to support the state. They are a necessity, and one that is already fairly expensive for those of limited means. You can’t buy them with SNAP, and many women and girls can’t afford as many as they actually need. The state doesn’t need to add to their costs. For the same reason we exempt food and clothing — necessity — we should exempt menstrual products,” said Senator DiPalma.

The legislation would exempt tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar products used in connection with women’s menstrual cycles. Senator DiPalma has introduced the bill since 2016, and it has been supported by the Rhode Island Medical Society, Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Policy Institute.

Of the 45 U.S. states that collect sales tax, 10, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, currently exempt feminine hygiene products. Canada eliminated the “tampon tax” nationwide in 2015, and several other countries have as well.

Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence) is the sponsor of the companion legislation (2019-H 5307) in the House of Representatives.

6/3/2019SenSen. Louis DiPalma; #147; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/12-DiPalma_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703636/3/2019 3:47 PMSystem Account6/3/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,099
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Committee on Education is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider a package of education reform bills.

The committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, June 5, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House. The committee will vote on the following bills:

§  2019-S 0863  — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), would require the Commissioner of Education to align statewide academic standards with curriculum and the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System. It would also require the Commissioner to develop curriculum frameworks, which are broad, research-based instructional strategies for educators to help students develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge called for by the statewide standards.

§  2019-S 0864 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to become a professional support partner with local education agencies regarding effective ways to evaluate student improvement and proficiency.

§  2019-S 0865 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), would increase building-level management of our schools, increases on-the-ground support for underperforming schools, and provides for the same support at the district level, which has not existed before. Student assessments would include a range of elements, such as work samples, projects, and portfolios, in recognition of the variety of student learning styles.

§  2019-S 0866 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett), would add an instructional component to the test that teachers must pass to get their certificates. This component will demonstrate that, in addition to understanding what they will teach, the aspiring educator must understand how to teach that subject matter to students.

§  2019-S 0867 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield), would create a process for certifying teachers with certain specialty skills. Its intent is to alleviate difficulties that districts have in finding qualified teachers with certain skills for elementary and secondary education.

§  2019-S 0868 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton), would create a new teacher evaluation system designed, in part, to promote growth, place student learning in the center, and shorten improvement timelines.

§  2019-S 0869 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a fast-track program to certify new principals.

The panel will also hear testimony on several bills that were not part of the original joint education reform package, including:

§  2019-S 0937 — This bill, sponsored by Senator Pearson, would establish the executive position of the secretary of education, and would set out the powers and duties of the secretary.

§  2019-S 0941 — This bill, sponsored by Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), would require the Department of Education to create a model policy/timeline to assist school districts in implementing a dual language immersion program.

§  2019-S 0943 — This bill, sponsored by Senator Satchell, would direct the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to convene a group of stakeholders to review the standards for grade level promotion established by local education agencies.

 The Senate Committee on Education is chaired by Senator Gallo.
6/3/2019SenSen. Hanna Gallo; #88; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoNoApproved3703626/3/2019 2:05 PMSystem Account6/3/2019 2:06 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,098
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is highlighting two grants totaling $19,725 from the Department of Environmental Management to two local farms in Little Compton and Tiverton.

“With Rhode Island’s food being internationally recognized, it is important that we help nurture and support our food growers and small businesses.  These grants will go a long way to help the Sweet and Salty Farm and the Roots Farm continue to improve their operations so that their businesses will remain strong and vibrant into the future,” said Representative Canario.

The RI DEM, in partnership with the RI Food Policy Council, awarded grants to help new and existing small businesses and food initiatives take root and prosper in Rhode Island.  The grants were funded under the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act grant program.

The Sweet and Salty Farm in Little Compton has received a $15,000 to significantly increase production and sales of cheese and yogurt through the purchase and installation of an ice accumulator that can cool milk rapidly after pasteurization.

The Roots Farm in Tiverton received a $4,725 grant to increase productivity through the purchase and implementation of scale-appropriate tools for seeding, transplanting, and cultivation on a small-scale, intensively planted, non-mechanized farm that will help increase productivity, and to share this work with other RI growers through on-farm workshops.

6/3/2019RepRep. Dennis Canario; #197; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/71-Canario_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703616/3/2019 12:56 PMSystem Account6/3/2019 12:57 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,097
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet twice this week to hear testimony on a new article in the proposed state budget and again to hear testimony on several bills related to tax relief legislation.

The committee will meet Tuesday, June 4, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in the Senate Lounge on the second floor of the State House.

The committee will hear testimony on a new budget article relating to government efficiency.

The committee will also meet Thursday, June 6, at the rise of the Senate in Room 211 on the second floor of the State House.

The committee will hear several bills relating to various tax relief efforts.

The Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).

6/3/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoNoApproved3703606/3/2019 11:39 AMSystem Account6/3/2019 11:39 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,096
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Judiciary Committee will be meeting twice this week to consider several pieces of legislation and to hear testimony on a variety of bills.

On Tuesday, June 4 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House, the committee will consider the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0029, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), raises the juror's fees for each day's attendance on the superior court from $15.00 per day to $25.00 per day commencing July 1, 2020, and increase to $35.00 per day commencing July 1, 2021 and thereafter.
  • 2019-S 0325, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), allows the governor to designate any person to solemnize a marriage within the state of Rhode Island on a particular day and within a particular city or town.
  • 2019-S 0479, sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), requires real estate sellers to provide buyers with an annual building energy cost estimate and imposes a duty on sellers to conduct real estate condition inspections.
  • 2019-S 0803, sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), establishes special economic development districts.
The committee will also hear testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0235, sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), repeals the provision of the general laws declaring prisoners serving a life sentence civilly dead.
  • 2019-S 0230, sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), provides that only those juveniles over the age of 14 be required to register as sex offenders and that the offense be comparable or more severe than those defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2241.
  • 2019-S 0880, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), prohibits the practice of importing a wild animal into the state, which animal is not native or indigenous to the state, for the purpose of conducting canned hunting.
On Thursday, June 6 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House, the committee will consider the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0077, sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), expands drug awareness programs to high schools, directs funding from certain civil fines and mandates establishment of criteria for funding.
  • 2019-S 0345, sponsored by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston), prohibits the inclusion of noncompete agreements in broadcast industry employment contracts that are entered into after January 1, 2020.
  • 2019-S 0365, sponsored by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush 9D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), makes the owner of any vehicle not inspected as required by §§ 31-38-3 or 31-38-4 responsible for any fines or penalties imposed as a result of non-inspection and would prohibit any law enforcement officer from citing the operator of said vehicle.
  • 2019-S 0603, sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), makes amendments providing for additional reporting duties and requirements for persons with knowledge of mistreatment or neglect of elders.
  • 2019-S 0699, sponsored by Senate President Ruggerio, prohibits pet shops from offering for sale cats or dogs that are not obtained from an animal shelter, dog pound or animal rescue. Further prohibits any person from selling, exchanging, trading, bartering or displaying any dog or cat in public.
  • 2019-S 0779, sponsored by Whip Goodwin, provides special protection to public safety canines and horses that are intentionally or maliciously subjected to cruelty, injuries, or death, by increasing the potential criminal and civil penalties for the offenders.

6/3/2019SenSen. Erin Lynch Prata; #151; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703596/3/2019 11:34 AMSystem Account6/3/2019 11:34 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,095
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider legislation that would curtail the use of plastic straws in restaurants.

 The meeting will take place Wednesday, June 5, at the rise of the Senate (about 5 p.m.) in Room 211 on the second floor of the State House.

The committee is scheduled to vote on a bill (2019-S 0202A) introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that would prohibit a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the straw is from a self-service dispenser or the consumer requests such a straw.

The panel will also consider several appointments to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation and the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Council Science and Technical Advisory Board, which requires the advice and consent of the Senate.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture is chaired by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).

6/3/2019SenSen. V. Susan Sosnowski; #111; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoNoApproved3703586/3/2019 11:25 AMSystem Account6/3/2019 11:26 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,094
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Judiciary Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, June 4 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 101 of the State House.  The committee will be considering four pieces of legislation and hearing testimony on other bills.

The committee will be considering the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5023, sponsored by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), expands Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations.
  • 2019-H 5478A, sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), provides that an open and obvious danger or defect is not a complete bar to recovery of damages in personal injury or property damage actions.
  • 2019-H 5489A, sponsored by Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence), allows plaintiffs seeking a domestic abuse protective order in Family Court to include any of their minor children who are not related to the defendant by blood or marriage within the same complaint and restraining order.
  • 2019-H 6112A, sponsored by Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence), requires state departments, agencies to promulgate rules and regulations prior to the first day of the next legislative session after passage with general assembly oversight committees to keep public record of same.
The committee will be hearing testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-H 6090, sponsored by Rep. James B. Jackson (D-Dist. 26, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), changes the name of the Drug Court Magistrate to the "Rhode Island Superior Court Adult Drug/Recovery Court Magistrate” and changes the name of the court to the "Rhode Island Superior Court Adult Drug/Recovery Court".
  • 2019-H 6150, sponsored by Rep. Christopher T. Millea (D-Dist. 16, Cranston), allows a judge to impose blood or urine testing and the use of an ignition interlock system upon persons seeking a conditional hardship license.
  • 2019-H 6164, sponsored by Rep. Robert B. Jacquard (D-Dist. 17, Cranston), allows the presiding justice of the Superior Court, to create a Superior Court Diversion Program.

6/3/2019RepRep. Robert Craven; #189; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703576/3/2019 10:45 AMSystem Account6/3/2019 10:45 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,093
  
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare is scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider several bills, including two from a package of education reform legislation.

The committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday, June 5, at the rise of the House (about 5 p.m.) in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.
The committee will consider the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5008A  — This bill, sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), would require the Commissioner of Education to align statewide academic standards with curriculum and the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System. It would also require the Commissioner to develop curriculum frameworks, which are broad, research-based instructional strategies for educators to help students develop the skills, competencies, and knowledge called for by the statewide standards.
  • 2019-H 6085A — This bill, sponsored by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket), would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a fast-track program to certify new principals.
  • 2019-H 5072 — This bill, sponsored by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), would Prohibits pet shops from offering for sale cats or dogs that are not obtained from an animal shelter, dog pound or animal rescue. Further prohibits any person from selling, exchanging, trading, bartering or displaying any dog or cat in public.
  • 2019-H 5289 — This bill, sponsored by Representative McNamara, would ensure appropriate disability language is used in all job descriptions and statutes.
  • 2019-H 5549 — This bill, sponsored by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), would authorize a pharmacist to prescribe and dispense hormonal contraceptive patches and self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives, provided that the pharmacist has completed a training program approved by the state board of pharmacy.
The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare is chaired by Representative McNamara.

6/3/2019RepRep. Joseph McNamara; #41; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoNoApproved3703566/3/2019 10:42 AMSystem Account6/3/2019 10:44 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,092
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, June 4 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 35 of the State House to consider three bills and hear testimony on several other pieces of legislation.

The committee will be considering the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5794, sponsored by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket), requires the Department of Environmental Management to request proposals, every two years, to solicit procurement of a representative organization to operate the paint stewardship program.
  • 2019-H 6080, sponsored by Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket), allows Woonsocket to assess different tax rates upon motor vehicles and ratable tangible personal property to comply with Motor Vehicle/Trailer Tax Elimination Act.
  • 2019-H 5580, sponsored by Rep. Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence), mandates no new initial licenses for nursing facilities to be issued prior to July 1, 2022. Prior to July 1, 2022, licensing agency not allowed to increase licensed bed capacity.
The committee will be hearing testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5048, sponsored by Rep. Joseph J. Solomon (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), creates a sales tax holiday for the days of August 10, 2019 and August 11, 2019.
  • 2019-H 5566, sponsored by Representative Solomon, expands eligibility for elderly services assistance to persons under age 65 suffering from physician confirmed Alzheimer's disease related dementia with income not to exceed 250% of federal poverty level.
  • 2019-H 5636, sponsored by Representative Solomon, would, through the Office of Management and Budget, implement the Lean Government Initiative and include a mandatory yearly progress report by departments, agencies, boards and commissions.

6/3/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703556/3/2019 10:42 AMSystem Account6/3/2019 10:42 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,091
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is commending Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and the entire House of Representatives for the passage of legislation (2019-H 5171A) which extends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.

Representative O’Brien is a cosponsor of the legislation.

“I thank Representative McEntee, Speaker Mattiello, and my colleagues in the House of Representations for passing this important bill that will bring long-awaited justice to the survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  The stories and testimony that were shared in regards to this legislation were heartbreaking and I am glad that this legislation will ensure justice is delivered to these brave survivors of horrible trauma,” said Representative O’Brien.

The legislation extends the statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse claims to 35 years.  Currently, the statute of limitations is seven years in Rhode Island.

The bill would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years. The legislation would also extend to 35 years the statute of limitations for entities, individuals or organizations which caused or contributed to childhood sexual abuse through negligent supervision, conduct, concealment or other factors that enabled the abuse to occur.

The 35 year statute begins at the age of 18 for the victims.

The bill also enables victims of sex abuse to file suit against perpetrators and non-perpetrators up to seven years from the time a victim discovered or remembered abuse had taken place, such as through therapy as an adult or parent.

The bill has been referred to the Rhode Island Senate for consideration.

5/31/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703545/31/2019 3:42 PMSystem Account5/31/2019 3:42 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,090
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) is praising the passage of legislation (2019-H 5329A), sponsored by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), which would give compensation to innocent people who have spent time behind bars but later released when new evidence shows they were not guilty.

Representative Amore is a cosponsor of the legislation.

“First, I’d like to thank Representative Serpa for her tenacity in getting this bill passed.  It is a sad reality in our state and across the country that innocent people are sent to prison for crimes they did not commit. Because our criminal justice system is not infallible and because there have been significant advances in forensic science, there is a need for this legislation. I think that it is more than fair that the victims of wrongful incarceration be compensated for their unjust imprisonment and that Rhode Island join the thirty other states that already provide compensation for this injustice,” said Representative Amore

Representative Amore has introduced a similar version of the bill the past two legislative sessions.  In 2016, he crafted the bill with students at East Providence High School after the class discussed wrongful imprisonment in the school’s contemporary issues class and the class learned that Rhode Island in one of 17 states that does not compensate the wrongfully imprisoned. 

The bill passed by the House would authorize any person who has been wrongfully sentenced to a term of imprisonment greater than one year to petition the presiding justice of Rhode Island Superior Court for an award of compensation and damages, including attorney’s fees.

Under the legislation, if the court found that the claimant was wrongfully incarcerated, it would grant an award of $50,000 for each year served in a correctional facility. For incarceration of less than a year, the amount would be prorated to 1/365 of $50,000 for every day served.

The award may be expanded to include compensation for any reasonable costs including housing, transportation, subsistence, re-integrative services, and mental and physical health care costs, along with reasonable attorney’s fees.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

5/31/2019RepRep. Gregg Amore; #195; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/65-Amore_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703535/31/2019 2:25 PMSystem Account5/31/2019 2:25 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,087
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin to help reduce staff turnover at nursing homes to improve the quality of care.

The legislation (2019-S 0144), which will now go to the House, directs managed care organizations to consult with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to develop incentives for nursing homes that demonstrate lower direct-care staff turnover.

Numerous studies have shown that high direct-care staff turnover rates at nursing homes correlates with lower quality care and poorer patient health.

“Nursing home workers — who are predominately women — perform a job that is physically and emotionally demanding, for wages that are usually very low. The turnover rate is significant, and it hurts patients because their caregivers must be familiar with their needs. For the sake of patient care and the workers who provide it, we need a system that creates incentives to retain high-quality direct-care workers, not one that lets facilities continue to profit while patient care suffers as a result of high turnover,” said Senator Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence).

A comprehensive 2013 analysis published in the Journal of Nursing Administration using survey data from a nationally representative sample of 1174 nursing homes demonstrated that nursing homes with high CNA turnover had more than triple the odds of resident pain, and approximately double the odds of both pressure ulcers and urinary tract infections.  

In 2014, an analysis of a nationally representative sample of nursing homes concluded that nursing homes with a high rate of licensed nurse turnover had doubled odds of deficiencies in quality of care, which includes deficiencies in medications, nasogastric tube care, nutrition and hydration.

The bill is cosponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).
5/30/2019SenSen. Gayle Goldin; #200; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Goldin-Social_png.jpg3703505/30/2019 2:26 PMSystem Account5/31/2019 1:58 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,089
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Rhode Island Senate yesterday passed legislation to remove a barrier to accessing lifesaving anti-overdose medication. The bill, 2019-S 0799 Sub A as amended, is sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio. It addresses a situation experienced by some individuals who obtained naloxone in Rhode Island, then had trouble getting life insurance. Rhode Island has an “open prescription” for naloxone, meaning any person can obtain the medication at a pharmacy.
 
“We as a state should be encouraging anyone who may come in contact with overdose victims to have NARCAN accessible. That’s the reason we make it available to all,” said President Ruggerio. “Individuals who work in health care, public safety, and other fields may want to have NARCAN easily accessible in case there is a need for it, as might individuals who have a friend or family member struggling with an opioid addiction.”
 
NARCAN and EVZIO are brand names of naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
 
The legislation provides that, if an individual were denied life insurance on the sole basis that he or she had filled a prescription for naloxone, the insurer “shall reopen the application and underwriting process for consideration of coverage and the life insurance company shall be deemed to have provided coverage to the eligible person retroactive to the date of the initial application.”
 
President Ruggerio said, “Filling a prescription for naloxone does not automatically mean an individual is a greater risk to the insurer. No one should be denied life insurance for the sole reason that they carry medication that they could use to save another person’s life. This legislation removes a barrier to accessing this life saving medication.”
 
More than 200 Rhode Islanders have died due to accidental drug overdose in each of the last six years, and more than 300 have died each of the last three years, according to data published by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
 
The legislation now goes to the House of Representatives.

5/31/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; #85; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Ruggerio-Social_png.jpg3703525/31/2019 10:40 AMSystem Account5/31/2019 1:54 PMSystem AccountCompleted
15,086
  
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives will be voting today, May 30 at 4 p.m. in the House chamber on legislation (2019-H 5171A) sponsored by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) which would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years. 

5/30/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Larry Berman
6
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703495/30/2019 11:48 AMSystem Account5/30/2019 11:49 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,085
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell today noted the passing of the Hon. Edward Phillip George Seaga, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, where she grew up.

“Prime Minister Seaga was one of the founding fathers of Jamaica and dedicated his life to ensuring its success. He worked for peace and prosperity, and he loved Jamaica and the Jamaican people with all his heart. He dedicated his entire life to building an enduring future for Jamaica, and left a legacy of a nation with a strong identity,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence).

Seaga, who died yesterday in Miami at age 89, was Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1980 to 1989, and as the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He was born in Massachusetts to Jamaican parents who brought him back with them to the island when he was three months old, but he returned to Massachusetts as a young man to attend Harvard University. Early in his career, he established Jamaica’s most successful record label, setting the stage for the establishment of ska and reggae in the Jamaican pop scene. At the same time, at 29, he became the youngest-ever member of Jamaica’s legislature. He helped frame a new constitution that served the nation as it established independence in 1962 and was elected to its parliament. He was the longest-serving member ever in the country’s history, having served 43 years. He shared a strong relationship with the United States government.

5/29/2019RepRep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell; #233; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703485/29/2019 5:26 PMSystem Account5/29/2019 5:26 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,084
  
STATE HOUSE –  Rep. Lauren H. Carson will hold a constituent meeting Monday, June 17, at 6 p.m. at the Newport Public Library, 300 Spring St., Newport. The meeting is an open-ended conversation with constituents, with a focus on the current legislative session, which will likely be in its final days. All House District 75 residents are welcome. (Visit vote.sos.ri.gov to determine your district and see a list of the elected officials who represent you.)

“Constituent meetings are important to me because they help me gauge the interests of the people I represent, what their concerns are, and what they would like me to advocate for on their behalf. This one is also a good opportunity for me to provide information and answer questions about the bills that are likely to come to a vote in the last weeks of the session,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport).

5/29/2019RepRep. Lauren H. Carson; #224; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/75-carson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703475/29/2019 5:01 PMSystem Account5/29/2019 5:01 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,081
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is praising the passage of legislation (2019-H 5113aa) sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence) to create a statewide animal abuser registry aimed at preventing those with a history of mistreating animals from obtaining other animals.  Representative O’Brien is a cosponsor of the legislation.

“I thank Representative Corvese and the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation which will not only protect our state’s innocent animals, but may also help protect victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes.  This registry will ensure that animal abusers will no longer be able to get their hands on defenseless and innocent animals to harm and it will identify these individuals who have no place owning animals,” said Representative O’Brien.

Under the legislation, which will now go to the Senate, the registry would be maintained by the Attorney General’s office, and would include all animal abusers who are convicted or plead guilty or nolo contendere after the legislation has been enacted. The abuser’s information would be on the registry for 15 years after his or her release from incarceration, or upon conviction if no jail time is served.  Those convicted of a second animal abuse charge would be on the registry for life. All convicted animal abusers would have five days from release or conviction to register and must pay a one-time $125 fee for the administration and maintenance of the online registry.

The legislation requires the registry be made available on the Attorney General’s website, and requires that animal shelters and pet sellers check the registry before allowing the sale or adoption of any animal to confirm that the animal buyer is not on it, or face a fine of up to $1,000.  Any animal abuser who fails to register is subject to a misdemeanor conviction punishable by incarceration of no more than one year and a fine not to exceed more than $1,000. The same punishment applies for abusers on the registry who are caught owning or possessing an animal, with the exception of farm animals for farmers and service animals for people with disabilities.

5/29/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3703445/29/2019 9:05 AMSystem Account5/29/2019 9:05 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,079
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Labor Committee will be meeting on Wednesday to hear two advice and consents to the Governor’s Workforce Board, to consider legislation concerning public employee union representation, and to hear testimony on two bills relating to pay-equity.

On Wednesday, May 29 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in the Senate Lounge of the State House, the committee will consider the reappointment of Katelyn Pisano and the appointment of Maureen Boudreau to the Governor’s Workforce Board.

The committee will also consider legislation (2019-S 0712A) sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) which would clarify the rights and options of government employees who decide not to join their employer's exclusive bargaining unit.

The committee will also hear testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0172, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), requires employers with 100 employees to yearly submit a form to the Department of Labor and Training, which contains information regarding the compensation and hours worked of employees by age, gender, race, ethnicity, job category and occupation title.
  • 2019-S 0509, sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), comprehensively addresses wage discrimination by expanding employee protections and the scope of the remedies available to employees who have experienced wage discrimination.

5/28/2019SenSen. Frank Ciccone; #77; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703425/28/2019 12:48 PMSystem Account5/28/2019 12:48 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,078
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senate Judiciary Committee will be meeting twice this week to vote upon several pieces of legislation, including bills prohibiting 3D printed firearms, addressing protections against domestic abuse and isolation of elders, extending the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, and increasing monitoring requirements and penalties for noncompliance following a hospital conversion.

Today, May 28 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House, the committee will consider the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0084, sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), prohibits the manufacturing, importation, sale, shipment, delivery, possession, or transfer of any firearm that is undetectable by metal detectors commonly used at airports and public buildings including 3D printed firearms as defined herein.
  • 2019-S 0225, sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), expands Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations; and 2019-S 0321, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D – Dist. 1, Providence), allows domestic abuse protective orders to include minor children who are unrelated to the defendants.
  • 2019-S 0323, sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence), permits campaign funds to be used to pay all childcare expenses that are incurred as a direct result of campaign activity.
  • 2019-S 0499, sponsored by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) and known as the Peter Falk Criminal Isolation of Elders Act, would make it felony to isolate an elder or dependent adult.
  • 2019-S 0476, sponsored by Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), expands jurisdiction of the Family Court related to custody or guardianship of immigrant children to include immigrant persons between 18 years and 21 years of age for purposes of abuse and neglect determinations in accordance with federal law.
Additionally, the committee is scheduled to hear and/or consider legislation to prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to execute a nondisclosure agreement or non-disparagement agreement regarding alleged violations of civil rights or criminal conduct as a condition of employment. That legislation, 2019-S 0598, is sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).

On Thursday, May 30 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 313 of the State House, the committee will consider the following bills:
  • 2019-S 0500, sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and introduced in response to the failure of the St. Joseph’s/Fatima pension fund, extends monitoring following a hospital conversion from 3 to 5 years, and doubles penalties for failure to comply with terms of conversion from $1 million to $2 million.
  • 2019-S 0315, sponsored by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), extends statute of limitation for childhood sex abuse claims.
  • 2019-S 0027, sponsored by Senator Lombardi, repeals the current chapter of the general laws regarding immunity for food donors to food banks, and would adopt a new chapter with comprehensive immunity provisions for persons involved in donating food to food banks.
  • 2019-S 0334, sponsored by Senator Coyne, requires that any use of a premises for marijuana cultivation be disclosed in any real estate transaction.
  • 2019-S 0459, sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), updates the language required to be given by police officers when responding to domestic abuse calls.
  • 2019-S 0496, sponsored by Sen. William J. Conley (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), prohibits any questioning of a juvenile who is suspected of delinquent or criminal behavior, unless the parent of guardian of the juvenile is present, or unless an attorney is present or the juvenile and their parents have waived their presence.
  • 2019-S 0789, sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), repeals current state law regarding paternity and replaces it with a more comprehensive parentage act that provides procedures establishing parentage, genetic testing, surrogacy agreements and assisted reproduction.

5/28/2019SenSen. Erin Lynch Prata; #151; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703415/28/2019 11:31 AMSystem Account5/28/2019 11:32 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,077
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will be meeting three times this week to hear testimony on a variety of legislation.

Today, May 28 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 35 of the State House, the committee will hear testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5219, sponsored by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), prohibits the collection of a sales or use tax on that portion of a motor vehicle lease payment representing taxes payable by the lessor on the leased motor vehicle.
  • 2019-H 5372, sponsored by Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), allows Rhode Island personal income taxpayers to deduct from their adjusted gross income all medical and dental expenses as allowed by the Internal Revenue Service.
  • 2019-H 6119, sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), prohibits a third party hosting platform from renting a short-term rental unit unless the unit is registered with the city/town. Allows the city/town to issue orders of compliance or impose fines for unregistered units.
On Wednesday, May 29 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 35 of the State House, the committee will hear testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-H 6069, sponsored by Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence), creates the Rhode Island Marijuana Social Equity Program to provide opportunities to people, who reside in areas determined to be disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement, in gaining access to the marijuana industry.
  • 2019-H 6092, sponsored by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence), creates a new traffic offense, with a fine, for traveling in a bus lane.
  • 2019-H 6105, sponsored by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket), establishes prisoner made goods program that permits director of corrections to contract companies that ship goods out of United States for production and allows inmates to be paid the federal minimum wage to produce in Rhode Island.
  • 2019-H 6106, sponsored by Representative Tobon, establishes the Smokers' Health Assistance Fund by imposing a $0.15 surcharge on cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices.
On Thursday, May 30 at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 35 of the State House, the committee will hear testimony on the following bills:
  • 2019-H 5052, sponsored by Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter), provides for an appropriation of state funds to cities and towns who are members of the Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force (NBMTF) for the maintenance of boats providing services to Narragansett Bay.
  • 2019-H 5959, sponsored by Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls), strips tax exempt status of municipal detention facility corporation; provides corporation ceases 90 days after dissolution vote and city/town council resolution; requires annual municipal approval of lease.
  • 2019-H 6153, sponsored by Representative Tobon, authorizes state and local incremental tax revenues generated in the arts district, the growth center district and the ballpark district in the city of Pawtucket to be allocated to finance improvements in the districts.

5/28/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3703405/28/2019 10:50 AMSystem Account5/28/2019 10:50 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,076
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet twice this week to hear testimony on several bills including tax relief legislation and again to hear new articles in the proposed state budget.

The committee will meet Tuesday, May 28, at the rise of the Senate (about 4:30 p.m.) in Room 211 on the second floor of the State House.

The committee will hear several bills relating to various tax relief efforts and local legislation.

The committee will also meet Thursday, May 30, at the rise of the Senate in Room 211.

The committee will hear testimony on three articles in the proposed state budget: an article relating to multistate litigation efforts, an article relating to the Department of Corrections, and an article relating to a statewide planning program.

The Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).

5/28/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoNoApproved3703395/28/2019 10:43 AMSystem Account5/28/2019 10:45 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
1 - 100Next