Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Attachments
  
  
  
Description
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
Abstract
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
15,365
  
STATE HOUSE — Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston has issued this statement on the passing today of retired Superior Court Presiding Justice Joseph F. Rodgers Jr.:
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Superior Court Presiding Justice Joseph Rodgers.  He was the presiding justice for most of my legal career.  He treated all the attorneys and litigants with utmost respect and dignity and administered the Superior Court with great integrity.  Justice Rodgers had an extremely successful political and judicial career.  He was almost bigger than life and beloved by all.  My thoughts and prayers are with his wonderful family at this difficult time.”

12/6/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Larry Berman
6
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37063212/6/2019 2:57 PMSystem Account12/6/2019 2:58 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,364
  
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) placed second in a charity blackjack tournament at Twin River on Thursday, winning $7,500 for Volunteers of Warwick Schools (VOWS).

Twin River Casino Hotel held its seventh annual Holiday Blackjack Tournament for Charity, donating a total of $60,000 to the designated charities of those who were invited to play.

“VOWS is a wonderful organization that provides so much help to the Warwick School System, particularly with community outreach,” said Representative Solomon. “I’m glad I was able to secure this money for them in Twin River’s annual holiday charity event.”

Representative Solomon joined a complement of legislators, including Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich), Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), Sen. Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield), Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Bristol, Tiverton, Warren), Sen. Frank S. Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston), Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket), Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) and Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).

Each player received $1,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. Leader McCaffrey came in fifth and received $2,500 for the Rhode Island Academic Decathlon. The money went to the following: Speaker Mattiello, Cranston Animal Shelter; president Ruggerio, Saint Edward Food and Wellness Center; Leader Shekarchi, Friends of the Warwick Animal Shelter; Whip Goodwin, Mary House Food Pantry and Shelter; Senator Paolino, Alzheimer’s Association; Representative Caldwell, Cultural Organization of the Arts; Senator Crowley, Forand Manor Tenants Association; Representative Diaz, Multi-Service Center for All; Senator Felag, Neverland Children Theatre; Senator Lombardo, Operation Stand Down; Senator Conley, Plan International USA; Senator Lynch-Prata, Special Olympics of Rhode Island; Representative Morin, the Milk Fund; Representative O’Brien, the Veterans of Foreign Wars; Representative Slater, West End Community Center; and Representative Serpa, West Warwick Angels Caring for Animals.

VOWS is a non-profit corporation that was organized by a group of Warwick citizens and incorporated in 1975. As the Warwick Public Schools’ centrally-directed, district-wide school volunteer management system, VOWS recruits, trains and coordinates volunteers for teacher-requested, teacher-supervised educational activities that offer assistance to students.
12/6/2019RepRep. Joseph J. Solomon; #214; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/solomon-blackjack-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37063112/6/2019 11:26 AMSystem Account12/6/2019 11:26 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,363
  
STATE HOUSE – A legislative commission to study potential reform of Rhode Island’s vicious dog laws will meet next week with experts on animal behavior and state vicious-dog laws.

The meeting is scheduled Thursday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

The meeting will include a presentation on understanding aggression in dogs by Katenna Jones of Jones Animal Behavior, as well as a presentation summarizing states’ dangerous-dog laws by Stacey Ober, who performs legislative analysis, community outreach and government relations at the American Kennel Club.

The commission, led by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), is conducting a comprehensive review and is to make recommendations regarding the regulation of vicious dogs and any administrative hearings pertaining to them.
12/5/2019SenSen. Dawn Euer; #244; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37063012/5/2019 3:15 PMSystem Account12/5/2019 3:15 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,362
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carlos Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) is providing the following statement about the recent announcement of the Tidewater Landing project in Pawtucket.

“As the prime sponsor of the TIF legislation in the House, I saw the incredible importance of this bill to Pawtucket and its residents. With the loss of the PawSox, it’s more crucial than ever to redevelop assets that are dormant in our city, particularly in the downtown area. The Tidewater Landing Development will give Pawtucket the crucial economic development needed to revitalize our city without costing taxpayers a dime.  I’d like to thank Speaker Mattiello and the entire House of Representatives for their support of the legislation that paved the way for this wonderful Tidewater Development project announcement and I know everyone is looking forward to seeing the first shovel going into the ground, leading Pawtucket into a new era of economic success and redevelopment.  I am confident that the success of this project will lead to even bigger things for Pawtucket and our state’s economy.  The people of Pawtucket and Rhode Island have waited a long time to see Pawtucket thriving, and we believe that time has come, as we are on the precipice of a Pawtucket that will rival the storied Pawtucket of long ago,” said Representative Tobon.

12/3/2019RepRep. Carlos E. Tobon; #221; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/58-Tobon_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37062912/3/2019 2:29 PMSystem Account12/3/2019 2:29 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,361
  
PAWTUCKET – House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and other state and local leaders today to announce the largest economic development project in Pawtucket’s history, made possible by legislation passed by the General Assembly in June.

Known as Tidewater Landing, the $400 million project proposed by Fortuitous Partners will transform Pawtucket’s waterfront with hundreds of thousands of square feet of new development, including a new professional soccer team that will compete in the United Soccer League Championship — the second division of professional soccer in the United States. 

Public investment, generated through new Pawtucket Tax Increment Financing (TIF) tool authorized by the General Assembly, will be focused on public infrastructure and non-stadium development. The project is expected to add more than $130 million annually to the state’s GDP.

The TIF legislation (2019-H 6153Aaa / 2019-S 0673aa), sponsored by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), authorizes state and local incremental tax revenues, such as sales taxes, generated in the Arts District, the Growth Center District and the Ballpark District in Pawtucket to be used to finance improvements and redevelopment in the districts. 

“When the General Assembly proudly enacted the legislation creating the Pawtucket Tax Increment Financing earlier this year, we were hopeful it would generate such an exciting economic development opportunity as this one,” said Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston). “It has been a collaborative effort between the Pawtucket House delegation of Reps. Mary Messier, Raymond Johnston, Carlos Tobon, Jean-Philippe Barros and Karen Alzate, in working with Mayor Grebien and the Commerce Corporation, to attract this great project which will transform the city’s waterfront. I thank Brett Johnson and Fortuitous Partners for their faith and foresight by investing in Pawtucket’s future and bringing this extensive business and retail development, which will generate thousands of jobs, and the fast-growing sport of professional soccer to our state.”

President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) said, “Pawtucket is the northern gateway for our state, and this project will help the city to revitalize and grow. This is a transformative project not only for Pawtucket but also for our state. I want to commend the entire Pawtucket delegation for sponsoring the legislation that made this possible, and especially the prime sponsor, Sen. Sandra Cano, for her efforts.” 

The project will include expanded waterfront access through a riverwalk park connecting downtown to the currently underutilized riverfront, a new pedestrian bridge, and other key infrastructure upgrades. In addition to a new 7,500-seat multi-use stadium, the selected developer — Fortuitous Partners, an investment firm specializing in sports-anchored mixed-use real estate projects — is expected to include an indoor sports complex, more than 200 units of market-rate and workforce housing, a 200-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of commercial office space and 100,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage and other community space. It is estimated that the full project will create more than 2,500 direct and indirect construction jobs and more than 1,200 direct, ongoing jobs once complete.

“Today is an exciting first step toward a $400 million investment in Pawtucket’s future,” said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “This economic development project will establish a professional soccer team from a leading national league here in Rhode Island, revitalize the waterfront and downtown and create more than 3,500 jobs. Most importantly, it will transform this area into a vibrant hub of activity like we haven’t seen in decades.”

The project is currently focused on the Tidewater and Division Street sites that are owned by National Grid and the city, respectively. The final development sites, phasing, construction costs and schedule for the project will be finalized during an upcoming due diligence period. The goal is for the USL professional soccer team to kick off in its new stadium in time for the 2022 season.  

The project’s developer, Fortuitous Partners, is an investment firm that invests in real estate developments and operating businesses, particularly in sports-anchored, mixed-use real estate projects. Its founder and principal, Brett M. Johnson, is also co-chairman and shareholder of Phoenix Rising Football Club (PRFC) in the USL Championship Division.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the city of Pawtucket, the Blackstone Valley and the state of Rhode Island. This $400 million investment in one of Pawtucket’s opportunity zones will create jobs and will be a transformative economic development at the gateway into our state. It’s a natural expansion from our beautiful Slater Mill National Park to the city’s underutilized riverfront. The Blackstone Valley is prime with development opportunities. The Fortuitous Project along with the Pawtucket/Central Falls commuter rail stop are game changers,” said Mayor Grebien. “The Fortuitous Partners’ vision aligns with what the residents of Pawtucket need and deserve. We thank Gov. Gina Raimondo, Speaker Mattiello, Senate President Ruggerio, the General Assembly, CommerceRI, the City Council, the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency and everyone who assisted in this project that will be a major catalyst for years to come.”

In photo: Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), the sponsors of the TIF legislation that made the Tidewater proposal possible, at the announcement of the proposal.
12/2/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; Rep. Carlos E. Tobon; Sen. Sandra Cano; #120; #85; #221; #245; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Cano-Tobon_jpg.jpgYesApproved
House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien and other state and local leaders today to announce the largest economic development project in Pawtucket’s history, made possible by legislation passed by the General Assembly in June.



YesYesApproved37062812/2/2019 3:50 PMSystem Account12/2/2019 3:50 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,360
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) is releasing the following statement concerning the announced Tidewater Landing Development project,

“Despite recent hardships, Pawtucket has a lot of momentum behind it, and today’s wonderful announcement is proof that Pawtucket is as resilient as ever.  When I sponsored the TIF legislation that enabled today’s announcement to become a reality, I did so because I recognized the potential Pawtucket has to redevelop and rejuvenate key districts within our city for the betterment of all of our residents.  Today’s historic redevelopment announcement is the first step in this mission and I commend all of the stakeholders involved in order to bring this hope into reality.  In particular, I would like to thank my colleagues in the Senate for believing in Pawtucket’s potential and recognizing the need for, and passing, the legislation that made all of this possible.   I have no doubt that the new stadium and a fully developed and thriving riverfront will be an absolute success and these projects will serve as a shining example of what is possible in our ever-changing communities.  Today marks a brand new beginning for the City of Pawtucket and I truly could not be any more pleased and proud of my city,” said Senator Cano.

12/2/2019SenSen. Sandra Cano; #245; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/08-Cano_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37062712/2/2019 1:11 PMSystem Account12/2/2019 1:11 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,359
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Committee on Finance will be meeting on Tuesday, December 3 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 35 of the State House to hear testimony on the status of the state’s budget.  The status update will include the Fiscal Year 2019 closing, the November Revenue and Caseload Conference results, and expenditures through the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

The meeting will be broadcast on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Channel 15 by Cox Communications and Full Channel subscribers, Channel 1013 by Cox HD customers, and Channel 34 by Verizon viewers. It is also live streamed at www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV.

11/29/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37062611/29/2019 10:00 AMSystem Account11/29/2019 10:00 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,358
  
STATE HOUSE — House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and House Republican Leader Blake Filippi today announced that Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC has been awarded the contract for conducting the independent study on the 20-year gaming proposal under consideration by the Rhode Island General Assembly.

Christiansen Capital Advisors will complete the detailed evaluation of the IGT proposal submitted for consideration by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and the assessment of the analyses submitted supporting and disputing the proposal. The fixed contract amount for the study is $147,600, with anticipated additional expenses of $11,500. Christiansen was one of four professional gaming consulting firms that submitted in-depth study proposals for consideration. The proposal review considered content, process, impartiality, timeliness and expertise. Funding for this study is provided through the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS).

“I support the efforts to obtain an independent analysis of the proposal and related issues and I await the results,” said Speaker Mattiello.

“Bringing in third-party experts has become standard practice for governments that contract in this technical field,” said Leader Filippi. “This need is only magnified by the IGT proposal —particularly because competitive bidding has not been used, the proposed contract is for 20 years, and the conflicting testimony between IGT, the Raimondo administration, and Twin River about core elements of the proposed contract. We believe that outside experts will help us secure the best deal for Rhode Island taxpayers. I wish to thank the speaker for his support and open mind in engaging this process. We need to get this right. The future of gaming revenues in the state of Rhode Island is far too important.”

“This examination would not have been possible without the initial offer by Alan Hassenfeld to fund such a study. His concerns with the trajectory of technology in the world of gaming and the length of the proposed contract were duly noted. This detailed study will give us all, legislators and citizens alike, the information we need to make the best decision,” explained Deputy Minority Leader Robert Quattrocchi.

“Our hearings made it evident that we need a critical deep dive into the multitude of complex issues surrounding our gaming contract. Thankfully, we had a number of professional gaming consultants respond to our request for proposals. We wish to thank Spectrum Gaming Group, The Innovation Group and WhiteSand Gaming for their interest and participation in our process,” said Senior Deputy Minority Leader Justin Price. 
11/27/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Rep. Blake Anthony Filippi; Rep. Robert J. Quattrocchi; Rep. Justin Price; #120; #218; #238; #219; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/gaming_slotmachine_jpg.jpgYesApproved
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and House Republican Leader Blake Filippi today announced that Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC has been awarded the contract for conducting the independent study on the 20-year gaming proposal under consideration by the Rhode Island General Assembly.
YesYesApproved37062511/27/2019 1:31 PMSystem Account11/27/2019 2:01 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,357
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Lauren H. Carson is urging her constituents to actively participate in the project to redesign the Claiborne Pell Bridge access ramps, now in the planning stages.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is currently accepting public comments the project’s draft environmental assessment, conducted in in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration.

“This project is probably the single biggest redevelopment projects on Aquidneck Island in the last 50 years. It will significantly change the way people get around Newport and open up land for redevelopment. It will profoundly change the way drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists move around our community. This has an impact on everyone in Newport, so I urge everyone to look at the plans and send the state their thoughts. Now is the time to make your opinion heard,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport).

The project is intended to reduce congestion and backup on the Pell Bridge, which serves as the main point of entry to Newport, bringing drivers on Route 138 across Narragansett Bay from Jamestown into the City. It is also intended to reduce traffic downtown; improve bicycle, pedestrian and public transit opportunities; better connect downtown to the North End for all road users; and spur economic development by creating an “Innovation Hub.” The state hopes to begin construction in spring 2020.

The assessment can be viewed online at www.pellbridge-ea.com, where there is also a link to submit comments electronically. RIDOT requests public comment on the draft environmental assessment be submitted by Dec. 23. Comments can also be submitted by mail to David W. Fish, Administrator of Project Management, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Two Capitol Hill, Providence, RI 02903.

The complete proposal can be viewed in Newport at City Hall, 43 Broadway; the Newport Public Library, 300 Spring Street; and the Florence Gray Center, 1 York St.

“I am particularly urging business leaders to get involved, since changes in traffic patterns have a strong impact on small businesses. Every small business owner knows that changes in traffic, whether it means more or less vehicle traffic, changes in public parking or changes in pedestrian and bicyclist traffic, can affect the number of customers who walk through the door.  It’s critically important to local businesses and the state planners needs to hear from the owners of those businesses about the potential effects of the design,” said Representative Carson. 

11/25/2019RepRep. Lauren H. Carson; #224; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37062411/25/2019 2:37 PMSystem Account11/25/2019 2:38 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,356
  
STATE HOUSE – State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero is hosting constituent meetings focusing on “The Power of Education” in both Middletown and Jamestown in the coming weeks.

The first will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Middletown Public Library, 700 West Main Road. Special guests include Middletown Superintendent Rosemarie Kraeger to provide a local perspective and Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green to share her state perspective. All are welcome to join in on the conversation.

The same forum for constituents will be held in Jamestown at the Jamestown Philomenian Library, 26 North Road, on Monday, Jan. 6, at 6:30 p.m. with Jamestown Superintendent Ken Duva providing the local perspective and Education Commissioner Infante-Green.

All are welcome to ask questions and share in the conversation.  

“I look forward to these lively discussions not only on the current state of education and goals, but also aspirations about how we could transform education for the 21st century. The students of today are the leaders and the employees of tomorrow. The investment we make in them now will make an enormous difference not only to their own personal future, but for the future of our state. Education is a form of economic development, so every Rhode Islander has a stake in public education,” said Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown).
11/25/2019RepRep. Deborah Ruggiero; #145; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/74ruggiero_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37062311/25/2019 2:31 PMSystem Account11/25/2019 2:31 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,355
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Susan Sosnowski called newly announced changes to the proposed wind farms off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts “a positive development” that will better address some of the needs of commercial fishermen and others who work on the water or use it recreationally.

However, she added, the proposals still present some obstacles to local users, and she urged regulators to vigilantly protect the waters’ existing uses.

Senator Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) said that, in particular, changing the orientation of the proposal to align the turbines east to west will accommodate the fishing practices of some commercial fisherman who fish in the area.

“It’s a positive development that the proposal now reflects some of the fishermen’s needs for alignment, as well as the industry’s request for one-nautical-mile spacing that was not in the original plans. While there are still some significant concerns with these proposals, I consider it progress that these adjustments have been made to help protect our fishing industry,” said Senator Sosnowski.

Among her remaining concerns, Senator Sosnowski includes the removal of designated transit lanes through the turbines and the overall size of the projects.

“While I am pleased that these changes have been made in recognition of our valuable fishing industry’s needs, I will continue to advocate for the fishing industry and remain concerned that this proposal still poses considerable risks to the safety and livelihood of our hardworking fishing industry’s workers,” said Senator Sosnowski.

Developers have submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard plans that include the changes for the two proposed wind farms, one for an 84-turbine array off Martha’s Vineyard and the other for 15 turbines in Rhode Island Sound. The proposals are still on hold as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reviews the concerns of the fishing industry.
11/21/2019SenSen. V. Susan Sosnowski; #111; Greg Pare
7
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/37-Sosnowski_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37062211/21/2019 3:38 PMSystem Account11/21/2019 3:38 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,354
  
STATE HOUSE — A special legislative task force charged with making a comprehensive study of the state’s education funding formula will meet today to hear presentations on share ratios for public education costs.

The commission will meet today, Thursday, Nov. 21, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

After opening remarks by the task force chairman, Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), the commission will hear a presentation by Dr. Kenneth K. Wong, director of the Urban Education Policy Program at Brown University, on the history of the development of the share ratio calculation.

The commission will also hear a presentation by Steve Coleman, chief of the Division of Municipal Finance, on what is Municipal Finance’s role in the share ratio calculation.

The task force will also hear a presentation by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The task force will also look at national share ratios.

11/21/2019SenSen. Ryan Pearson; #203; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37062111/21/2019 11:51 AMSystem Account11/21/2019 11:51 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,353
  
STATE HOUSE – A new legislative commission to study the impacts of insurance reimbursement rates on access to health care will meet for the first time Wednesday.

The Special Legislative Commission to Study the Impact of Insurer Payments on Access to Health Care is scheduled to hold its first meeting Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

The commission was created as a result of legislation (2019-S 1038) sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) to explore whether the sufficiency of payments to providers of medical, dental and mental health care may be negatively impacting the ability of Rhode Islanders to access appropriate care in appropriate settings.

The meeting will include opening remarks by Senator Miller, as well as a presentation by Neil Sarkar, interim president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute and founding director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics at Brown University, who is also a member of the new commission. There will also be a roundtable discussion. Public comments will be welcome.

Besides Senator Miller, who will serve as the chairman; and Sarkar; the commission includes Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Little Compton, Tiverton); Sen. Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield); Health Insurance Commissioner Marie Ganim, Health and Human Services Secretary Womazetta Jones; Rhode Island Medical Society President Dr. Peter A. Hollmann or his designee; Dr. David Kroessler, a community-based psychiatrist; Rhode Island Health Center Association President and CEO Jane Hayward; Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council President and CEO Susan A. Storti; Blue Cross Blue Shield of R.I. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matthew Collins or his designee; United Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ana R. Stankovic or her designee; Hospital Association of Rhode Island President Teresa Paiva Weed or her designee; CODAC Behavioral Healthcare President and CEO Linda E. Hurley; Delta Dental President and CEO Joseph R. Perroni or his designee, community-based psychologist Peter M. Oppenheimer and RI Primary Care Physicians Corporation COO Noah Benedict.
11/18/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37062011/18/2019 3:29 PMSystem Account11/18/2019 3:29 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,352
  
STATE HOUSE — A special legislative task force charged with making a comprehensive study of the state’s education funding formula will meet Tuesday to hear presentations on the student success factor, tuitions and prekindergarten investment.

The commission will meet Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

After opening remarks by the task force chairman, Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), the commission will hear a presentation by Dr. Kenneth K. Wong, director of the Urban Education Policy Program at Brown University, on the history of the student success factor, how its funds are used today, and alternative models to address this need.

The commission will also hear a presentation by Tim Ryan and members of the Rhode Island School Superintendents Association, including Bob Mitchell from Cumberland on charter school tuitions, Phil Thornton from Warwick on career and technical education tuitions, Colleen Jermain from Newport on English language learners, and Pat McGee from Woonsocket on Every Student Succeeds Act transportation.

The task force will also hear about the importance of investing in prekindergarten education and models to consider moving forward, as well as public input on the impact of the education funding formula and opportunities moving forward.
11/18/2019SenSen. Ryan Pearson; #203; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37061911/18/2019 1:55 PMSystem Account11/18/2019 1:57 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,351
  
Longtime supporter of cancer-prevention efforts made his successful effort to quit smoking a public crusade in 2019
 
STATE HOUSE – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) honored Representative David A. Bennett today for his longtime support for its initiatives and for going public with his efforts to quit smoking this year.

Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) forged an informal partnership with ACS CAN late last year, seeking the organization’s help to hold him publicly accountable in his effort to finally kick a 40-year addiction that he’d tried many times before to quit. The group’s government relations director, Robert Dulski, who already saw him frequently at the State House, began regularly checking in on the representative’s efforts, at the State House and by phone. ACS CAN started a social media hashtag #WatchBennettQuit. Local media did stories on his effort, providing a window into his very real struggle to kick the habit and hopefully encouraging others who want to improve their health and lives by quitting. The result was that people Representative Bennett knew, as well as people he’d never met, regularly asked him about his progress and encouraged him all year. The social pressure helped, and Representative Bennett has been cigarette-free since January.

He has also been a leader in promoting legislative efforts aimed at reducing Rhode Islanders’ exposure to carcinogens and at increasing their access to high-quality health care.

 “We are honoring Representative Bennett for his continued leadership on cancer issues in the State House. For the last decade, he has been a leading legislative advocate for cancer patients and caregivers,” said Dulski, who presented the award to Representative Bennett. “We also want to recognize how courageous it was for Representative Bennett to make his tobacco-quit journey open to the public. As many know, quitting the use of tobacco products is not easy, and Representative Bennett made himself vulnerable by talking about how difficult it has been to quit over the 40-plus years he has been smoking. His story has inspired others to start their quit journey and reminded his colleagues in the legislature why we must make tobacco control a legislative priority.”

The award was presented today at ACS CAN’s sixth annual Rhode Island Research Breakfast at the Roger Williams Park Casino. The event included a discussion on the groundbreaking strides seen in cancer treatment and care in Rhode Island, and featured a panel of experts who highlighted the impacts of innovation in the health care sector.
 
IN PHOTO: Rep. David Bennett with his award from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
11/15/2019RepRep. David Bennett; #161; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/ASC-CAN-award_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37061811/15/2019 11:04 AMSystem Account11/15/2019 11:04 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,346
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) was honored by Day One with the organization’s Spotlight Award at the third annual Dine for Day One event held on October 24 at the Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket.  Representative McEntee, along with her sister, Dr. Ann Hagan Webb, were honored due to their sponsorship and advocacy for a new law that extends the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims.

“Annie and I were truly honored to be recognized by Day One, an organization that does so much to fight against abuse and help all those who are affected by physical, mental, and sexual abuse.  It has been a long road to seeing ‘Annie’s Bill’ become law and it would not have been possible without the aid of Day One and others who are equally committed to ending childhood sexual abuse.  We thank Day One and all the other advocates who saw the need for this legislation to be passed into law and especially for all the support they offered over the past two legislative sessions,” said Representative McEntee.

Representative McEntee introduced the 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.  Representative McEntee has referred to the legislation as “Annie’s Bill” due to her sister’s advocacy for the bill.

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.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative McEntee, extends the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years. The legislation also extends 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 State of Rhode Island and its municipalities are also included under this provision of the legislation.

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

The bill also includes a “seven year discovery rule” which 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.

Day One is a Rhode Island organization that is specifically organized to deal with issues of sexual assault as a community concern. They provide treatment, intervention, education, advocacy, and prevention services to Rhode Islanders of all ages—from preschool children to elder adults. Additionally, they advocate for public policy initiatives and systemic changes that positively impact how Rhode Island families handle sexual abuse cases.

From the left: Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, Executive Director of Day One Peg Langhammer, and Dr. Ann Hagan Webb at the Dine for Day One event held at the Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket.


11/7/2019RepRep. Carol Hagan McEntee; #226; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/McEntee-Day-One-award-web_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) was honored by Day One with the organization’s Spotlight Award at the third annual Dine for Day One event held on October 24 at the Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket.  Representative McEntee, along with her sister, Dr. Ann Hagan Webb, were honored due to their sponsorship and advocacy for a new law that extends the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims.


NoYesApproved37061311/7/2019 11:11 AMSystem Account11/15/2019 9:50 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,350
  
STATE HOUSE – The special legislative commission to study and make recommendations for encouraging more persons of color to enter education fields will hold its first meeting on Tuesday, November 19 at 3 p.m. in Room 101 of the State House.  The commission was created by the passage of Rep. Karen Alzate’s (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) resolution (2019-H 5553A) in the House of Representatives this year.

“Study after study has 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.

11/15/2019RepRep. Karen Alzate; #255; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/60-Alzate_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37061711/15/2019 9:49 AMSystem Account11/15/2019 9:50 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,349
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Dawn Euer is in Washington, D.C., today as part of a coalition of state lawmakers, local officials and business leaders urging Congress to enact offshore drilling protections in the fiscal year 2020 Interior-Environment funding bill. The delegation from 13 East and West Coast states is highlighting the bipartisan opposition to expanded offshore drilling and exploration, as well as the risks posed to coastal economies.

“The Ocean State’s economy is now and always has been heavily reliant on the health and safety of our shores and the ocean. We have a robust blue collar economy that includes ship building, fishing, sailing, tourism, the Navy and more. The state and our institutions have invested incredible resources on forward-thinking coastal policy initiatives. All of those investments and our economy are put at risk if our coastal waters are opened to offshore drilling. Our energy policy should be directed at identifying clean, renewable energy sources and not short-sighted, risky efforts to disrupt our local economy, our region’s way of life and the world’s oceans by drilling for more fossil fuel that will contribute to the destruction of our atmosphere and health,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).

Senator Euer has been actively working for nearly two years to stop a plan by the Trump administration to expand offshore drilling to nearly 90 percent of federal waters, including those off Rhode Island.

In March 2018, Senator Euer, as well as Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75 Newport), were among over 225 legislators from coastal states who raised their voices in opposition to the Trump Administration’s Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

In 2018, Senator Euer and Representative Carson introduced legislation (2018-S 2116, 2018-H 7250) aimed at limiting any new offshore drilling capabilities off the coast of Rhode Island. Similar legislation was filed in coastal states nationwide.

For decades, Congress has upheld offshore drilling moratoriums through the Interior-Environment funding bill, and the delegation in Washington today is urging them to honor these important protections. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed three amendments to the FY2020 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies funding bill (H.R. 3052) that block the expansion of offshore oil drilling activities in the Atlantic, Pacific and eastern Gulf of Mexico for fiscal year 2020. The House also voted in favor of an amendment that would block funding for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to issue permits for seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean.
11/13/2019SenSen. Dawn Euer; #244; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/13-Euer_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37061611/13/2019 12:15 PMSystem Account11/13/2019 12:15 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,348
  
STATE HOUSE —Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett) has received the prestigious Excellence in Public Service Award from Common Cause Rhode Island, a government watchdog organization.

Introduced by Distinguished Professor of Business Administration Edward M. Mazze of the University of Rhode Island, and former director of Common Cause Rhode Island H. Phillip West, Senator Sheehan accepted the award for leadership in pursuing an open, ethical, accountable and effective government during the 49th annual meeting of Common Cause Rhode Island Monday night at the Renaissance Hotel in Providence.

“Jim has led the charge for making Rhode Island a much better place in terms of setting an ethical code for government,” said Mazze. “He has introduced a lot of legislation that’s been very positive for economic development.”

“I’ve only met a handful of public figures who regularly and consistently try to make genuine reforms,” said West. “During the decades-long battle for separation of powers, Senator Sheehan worked long hours both publicly and behind the scenes to fight centuries of legislative control.”

“It’s a great honor to receive this award from Common Cause, an organization that works hard to make government work better for the people,” said Senator Sheehan. “Democracy is not what we are, it’s what we do. It’s incumbent upon everyone to ensure that this republic survives.”
11/13/2019SenSen. James Sheehan; #90; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/36-Sheehan_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37061511/13/2019 9:04 AMSystem Account11/13/2019 9:05 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,347
  
STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo today ceremonially signed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) that extends veterans’ benefits to gay or transgender members of the armed forces who failed to receive honorable discharges.

The bill (2019-H 5443A, 2019-S 0837) provides a petition process to have a discharge from service recorded as honorable for members of the armed services separated from the service with a general or other than honorable discharge due solely to their sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

“While the military will now upgrade some of those undesirable discharges to ‘honorable’ status as long as there were no instances of misconduct, digging up decades-old records can be difficult and time-consuming — and it often takes years,” explained Representative Vella-Wilkinson, who serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Some of our LGBT vets who served during World War II, Korean or Vietnam wars choose to deny their service rather than answer prying questions.  We don't have the authority to reinstate federal benefits but Rhode Island can certainly take a bold, compassionate step to ensure state and local benefits are afforded to all our deserving patriots.”

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. 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 willprovide a form certifying that the member’s discharge is to be treated as honorable.

“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.
11/8/2019SenRep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson; Sen. Dawn Euer; #235; #244; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/vella-wilkinson-and-euer-web_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Gov. Gina Raimondo today ceremonially signed legislation introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) that extends veterans’ benefits to gay or transgender members of the armed forces who failed to receive honorable discharges.

YesYesApproved37061411/8/2019 1:42 PMSystem Account11/8/2019 1:50 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,345
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is looking forward to reviewing reports from the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and the Community College of Rhode Island on the broader issues of campus policing regarding arming campus police. 

The reports are due back to the House of Representatives by January 7, 2020 and are a result of a House resolution (2019-H 5138A), sponsored by Representative O’Brien, that passed the House this past legislative session.

“Although it is utterly disturbing to acknowledge, active shooter situations are not going away in our society, and most often, targets of these vile crimes are schools.  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.  “I have been encouraged by my discussions with some of the stakeholders and I am eager to see the product of their work to determine if arming our campus police is the appropriate action to take to protect all those who walk on our higher institution’s public campuses.  Total safety of the campuses is my only concern,” concluded Representative O’Brien.

The issues the reports are to include are:
  • Implementation of less than lethal force options;
  • Community engagement of issue;
  • Review and implement best practices to support desired goals and outcomes;
  • Estimate cost to implement electronic employee performance, early intervention and appraisal software systems;
  • Approximate a timeline and costs necessary to implement mandatory and recommended training;
  • Approximate a timeline and costs to review current personnel and job descriptions to align with the desired goals and outcomes of the commission;
  • Approximate a timeline and costs necessary to update record system and property management system; and
  • Approximate a timeline to update and implement the required policies and procedures.
Representative O’Brien has been a long proponent of arming campus police officers at Rhode Island’s public colleges and university.  Currently, the University of Rhode Island is the only public institute of higher education that has armed its campus police officers.  URI instituted this policy in 2015.  Representative O’Brien has also noted that Brown University in Providence, a private institution, also has campus police officers that carry firearms.

11/7/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37061211/7/2019 10:20 AMSystem Account11/7/2019 10:20 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,344
  
STATE HOUSE – The Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island has presented a special award to House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello in honor of several efforts by the House of Representatives in 2019 to improve the lives of seniors.

The coalition pointed to numerous legislative efforts, including the permanent funding of the no-fare bus pass program, funding to implement the independent provider program that provides another option for home care, the allocation of $185,000 for the “Carebreaks” respite program that supports family and volunteer caregivers by allowing them needed time off, and legislation that will ensure that seniors’ caregivers receive needed advice and support as part of the Medicaid homecare assessment process.

The organization presented the award to Speaker Mattiello Nov. 1 at its 12th annual Senior Conference and Expo at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick.

“I am honored to be recognized along with the entire House of Representatives by the Senior Agenda for efforts that we all agree are vital to improving the quality of life for seniors in Rhode Island. I consider the Senior Agenda Coalition a valuable partner in our work at the State House. Its advocacy helps us identify the most important needs of our seniors in the community so we can do our best to put our resources where they will make the greatest difference in their lives. I look forward to continuing to work with the coalition on many more efforts to help seniors live full lives here in our state,” said Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).

IN PHOTO: Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, left, accepts an award from the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, presented by Executive Director Bill Flynn, for the House’s support of several initiatives to improve the life of seniors, given at the Coalition’s Senior Conference and Expo in Warwick on November 1, 2019.


11/4/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/senior-agenda-award_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37061111/4/2019 1:58 PMSystem Account11/4/2019 1:58 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,343
  
STATE HOUSE — A special legislative task force charged with making a comprehensive study of the state’s education funding formula will meet Thursday to hear a presentation on the Basic Education Plan, an overarching set of regulations for the Rhode Island public education system.

The commission will meet Thursday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

After opening remarks by the task force chairman, Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), the commission will hear a presentation by Dr. Kenneth K. Wong, director of the Urban Education Policy Program, and officials from the Rhode Island Department of Education.

The presentation will include an overview of the Basic Education Plan — what is it and how was it created; mapping costs to the Basic Education Plan and how the core instruction amount was determined; how the cost of the core amount has changed over time; and what expenses are considered non-core costs and why they were excluded from the state share.

The task force will also hear public input on the impact of the education funding formula and opportunities moving forward.
11/4/2019SenSen. Ryan Pearson; #203; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37061011/4/2019 9:57 AMSystem Account11/4/2019 9:58 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,342
  
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Oversight is scheduled to meet Wednesday to hear an update on the vendor that provides transportation to the elderly and Medicaid beneficiaries.

The committee will meet Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 5 p.m. in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.

Since Jan. 1, Missouri-based Medical Transportation Management has been responsible for coordinating transportation services for Medicaid beneficiaries and individuals over the age of 60 for non-emergency medical services. The transition has been a rocky one, with almost 1,300 complaints that the service has either been delayed or that drivers never showed up.

The Oversight Committee met twice in February to review hundreds of complaints lodged against the vendor. During the hearings, it was revealed that the company would pay a $1-million penalty and agree to future monetary sanctions until all problems have been resolved. The committee met again in April and May to continue overseeing the improvements.

Most recently, the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers has been investigating the company due to a complaint filed by a taxi company alleging that MTM conspired with taxi operators to operate outside of their authorized territories and charge illegal rates.

The House Oversight Committee is chaired by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).
11/4/2019RepRep. Patricia Serpa; #121; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37060911/4/2019 9:49 AMSystem Account11/4/2019 9:49 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,341
  
STATE HOUSE – Legislation approved by the General Assembly to allow domestic violence protective orders to protect more children in families was ceremonially signed into law by the governor today.

The bill (2019-S 0321A, 2019-H 5489A), sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and House Deputy Majority Whip Christopher R. Blazejewski, will allow domestic violence protective orders sought in Family Court to include any children of the plaintiff who aren’t related to the defendant.

Such protective orders previously covered only the common children of the plaintiff and the defendant. In order to also protect children who are not related to the defendant by blood or marriage, the plaintiff had to get a separate order in District or Superior Court.

“Protective orders are needed swiftly. Victims and potential victims need protection right away, and shouldn’t have to go to two separate courts to get orders to protect their children. All the kids in a family deserve protection, and this bill recognizes that reality,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

The legislation was sought by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“This change gives Family Court the jurisdiction it needs to do its job of protecting children from abuse and violence. It recognizes that families come in many shapes, and that when it comes to protecting kids from violence, there shouldn’t be any question that all the kids in the family are included,” said Representative Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence).

Said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, “Victims of abuse shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to protect their children. When protective orders are needed, they’re needed quickly, and now there’s one less piece of red tape to slow them down. I’m proud to sign this bill today and to help ensure all children are shielded from abuse.” 

10/31/2019SenRep. Christopher Blazejewski; Sen. Maryellen Goodwin; #156; #104; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37060810/31/2019 1:08 PMSystem Account10/31/2019 1:08 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,340
  
STATE HOUSE – A ceremonial signing was held today for new law sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and House Deputy Majority Whip Christopher R. Blazejewski that makes noncompetition agreements unenforceable against hourly and low-wage employees as well as children and college students.

The legislation (2019-S 0698A, 2019-H 6019A) is intended as a way to help employees find other employment when they leave a job.

Noncompetition agreements are meant to place limits on an employee’s activities such as working for a competitor, often for a period of months or years after they have left their job.

Such agreements have a chilling effect on employees’ ability to seek other work in their field.

“Hourly workers, low-wage employees and people who are just starting out should not be hindered from finding a new job when they leave or lose another. They need to keep working. A former employer should not have the right to place any restrictions on them that make it hard for them to land another job, especially in a field where they have experience. Noncompete agreements are one more roadblock that can contribute to keeping poor people poor, and they should not be allowed to be used in that way,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).

The legislation makes such agreements unenforceable against non-salaried employees, employees who make less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level, children under 18 and both undergraduate and graduate students.

“There’s simply no justification for noncompete agreements for employees who are nowhere near the top of the corporate ladder. This legislation will help workers get back to work after job loss and protect them from being unfairly forced to sit on the sidelines without a paycheck when they are ready and willing to work,” said Representative Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence).

The signing was held at the Rudolph Tavares Community Center Gym in Providence.

“Noncompetes that target low-wage workers restrict economic mobility and hamper employees’ ability to negotiate for better working conditions,” said Governor Raimondo. “They run contrary to the belief at the heart of our economic approach: that everyone deserves a fair shot at a good job.  This bill will eliminate a barrier that unfairly hurt Rhode Islanders.”

IN PHOTO: From left, bill sponsors Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin and Gov. Gina M. Raimondo listen as Melissa Sanzaro, executive director of the Providence Housing Authority, welcomes them to the Rudolph Tavares Community Center Gym in Providence, where today’s ceremonial bill signing was held.

10/31/2019RepSen. Maryellen Goodwin; Rep. Christopher Blazejewski; #104; #156; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/191031-bill-signings_jpg.jpgYesApproved
A ceremonial signing was held today for new law sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and House Deputy Majority Whip Christopher R. Blazejewski that makes noncompetition agreements unenforceable against hourly and low-wage employees as well as children and college students.
YesYesApproved37060710/31/2019 1:01 PMSystem Account10/31/2019 1:02 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,339
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) today issued the following statement regarding the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers’ report on the Aquidneck Island gas outage in January:

I appreciate the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers’ (DPUC) work to conduct this investigation and compile this report. I fully agree the DPUC — utilities should not pass the costs of the Aquidneck Island gas outage on to the customers.

It’s important to note that the outage was not simply caused by low supply, but by a combination of three factors — including equipment failure at two separate sites. I think that Aquidneck Island residents can take comfort in knowing the root cause of the outage as we enter into the heating season.

 I think it’s also important that this outage is not used to push for additional interstate pipelines. Instead, there are reasonable recommendations in the report that can be implemented to further reduce the risk of a potential outage. Those include sectionalized gas districts in Newport and creating an outage mapping and tracking process. Anyone who remembers the situation in January knows the issue went from bad to worse. Then everyone had to be shut off from their gas heat before anyone could be brought back online.

Creating a mapping and tracking process could have prevented the situation from snowballing. Sectionalized districts could have allowed heat to be restored sooner in sections of the city at a time.

But, at the end of the day, the report really only focused on how to improve the gas system. Improving this system is clearly necessary given the Aquidneck Island outage, which came on the heels of the Merrimack Valley gas explosion.

We need to also reflect on the bigger policy questions: Should we be doubling down on gas infrastructure? Or should we use this opportunity to push forward on renewable technologies that are more cost-effective and don’t contribute to climate change?

I will be continuing to push for Rhode Island to act on climate —  that means taking a holistic approach to these issues. Working with my Rhode Island Senate colleagues, I hope we can implement some of the policy recommendations outlined in the DPUC report as well as forward thinking energy policies.
10/30/2019SenSen. Dawn Euer; #244; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Sen.-Dawn-Euer_png.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37060610/30/2019 4:18 PMSystem Account10/30/2019 4:18 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,338
  
STATE HOUSE – The Rhode Island Health Center Association this week honored Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller with its John H. Chafee Healthcare Leadership Award. 

The award is given to an individual, group, or organization whose work embodies the spirit of the late Senator John H. Chafee, demonstrating his commitment to strengthening the healthcare safety net and providing true justice and equity in health care for all.

“As chairman and member of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Senator Miller has been a consistent leader in the fight to reform the health care system in our state. A long-time advocate for access to affordable and quality health care for all Rhode Islanders, his presence has helped to shape innovative health care legislation. He is a true leader in mental health care parity, advancing substance abuse treatment, and recognizing adverse conditions that impact health. We are fortunate also to have a legislator who understands the valuable role of community health centers serve in providing access to medical, behavioral and dental care in Rhode Island,” said Jane Hayward, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Center Association.

The association presented the award at its annual meeting, held Monday at the Providence Marriott, when it also released its annual report.
10/30/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Sen.-Joshua-Miller_png.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37060510/30/2019 3:59 PMSystem Account10/30/2019 4:00 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,337
  
State House, Providence, RI – The Center for Freedom and Prosperity today presented Rhode Island House Republican Deputy Whip Sherry Roberts with the J. William Middendorf Pillar of Freedom Award at the Ocean State Freedom Banquet.
 
The J. William Middendorf Freedom Award, named after former Republican United States diplomat, Secretary of the Navy, and current Heritage Foundation board member, is presented to a nominee who has a record of achievement in one or more of the following areas: 1) entrepreneurial or free market business leadership; 2) civic engagement; 3) record of philanthropic giving or charitable organization volunteerism; or 4) to a legislator based on their voting history in preserving individual and constitutional freedoms.
 
The Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s 2019 award is presented to Roberts as a “stalwart defender of conservative values” since her first term in the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 2014.  “Early in her career, Roberts partnered with the Center and earned praise for her defense of the rights of property owners and her passionate advocacy against the RhodeMapRI scheme. Now in her third-term in the General Assembly, she has emerged as one of Rhode Island’s most consistent defenders of freedom – consistently ranking as one of the top voting lawmakers in the state when it comes to protecting our individual and economic freedoms.”
 
In 2019, Roberts was the #1 ranked and highest scoring member in the entire 113-person General Assembly on the Center’s annual Freedom Index and Legislator Scorecard.  In 2018, Roberts was the highest scoring member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
 
“I am truly humbled and honored to be a recipient of this most coveted award,” said Roberts in her remarks at the Freedom Banquet.  “Thank you, Mike Stenhouse and the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, for recognizing my legislative contributions and voting record.  This recognition means the world to me – especially since I had the privilege of working alongside Ambassador Middendorf in retaining the ROTC program at Coventry High School.  Receiving an award named in his honor is truly special.”

“Many hours of hard work goes into researching policies and verifying the impacts hundreds of submitted bills have on taxpayers across Rhode Island --and especially my neighbors and the constituents in my district,” said Roberts. “My voice, and the voices of my legislative colleagues in the Rhode Island House Republican Caucus, are important.  The number of bills we encounter on Smith Hill that erode our liberties is on the rise and we need to be steadfast in our resolve to debate these issues.”

“We offer fact-based rebuttal and common sense solutions to combat the special interests and to counter the knee-jerk legislation submitted year after year,” said Roberts. “It is incumbent on us, as your representatives, to make sure that our government provides efficient services, offers transparency, and that we call out bad legislation when we see it.”

“I want to thank the Center for supporting our efforts with research and data, which help us in our efforts to preserve individual and constitutional freedoms.” 

“I also wish to thank and recognize my co-recipient, Senator Elaine Morgan, for her energy on the Senate side of the General Assembly.  Together, we are working hard on your behalf.”
 
 
IN PHOTO:
 
Mike Stenhouse, CEO Center for Freedom & Prosperity presents 2019 Middendorf Pillar of Freedom Award to Rhode Island House Representative Sherry Roberts.

10/28/2019RepRep. Sherry Roberts; #216; Sue Stenhouse
34
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/roberts-stenhouse_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37060410/28/2019 2:42 PMSystem Account10/28/2019 2:43 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,336
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Finance Committee’s hearings to review legislation authorizing an extension of the state’s lottery contract with IGT Global Solutions Corporation will continue tomorrow. The committee will take public testimony when they meet at 5 p.m. in Room 313 of the State House.

The submission of written testimony is encouraged at the hearing, or at any time through the “Comments” section at www.Senatelotterycontracthearings.com. All written comments and testimony will become part of the hearing record and will be posted on that website.

For those choosing to testify in person at the hearing, the committee asks that comments be kept as succinct as possible and that individuals bring 20 copies of any written testimony to be distributed to the Committee. The sign-in period will commence at 3 p.m. outside the hearing room. Public testimony will be taken in the order of sign-in. The committee asks that individuals do not sign in on behalf of others wishing to testify.

The legislation, 2019-S 1031, was introduced in June in advance of the fall hearings to provide ample opportunity for public review. It is sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin on behalf of Governor Gina Raimondo.
10/28/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoNoApproved37060310/28/2019 2:02 PMSystem Account10/28/2019 2:03 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,335
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Lauren H. Carson and Rep. Terri Cortvriend are partnering with the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce and the Rhode Island Hospitality Association for an educational seminar called “Understanding the Taxes on Tips.”

The seminar, scheduled Thursday, Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Innovate Newport, 513 Broadway, Newport, is free and open to the public. To register, visit newportchamber.com.

The event will feature Sarah Bratko, vice president of advocacy and general counsel at the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, who will discuss the federal taxes levied on set service charges for large parties in the hospitality industry.

“We encourage local members of the restaurant industry to consider joining us for this event. Understanding the ins and outs of tax obligations can help servers know what to expect in their paychecks and plan accordingly. It can also give them valuable information so they can advocate for themselves when necessary,” said Representative Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown).

Said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), “The service industry is a huge part of our economy here in on Aquidneck Island, and so many of our constituents work in that industry and rely on tips for their income. We want to help ensure that they fully understand all their rights and obligations under the law, and we’re grateful to the Hospitality Association and the Chamber of Commerce for hosting this informative event with us.”

10/28/2019RepRep. Terri Cortvriend; Rep. Lauren H. Carson; #258; #224; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37060210/28/2019 12:39 PMSystem Account10/28/2019 12:51 PMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,333
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Finance Committee’s hearings to review legislation authorizing an extension of the state’s lottery contract with IGT Global Solutions Corporation will continue this week. The committee will today and Thursday at 5 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

Today’s hearing will include a review of separate economic analyses conducted by Appleseed, Inc and Dr. Edi Tibaldi of Bryant University, as well as an analysis conducted by the Rhode Island Office of Revenue Analysis at the request of Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).

Officials from IGT Global Solutions are scheduled to testify at today’s hearing as well.

Thursday’s hearing will include an overview by Auditor General Dennis Hoyle of the 2019 audit of the Rhode Island Lottery, and testimony from Twin River Management Group.

Public testimony will be taken at a future hearing (tentatively scheduled for October 29). The public is invited to submit testimony through a special website established to help make materials related to the committee’s review readily accessible to the public. The website, www.SenateLotteryContractHearings.com, also includes video of the hearings.

The legislation, 2019-S 1031, was introduced in June in advance of the fall hearings to provide ample opportunity for public review. It is sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin on behalf of Governor Gina Raimondo.

The Senate Finance Committee is also scheduled to meet jointly with the House Finance Committee on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in Room 35 for a federally required review of Community Service Block Grants. That hearing is unrelated to the lottery contract extension proposal.
10/22/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37060010/22/2019 12:34 PMSystem Account10/22/2019 12:34 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. TraffordCompleted
15,332
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) is offering the following statement following the first meeting of the Senate’s Education Funding Formula task force that was held on October 16.  Senator Cano is a member of the commission.

The special legislative task force is charged with making a comprehensive study of the state’s education funding formula.

“At the task force’s first meeting, we were presented with sobering information on how the current funding formula is not working for many of our children and communities in the state.  In particular, the English language learners of Pawtucket and Woonsocket are being consistently hurt by the current status-quo and this must change.  I am looking forward to continuing the work of the task force to ensure that all the children of Rhode Island are treated fairly in receiving a quality education in our state’s schools,” said Senator Cano.

10/18/2019SenSen. Sandra Cano; #245; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/08-Cano_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37059810/18/2019 2:28 PMSystem Account10/18/2019 2:28 PMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,331
  
State House, Providence – House Minority Leader and House District 36 Representative Blake Filippi has raised serious concerns about National Grid’s lack of storm preparations in Washington County.  

The communities of Westerly, Charlestown and South Kingstown, which Filippi represents, are significantly impacted by widespread power outages due to last night’s strong coastal storm.  Some sections of these communities are projected to be without power for days.

“Once again, many of our residents and businesses are going to be impacted by power outages, possibly for days. The CHARIHO School District, and the Westerly School District, and even classes at URI, have been cancelled. Many businesses are closed. Our elderly and infirmed are without power. It is time for National Grid to restore power to our residents today - and take action so that it is a dependable resource in the future.”

“Perhaps more eye-popping than our electric bills is that we suffer these outages year after year - mostly due to the lack of investment in infrastructure and preemptive tree trimming maintenance by National Grid. The Public Utilities Commission needs to hold National Grid accountable for this lack of a reasonable preparedness and establish proactive measures to make sure we’re protected in the future; and the House Oversight Committee should hold everyone’s feet to the fire,” concluded Filippi. 
10/17/2019RepRep. Blake Anthony Filippi; #218; Sue Stenhouse
34
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/36-Filippi_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37059710/18/2019 11:52 AMSystem Account10/18/2019 11:53 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,330
  
STATE HOUSE – The Revenue & Caseload Estimating Conferences are scheduled Wednesday, October 23 through Friday, November 8.  All meetings are public and will be held in Room 35 on the basement level of the State House.

Twice yearly, in the spring and the fall, the conference principals (the State Budget Officer, Senate Fiscal Advisor and House Fiscal Advisor) must reach a consensus on what the state general revenues and caseload expenses are estimated to be for the current fiscal year and the budget year. The General Assembly and the state budget office use these projections to prepare the budget.

The meeting schedule of the spring estimating conference is:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - Testimony
9:00 A.M. Cash Assistance and Medical Caseloads
Department of Human Services and Executive Office of Health and Human Services
 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – Follow-up Caseload Testimony (if needed) and Economic Overview
9:00 AM         Cash Assistance and Medical Caseloads –
                       Department of Human Services and Executive Office of Health and                                                         Human Services
10:30 A.M.     US and RI Economic Forecasts – IHS Markit
                       Michael Lynch, Economist
                       RI Labor Market Conditions-Department of Labor and Training
                       Donna Murray, Assistance Director, Labor Market Information Unit
                       Consensus Economic Forecast
 
Friday, November 1, 2019 –Testimony
10:30 A.M.     Unclaimed Property - Office of the General Treasurer
                       Historic Structures Tax Credits - Historical Preservation and Heritage                                                       Commission
                       Motion Picture Production Tax Credits - RI Film and Television                                                                 Office
                       Lottery Receipts - Department of Revenue, Division of Lottery
                       Commerce Corporation Tax Credits, Commerce Corporation
 
Monday, November 4, 2019 - Testimony
1:00 P.M.        Tax Collections – Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation
                        Neena Savage, State Tax Administrator
                        Accruals – Accounts and Controls
                        Peter Keenan, State Controller
 
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 – Caseload Estimate
9:00 A.M.       Caseload Estimating Conference
 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – Testimony (if necessary)
1:00 P.M         Tax Collections – Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation
                        Neena Savage, State Tax Administrator
 
Friday, November 8, 2019 – Revenue Estimate
9:00 A.M.       Revenue Estimating Conference

10/18/2019SenRep. Marvin Abney; Sen. William Conley; #199; #202; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37059610/18/2019 11:14 AMSystem Account10/18/2019 11:14 AMNo presence informationAndrew CaruoloCompleted
15,329
  
STATE HOUSE — A special legislative task force charged with making a comprehensive study of the state’s education funding formula will convene its inaugural meeting on Wednesday

The commission will meet Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

After opening remarks by the task force chairman, Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln), the commission will hear an overview of the state’s funding formula, along with the results of an initial evaluation of the formula.

The task force will also hear Public input on the impact of the education funding formula and opportunities moving forward.

10/15/2019SenSen. Ryan Pearson; #203; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37059410/15/2019 11:53 AMSystem Account10/15/2019 11:53 AMNo presence informationMeredyth WhittyCompleted
15,328
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) is praising the announcement that free breakfast and lunches will now be provided for all students of the Providence Public School District.  The program was established in 2017 for all of the city’s elementary students and will now expand to all middle and high school students.  Students will no longer be required to apply for free or reduced lunch in order to participate.

“Today’s announcement is wonderful news because it means the children of the Providence School District will no longer have to fight through hunger and the anxiety of wondering where and when their next meal will come from during the school day.  This will free up their minds to learn and further their educations in school as they should be.  Often, the hot and nutritious meal served at school is the only hot meal these students will have all day, which is why this news is so important to the children of Providence.  Every child deserves a hot and nutritious meal every day and I am grateful that the students of Providence now have this guarantee on a daily basis,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell.

Representative Ranglin-Vassell has long been an advocate for providing free meals to the state’s public school students.  She has previously introduced legislation that would require all public elementary and secondary schools provide a free lunch to all students, no questions asked.

“The science is quite clear, hungry students are incapable of reaching their educational potential and it is up to us to ensure that these conditions do not happen in our state.  This is why I am calling for this program to expand to every student in Rhode Island’s public schools and I intend to once again introduce legislation to accomplish this most-necessary goal,” concluded Representative Ranglin-Vassell.

10/10/2019RepRep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell; #233; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/05-Ranglin-Vassell_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved37059310/10/2019 3:17 PMSystem Account10/10/2019 3:17 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,327
  
State House, Providence, RI – Today, House Republican Finance Committee members called for an independent study on the proposed IGT 20-year contract extension and the competing proposal from Twin River, Camelot, and Intralot.
 
“Given that the presentations by the Raimondo Administration and IGT differ in material aspects from that offered by Twin River, it is imperative that we take an informed and strategic approach to secure the best deal for Rhode Island taxpayers,” said Blake A. Filippi, House Republican Leader. “While we have a talented House Finance Committee and fiscal staff, we are not technology contracting experts, and must seek outside expert help to get this right. We must not gamble with our third largest source of state revenue.”
 
The key disputed issues are:
 
  1. Does the proposed IGT contract include a premium on services as a subsidy to keep 1100 jobs in Rhode Island? The Administration and IGT claim there is no premium on services in the proposed IGT contract, while Twin River pegs the premium at approximately $300 million over the life of the proposed the contract. Similarly, we must also determine whether Twin River’s competing proposal offers market-driven rates, or whether it includes a premium on services for creating jobs.
 
  1. How well do the IGT Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) perform against their competitors on the Lincoln and Tiverton casino floors? IGT testified that their VLTs are modern and largely performing at or above their competitors’ machines on the Lincoln and Tiverton casino floors. Conversely, Twin River claims that the IGT machines are underperforming and largely outdated.
 
  1. Is it in Rhode Island’s best interest to have IGT supply up to 85% of the video lottery terminals (VLTs) on the Lincoln and Tiverton casino floors? The Administration and IGT testified that this is an acceptable provision in the proposed IGT contract, which includes performance metrics to ensure IGT’s VLTs maximize revenue. On the other hand, Twin River contends that state revenues will be hurt if one company controls 85% of the casino floor, because it restricts competition by limiting the state’s ability to assess how the IGT machines are performing against competitors’ VLTs, and to then have the ability to remove underperforming machines.
 
  1. Is 20-years an appropriate length of time for this type of technology contract? The Administration and IGT testified that this term is comparable to lottery contracts in other states and that Rhode Island is protected in the event of rapidly changing technology. Twin River testified that a 20-year contract is outside the norm and that the state would be disadvantaged by a long technology commitment, and has instead countered with a 12-year proposal.
 
  1. What is the ultimate cost to the state from the competing proposals and how do they compare to other state’s gaming contracts? The Administration and IGT assert that the proposed $1 billion 20-year IGT contract extension reflects market rates for services. Twin River contends that the proposed IGT contract uses inflated pricing, and claims their proposal will result in less than $500 million in costs to the state over 12 years.
 
  1. Can Twin River, Camelot and Intralot provide the services necessary to effectively and efficiently operate our lottery and VLT systems? It is indisputable that IGT has the technology know-how to operate these specialized systems. The Administration and IGT have questioned whether Twin River and their partners can similarly perform.
 
“Our hearings made it evident that we need a critical deep dive into the multitude of complex issues surrounding our gaming contract. Thankfully, former Hasbro CEO Alan Hassenfeld has offered to finance an independent analysis of the proposed IGT contract and we believe the General Assembly should take him up on his offer. We also believe this study should include a critical analysis of Twin River’s competing proposal and how it stacks up against IGT’s. Hassenfeld is uniquely positioned in the world of technology, gaming and marketing, and has urged the state to exercise caution with its gaming contracts. Since the current contract is not up until 2023, we have plenty of time to get this right,” said Senior Deputy Minority Leader Justin Price. 
 
“With Hassenfeld's offer to finance this much needed analysis, we have nothing to lose and much insight to gain from his examination on behalf of Rhode Island taxpayers. We need to confirm that our gaming contracts maximize value for taxpayers. This study would give us all, legislators and citizens alike, a better handle on the best course of action,” explained Deputy Minority Leader Robert Quattrocchi.
 
“We have learned much over the past few weeks,” said Leader Filippi, “but perhaps most important, we have learned what we do not know. The complexities of this industry require outside expert assistance. We need to get this right. The future of gaming revenues is far too important to rush through when there is such conflicting testimony from the Administration, IGT and Twin River.”
 

10/9/2019RepRep. Blake Anthony Filippi; Rep. Justin Price; Rep. Robert J. Quattrocchi; #218; #219; #238; Sue Stenhouse
34
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/casino_jpg.jpgYesApproved
House Republican Finance Committee members called for an independent study on the proposed IGT 20-year contract extension and the competing proposal from Twin River, Camelot, and Intralot.



YesYesApproved37059210/9/2019 10:44 AMSystem Account10/9/2019 10:44 AMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,326
  
STATE HOUSE – A new legislative commission to study potential reform of Rhode Island’s vicious dog laws will meet for the first time Thursday.

The meeting is scheduled Thursday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Room 313 on the third floor of the State House.

According to the legislation that created it, the special legislative commission’s purpose is to “conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding the regulation of vicious dogs and any administrative hearings pertaining to them.”

Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals President Joe Warzycha is on the agenda to provide an overview of the vicious dog hearing process and a summary of pertinent statutes.

10/8/2019SenSen. Dawn Euer; #244; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37059110/8/2019 3:51 PMSystem Account10/8/2019 3:52 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,325
  
STATE HOUSE — The Rhode Island Lottery paid $397.3 million to the State’s General Fund for the year ended June 30, 2019, an increase of $32.3 million over the prior year, as reported in the Lottery’s audited financial statements.  The amount paid to the General Fund represents the Lottery’s net income after payment of prize awards, commissions, and operating expenses. 

The Lottery’s financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019 and the Independent Auditor’s Report thereon are included in a report issued by Auditor General Dennis E. Hoyle and released today by the Joint Committee on Legislative Services.  The auditors concluded that the Lottery’s financial statements were fairly presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. 

The Lottery’s gross profit from gaming operations before operating expenses totaled $408.4 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.  Video lottery accounted for $314.5 million or 77.0% of total gross profit. 

Net video lottery revenue increased approximately 8.6% compared to the prior year.  On-line revenue increased 0.4% and Instant Ticket revenue increased 4.3% over prior year amounts.  The Lottery’s operating expenses totaled approximately $11.7 million for the year ended June 30, 2019.

Net revenue from table games totaled $163.4 million for the year ended June 30, 2019.  After commissions paid to Twin River and the Towns of Lincoln and Tiverton, and related operating expenses, the State’s share of net table game revenue was $21.9 million.  Net table game revenue increased 12.1% in 2019 due to table games newly offered at Twin River – Tiverton and the implementation of hybrid stadium electronic table gaming. 

Sports Book gaming began during fiscal year 2019 at both Twin River casinos.  Gross profit totaled $3.0 million, after commissions, payouts and marketing expenses.

The Lottery separately disclosed contingencies related to increasing competition from casinos in nearby states and, as a subsequent event, the launch of mobile sports betting in September 2019.   

The Auditor General also issued the Independent Auditor’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting and on Compliance and Other Matters.  The audit found no matters required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards but included four management comments highlighting opportunities to strengthen current information systems security and monitoring, assessing required modifications to the disaster recovery plan for the Lottery’s data center, and enhancing monitoring of sports betting activity.

Link to audit Report:
http://www.oag.ri.gov/reports/LotteryRI2019.pdf

Link to audit Summary:
http://www.oag.ri.gov/reports/LotteryRI2019_Summary.pdf

10/7/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Dennis E. Hoyle, CPA
27
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37059010/7/2019 2:28 PMSystem Account10/7/2019 3:08 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,324
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski and Sen. Ryan W. Pearson are highlighting the inclusion of $300,000 in the FY 2020 state budget for continuing improvements of Diamond Hill Park in Cumberland.

“Diamond Hill Park is a treasured asset to the people of Cumberland and the Blackstone Valley and this appropriation of $300,000 included in the budget will ensure that the park remains a beloved part of the community for many future generations to come,” said Representative Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland).

“Diamond Hill park means so much to the residents of Cumberland and the money included in this year’s budget for its revitalization will continue the park’s improvements so that everyone can enjoy and utilize this important space to the community,” said Senator Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln).

Both Representative Marszalkowski and Senator Pearson were in attendance to hear the public’s input regarding the project at a meeting held on Thursday, October 3, at the Ski Lodge of the park. The meeting was a planned opportunity for a community conversation on seeking input from residents about their vision to improve the park.

Representative Marszalkowski and Senator Pearson have previously worked with the Department of Environmental Management to secure $300,000 in the FY 2019 state budget for the revitalization of Diamond Hill Park.  The funds included in the FY 2020 budget will continue the improvement and revitalization project of Diamond Hill Park.

“We look forward to continuing to be strong partners to the Mayor and the town council as the community brings to life a revitalization of the park. As legislators, we will continue to bring resources home as often as we can and partner with RIDEM, who has been incredibly helpful, led by Director Coit,” concluded Representative Marszalkowski and Senator Pearson.

10/4/2019SenRep. Alex Marszalkowski; Sen. Ryan Pearson; #239; #203; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37058910/4/2019 10:12 AMSystem Account10/4/2019 10:12 AMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,323
  
STATE HOUSE – Representative Carson will co-host her next constituent meeting with the Newport Energy and Environment Commission on Monday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. at the Newport Library in the Program Room.

This special meeting will feature a presentation by Shaun O’Rourke, director of stormwater and resiliency for the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank.  The mission of the bank is to actively support and finance investments in the state’s infrastructure. The Infrastructure Bank does so through a variety of means, including the issuance of bonds, originating loans and making grants, and the engagement with and mobilization of sources of public and private capital. Through its activities, the bank fosters infrastructure improvements that create jobs, promote economic development and enhance the environment.

This regular meeting of the Energy and Environment Commission will include a brief update their mission and initiatives and a brief update from Representative Carson on her work this fall before the presentation by the Infrastructure Bank.

“Resiliency is an issue that deeply affects everyone in Newport, particularly property owners. We are all at risk from the damages of ever more frequent flooding. While I’m always happy to speak with a constituent about any issue that’s on their mind, I’m particularly eager to get people together for a discussion that centers on what we can do to make our community more resilient.  This issue has been one of the major focuses of my work, and the more public conversation we have about resiliency, the better prepared we will be to take proactive steps to protect our community. I look forward to an informative discussion, and invite everyone in District 75 to join us.”
10/2/2019RepRep. Lauren H. Carson; #224; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37058810/2/2019 2:07 PMSystem Account10/2/2019 2:07 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,322
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Louis P. DiPalma will be holding his third annual Cyber Hygiene Event on Wednesday, October 23 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the CCRI Newport Auditorium.  The purpose of the event is to provide the public with an increased awareness of the various cyber exploitations and practical steps to protect one’s self, family, identity, and data from cyberattacks. The event is free and open to the public.

“Cybercrimes and attacks are not only becoming more prevalent in our society, but their complexity and methods are also becoming far more problematic.  This event will allow the public to get firsthand knowledge from experts in the field on how to best protect against such intricate and nefarious cybercrimes and I encourage all to attend,” said Senator DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton).

The event will be hosted by Senator DiPalma, a leading advocate for cyber defense on both the state and federal level. Corporal Brian Macera of the Rhode Island State Police will be leading the presentation on how best to protect one’s self against cybercrimes such as identity theft.

10/2/2019SenSen. Louis DiPalma; #147; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37058710/2/2019 2:02 PMSystem Account10/2/2019 2:02 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,321
  
STATE HOUSE – New consumer protections are expected to be in place next year for the rapidly growing number of Rhode Islanders who participate in state incentives to install and connect residential solar arrays.

Rep. Deborah Ruggiero — a strong proponent of renewable energy who has sponsored laws that helped pave the way for growth in renewable energy in Rhode Island — said she is very pleased with the progress of new consumer disclosure forms developed by the Office of Energy Resources. She proposed legislation (2019-H 5991) early this year asking the Office of Energy Resources to develop greater consumer protection measures for homeowners who invest in solar.

“I’m truly thrilled that Rhode Island’s residential solar programs are booming, and that thousands of homeowners are now benefitting, creating green jobs and reducing our state’s reliance on fossil fuel energy. With such rapid growth of the industry, though, it had become clear that consumers need a little more information about their rights and how the programs are designed to help them. I’m very grateful to the Office of Energy Resources and its staff for this effort to help make it easier for Rhode Islanders to go solar with confidence in their investments,” said Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown).

The Office of Energy Resources has developed consumer disclosure forms for participants in the Renewable Energy Growth program and the Renewable Energy Fund to ensure that consumers are aware of important information such as the expected performance of their system and how much shade will affect it, whether their warrantee is transferable, and their responsibility for costs related to their panels if their roof needs to be replaced during their solar array’s lifetime.

The forms are awaiting final state approvals from the state’s Commerce Corporation and the Public Utilities Commission, and are expected to be in place for the 2020 round of applications to the state’s renewable energy programs.

“When I began working on renewable energy legislation in 2014, there were a dozen companies in Rhode Island that installed solar panels. Today, there are over 52 companies because of the success of these programs. It’s important for consumers have accurate information from the solar companies; this is a big investment for home owners.”
10/1/2019RepRep. Deborah Ruggiero; #145; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved37058610/1/2019 11:11 AMSystem Account10/1/2019 11:12 AMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,320
  
STATE HOUSE – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara to protect student loan borrowers and establish oversight of student loan servicers operating in Rhode Island was ceremonially signed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo today.

“By several measures, student loan debt has increased greatly in the last 10 years,” said Representative McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. “It has surpassed the amount households owe on auto loans, home equity loans and credit cards. This legislation will help to address the crisis by establishing oversight of the student loan process and prohibiting predatory practices.”

Said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), “The heavy burden of student debt is challenging enough for the majority of college graduates. Incompetent, inefficient or even deceitful loan servicers should not be allowed to exacerbate their struggles. Student loan servicers must be held accountable to ensure that they are providing honest, reliable information and services to their borrowers.”

The legislation (2019-S 0737A, 2019-H 5936A), titled the Student Loan Bill of Rights and backed by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Attorney General Peter F. Neronha, sets standards for student loan servicing, both prohibiting predatory behavior and providing best practices for protecting consumers’ rights. It requires that student loan servicers register with the state and allows state regulators to examine servicers’ business practices. Additionally, the legislation allows the Attorney General and Department of Business Regulation to penalize servicers who violate borrower rights and to seek restitution on behalf of borrowers in Rhode Island.

Borrowers in Rhode Island report being double-charged or incorrectly marked as delinquent in payment, with loan servicers taking months, or ever years, to correct mistakes. Additionally, many student loan borrowers eligible for the national “Public Service Loan Forgiveness” program have received incorrect and contradictory information from their loan servicers, leading to improper denials of loan forgiveness.

“We’ve worked hard to reduce the cost of college for Rhode Islanders. We also need to ensure that those who graduate with debt are treated fairly by lenders,” said Governor Raimondo.  “The Student Loan Bill of Rights safeguards students by creating clear, strict, and transparent regulations for loan agencies, and it ensures that loan agencies are held accountable for their actions.”

More than 133,000 Rhode Islanders, including 16,000 senior citizens, have a combined $4.5 billion in student loan debt. Over $470 million of Rhode Islanders’ student loan debt is delinquent.

“There is a growing student debt crisis in the country and in Rhode Island. There are borrowers who do everything right and still fall victim to predatory and deceptive practices by the corporations that service their loans,” said Treasurer Magaziner. “Today, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed our common-sense legislation that will hold servicers accountable and provide an important resource for Rhode Islanders who are paying off student loans.”

Said Attorney General Neronha, “If and when borrowers have issues with their loans or loan servicers, this legislation provides them with a place to go to address those issues. While our primary focus will be on helping Rhode Islanders get the information they need to solve their student loan problems, my office will be ready, on behalf of mistreated borrowers, to investigate and enforce violations of the student loan standards outlined in this bill.”
9/30/2019RepSen. Dawn Euer; Rep. Joseph McNamara; #244; #41; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/stuloan-signing_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara to protect student loan borrowers and establish oversight of student loan servicers operating in Rhode Island has been ceremonially signed by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo.

YesYesApproved3705859/30/2019 4:11 PMSystem Account9/30/2019 4:11 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,319
  
STATE HOUSE — The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled its second hearing to review legislation authorizing an extension of the state’s lottery contract with IGT Global Solutions Corporation. The committee will meet Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 5 p.m. in Room 313 of the State House.

Governor Gina Raimondo will offer comments at the beginning of the hearing. Then members of the Administration will present on the key terms of the proposal and the negotiation process, as well as processes for ensuring compliance with the existing contract and amending the current contract.

Public testimony will be taken at a future hearing (tentatively scheduled for October 29). The public is invited to submit testimony through a special website established to help make materials related to the committee’s review readily accessible to the public. The website, www.SenateLotteryContractHearings.com, also includes video of the hearings.

The legislation (2019-S 1031) was introduced in June in advance of the fall hearings to provide ample opportunity for public review. It is sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin on behalf of Governor Gina Raimondo.

Additional hearings are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22; Thursday, Oct. 24; and Tuesday, Oct. 29.
9/27/2019SenSen. William Conley; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705849/27/2019 1:57 PMSystem Account9/27/2019 1:58 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,318
  
STATE HOUSE — Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln) has been appointed by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) to chair a special task force to study the state’s education funding formula.

It will be charged with making a comprehensive study of the funding formula and report on its findings and recommendations to the Senate at the beginning of the next session in January.

“We want to take a close look at the state’s funding formula to see whether it’s meeting the needs of students, schools and taxpayers,” said Senator Pearson, who introduced the resolution creating the nine-member task force. “All children should have a meaningful education regardless of economic means, and the funding formula should treat all taxpayers equitably. We want to make sure the formula reflects the needs of students, and provides stable and predictable funding while correcting any inequities.”

Also serving on the commission will be Senators Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton), Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), Thomas J. Paolino (R-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield), Gordon E. Rogers (R-Dist. 21, Foster, Scituate, Coventry, West Greenwich), Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) and James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton).

Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, will serve as members ex-officio.

9/24/2019SenSen. Ryan Pearson; #203; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/19-Pearson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705839/24/2019 2:44 PMSystem Account9/24/2019 2:45 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,317
  
STATE HOUSE - Rep.William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is supporting the efforts of the North Providence Historic District Commission to save the E.A. Brayton School from demolition and instead redevelop the former school into a vital part of the community.

“The revitalization of the Centredale section of North Providence is an exciting opportunity for our city and I believe that the redevelopment of the E.A. Brayton School could be a crucial aspect of this effort.  There have been so many success stories in our state of former school buildings transforming from vacant structures to various combinations of public and private use which leads me to fully support the efforts of the North Providence Historic District Commission to not only save this historic building from demolition, but also to think outside of the box to create a community space that will support the neighborhood for generations to come,” said Representative O’Brien.

Representative O’Brien is encouraging all interested parties and developers to submit letters of interest to the North Providence Historic District Commission.  The proposals should be addressed to Ruth Bucci, Chairwoman of the commission, at 50 Intervale Avenue, North Providence, RI 02911.
9/20/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705829/20/2019 12:41 PMSystem Account9/20/2019 12:43 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,316
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Arthur Corvese has secured a legislative grant to help support the Marieville Neighborhood Partnership.

The $3,500 grant, which Representative Corvese recently delivered to the organization, will help the group carry out its mission of obtaining and maintaining open space and supporting the community.

“The Marieville Neighborhood Partnership is a wonderful example of residents working together to improve the neighborhood and build a stronger community in our town. There’s so much energy and commitment in this new organization, and I’m proud to support them in their very positive efforts to create places in North Providence where residents can work, play or relax together,” said Representative Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence).

North Providence Town Council Members Ken Amoriggi and Stefano Famiglietti, who both helped start the Marieville Neighborhood Partnership, said they are excited about what the new group can do for the neighborhood and all of North Providence.

“It’s been a goal and a dream of ours for some time to bring the community together. This grant will help us grow as an organization. Ultimately, we would like to see the community group grow into a town-wide entity, or inspire others to come together and create their own community groups,” said Councilman Amoriggi, who serves as president of the partnership.

Councilman Famiglietti, who serves on the partnership’s Board of Directors, said, “It’s a very energetic group of people. What I’m hopeful for is, as we spread through Marieville and stretch the boundaries, that other people will be willing to join in the idea and help the community as well.”
9/19/2019RepRep. Arthur Corvese; #11; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705819/19/2019 10:52 AMSystem Account9/19/2019 10:52 AMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,315
  
STATE HOUSE – Many Rhode Islanders will experience relief from rising insurance rates next year, due in part to legislation sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ruggiero.

The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner recently approved rates for 2020, and thanks to the upcoming establishment of a statewide reinsurance program created through the legislation, the rates represent more than $15.5 million in cuts to the rate increases sought by insurers.

In many cases, those who purchase their health insurance on the individual market will actually see a decrease in their premiums.

The reinsurance program, approved by the General Assembly in 2018 and included in this year’s budget bill, is designed to pay for some of the most expensive insurance claims, resulting in lower premiums for consumers. This year during the rate review process insurers were asked to submit rates with reinsurance, and without. Without the reinsurance program, average individual rates would have increased by up to 7 percent over 2019 rates. With the reinsurance program, many Rhode Islanders on the individual market will be paying less in premiums in 2020 than they did in 2019.

“I’m proud to be a part of developing innovative solutions to address the soaring costs of insurance. Ultimately, this is about saving Rhode Islanders money — particularly small-business owners who are often in the individual market — and doing everything we can do to control the soaring costs of insurance premiums,” said Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown).
9/19/2019RepRep. Deborah Ruggiero; #145; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705809/19/2019 10:49 AMSystem Account9/19/2019 10:49 AMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,314
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Arthur Corvese and Rep. William W. O’Brien have secured $10,000 to help assist with the creation of a new K-9 unit for the North Providence Police Department.
The legislative grant will help ensure that the new unit will be fully supported through grants rather than through the town budget.

“North Providence has not had a K-9 unit in years, and bringing it back will be a terrific public service that improves public safety and community relations for the police department. Representative O’Brien and I are very proud to be able to play a part in supporting this very positive development, particularly since it helps ensure that it won’t impact the town’s finances. We are looking forward to a successful partnership that will enhance our community,” said Representative Corvese.

In July, the police department was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation to establish a K-9 unit that will help with patrolling, tracking suspects or missing persons, detecting illegal substances, and controlling suspects if necessary. That grant funded the purchase of the dog, training, kennel construction and other costs like retrofitting a cruiser as a K-9 vehicle. The dog, a 16-month-old Czechoslovakian Malinois named Dusko, arrived in North Providence in late July, and is in training this month with his human partner, Patrolman Jeffrey Galligan, a 20-year veteran of the force and an animal lover who helped advocate for the creation of the K-9 unit.

The legislative grant will help with other costs, such as overtime when the unit is called into service outside of scheduled hours.

Dusko will also contribute to the department’s community policing efforts.

“Besides the valuable technical assistance a K-9 unit can provide, having a dog on the force is very helpful for connecting with the community. People smile and kids get excited when they see animals assisting officers. It helps people relate with the police department and helps build trust with community members,” said Representative O’Brien.

Said Police Chief Col. David Tikoian, “On behalf of the sworn and civilian members of the North Providence Police Department, I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Representatives Arthur Corvese and William O’Brian as well as Speaker Nicholas Mattiello for their support of the North Providence Police K-9 Unit. The $10,000 legislative grant secured by these gentlemen will augment the $25,000 Stanton Foundation Grant to help defray the costs of overtime, training, equipment and medical expenses for our reinstituted K-9 Unit. From my perspective, the establishment of a K-9 Unit is a win-win for the department and the town, affording our police officers yet another tool to keep the community safe.  I would also like to acknowledge Mayor/Public Safety Director Charles Lombardi for his support of the reinstitution of this valuable unit.”

IN PHOTO: Representatives William W. O’Brien and Arthur Corvese present a $10,000 legislative grant to the North Providence Police Department to support the new K-9 unit. From left, Lt. Michael Scaramuzzo; Patrolman Jeffrey Galligan and his new K-9 partner, Dusko; Representative O’Brien, Police Chief Col. David Tikoian; Representative Corvese; and Lt. Michael Tavarozzi.

9/18/2019RepRep. Arthur Corvese; Rep. William O'Brien; #11; #193; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/NPPD-K9-grant_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705799/18/2019 3:47 PMSystem Account9/18/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,313
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled its first hearing to review legislation authorizing an extension of the state’s lottery contract with IGT Global Solutions Corporation. The committee will meet Thursday, September 19 at 5 p.m. in Room 313 of the State House.
 
The hearing will include an overview by the Senate staff and the Division of Purchases on state purchasing procedures. The Division of Lottery will present background on the state lottery system, and the Senate staff and members of the Administration will provide a review of the original authorizing legislation and Master Agreement.
 
Public testimony will be taken at a future hearing, and the public is invited to submit testimony through a special website established to help make materials related to the committee’s review readily accessible to the public. The website, www.SenateLotteryContractHearings.com, also will include video of the hearings.
 
The legislation, 2019-S 1031, was introduced in June in advance of the fall hearings to provide ample time for public review. It is sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin on behalf of Governor Gina Raimondo.
 
Subsequent hearings are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 1; Tuesday, October 15; Tuesday, October 22; and Thursday, October 24.

9/18/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; Sen. William Conley; #85; #202; Greg Pare
7
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705789/18/2019 11:01 AMSystem Account9/18/2019 11:01 AMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,312
  
STATE HOUSE – The House Finance Committee will be meeting on September 24 and October 3 to hear testimony on the proposed contract extension for IGT.

On September 24 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 35 of the State House, the committee will receive a House Fiscal overview of the proposed deal and will also hear testimony from the governor’s administration concerning the contract extension.

On October 3 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 35 of the State House, the committee will hear testimony from IGT regarding the proposal.  Public testimony will only be accepted during this meeting.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement (2019-H 6266), IGT will be responsible for a $25 million payment to the State, $150 million in capital investments over the next 20 years, and at least 1,100 permanent jobs in Rhode Island.

9/17/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705779/17/2019 2:14 PMSystem Account9/17/2019 2:14 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,223
  
STATE HOUSE — Included in the state budget (2019-H 5151Aaa) passed by the General Assembly is legislation introduced by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) and Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) that would create the Rhode Island Small Business Development Fund.

“We’ve seen small businesses leave the state just when they’re on the verge of growth; not because they don’t want to stay, but because they simply cannot acquire the capital they need to stay here,” said Representative Solomon. “This is an effective way to provide these small businesses with capital that will continue to stimulate Rhode Island’s economy and keep our skilled workforce employed in well-paying jobs.”

The fund is designed to encourage the formation of private capital investment in small business by federally licensed investment companies.

“This gives smaller businesses the access to capital that they need to grow,” said Senator Conley, who serves as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “It provides for the flow of capital investment into small businesses identified as critical to our state’s future and creates jobs. In fact, an impact assessment demonstrates that for every 100 jobs created in the targeted industries, another 113 indirect and individual jobs are created.  Further, every 100 jobs created or retained in the targeted sectors will support nearly $21 million in Gross State Product (GSP).”

Investments would be designated for targeted growth industries for the state, including clean energy, biomedical innovations, life sciences, information technology, cyber security, defenses maritime, and others would be required to be diversified — no one small business would receive more than $4 million or 20 percent of a fund’s investment authority and the business must have a strategy for reaching out to and investing in minority business enterprises.
6/28/2019RepSen. William Conley; Rep. Joseph J. Solomon; #202; #214; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3704876/28/2019 10:24 AMSystem Account9/17/2019 9:40 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,311
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) is planning on introducing legislation during the upcoming 2020 General Assembly session that would ban non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette products in order to combat youth usage and emerging health dangers centered around vaping product use.

“It’s undebatable that our country’s youth are using e-cigarettes and vaping devices at crisis levels and that their health is in direct danger from using these products.  It is also not debatable that the allure of many youth to vaping comes from the wide-variety of candy-like and fruit flavors that are being offered with the expressed purpose of hooking a new generation on these dangerous products.  Simply put, these products need to be taken off the shelves for the health and safety of our children,” said Representative Casimiro.

Representative Casimiro’s legislation will be modeled on a recently imposed ban in Michigan, the first state in the country to take such action.

“These devices and products are relatively new in the marketplace and not one expert or doctor knows the potential dangers of using these products, especially in regard to the still-developing bodies of our kids.  Combine this with the deceptive marketing practices that are labeling vaping products as safer than cigarettes, I feel direct legislative action is needed in order to combat this growing public health emergency,” concluded Representative Casimiro.

9/17/2019RepRep. Julie A. Casimiro; #237; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/31-Casimiro_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705769/17/2019 9:32 AMSystem Account9/17/2019 9:32 AMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,310
  
STATE HOUSE – House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) was honored by the Rural Jobs Coalition as the organization’s Legislator of the Year during a NCLS conference held in Nashville last month.

The group honored Chairman Abney for his leadership in passing Economic Opportunity Zone legislation in Rhode Island.

“It was an incredible honor to be recognized with this award.  I believe economic opportunity zones have the ability to transform Rhode Island in positive and sustainable ways and I am eager for the communities of our state to take advantage of this program to ensure future success,” said Representative Abney.

The Rural Jobs Coalition’s Legislator of the Year award was born as a way to celebrate legislators who demonstrate tremendous vision for and support of their communities and the local small businesses located in the many areas of the country that are under served by traditional sources of investment capital.

Representative Abney was selected due his strong leadership in helping to grow small businesses and create new jobs in Rhode Island by providing greater economic opportunity and the ability to keep those who want to reside, work and raise a family in Rhode Island within the state. 

The Opportunity Zones program is a new economic development tool for designated Rhode Island communities to attract private equity investment in businesses and real estate. This federal program provides a tax incentive for private investors to direct capital gains into equity investments in qualified projects within designated Opportunity Zones. The incentive is designed to encourage long-term investment - with certain tax benefits kicking in only after maintaining the investment for at least ten years.

Rhode Island Opportunity Zones are located in twenty-five census tracts spread across the following fifteen municipalities: Bristol, Central Falls, Cranston, Cumberland, East Providence, Narragansett, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, Warren, West Warwick, Westerly, and Woonsocket. Opportunity Zones in Rhode Island have the potential to attract private investment for business expansion, startup creation, and real estate development; promote synergy with state and local efforts; and support the needs of local communities.
9/13/2019RepRep. Marvin Abney; #199; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/73-abney_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705759/13/2019 2:21 PMSystem Account9/13/2019 2:22 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,309
  
STATE HOUSE – Senate Health and Human Services Chairman Joshua Miller was honored today by Department of Health officials for his longtime leadership on public health issues.

“For many years, Senator Miller has devoted his energies to assuring that Rhode Islanders have access to safe, affordable healthcare and to qualified, capable providers. As Chair of the Rhode Island Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Senator Miller has worked hard to make sure that his colleagues understand the public health implications of legislation before the committee,” said Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. “Senator Miller is the epitome of what an engaged legislative champion of public health should be, and we are extremely proud to have him as a partner and recognize him today.”

Chairman Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) has served on the Health and Human Services Committee since he joined the Senate in 2007, and became its chairman in 2013. Senator Miller has been involved in legislative efforts to make health insurance more affordable to ratepayers and employers. He has sponsored far-reaching legislation to control health care costs, increase transparency and improve quality. Senator Miller was a driving force behind enactment of legislation providing parity in coverage of mental health and substance use disorders. He championed a package of legislation addressing the mental health system, aimed at improving preventative services and treatment, as well as a comprehensive package of legislation addressing the opioid overdose crisis. He also has served as a member of the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. This year he sponsored legislation aimed at giving the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline the power to fine providers who overprescribe, as well as several successful measures sought by the Department of Health.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the Department of Health, which has always been an ally in the effort to make public health better, more accessible and more affordable for all Rhode Islanders. I look forward to continuing to work with leaders at the department, because health is always a priority for our state,” said Chairman Miller.

IN PHOTO: Sen. Joshua Miller, center, with Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, left, and Deputy Director Ana Novais.
 
9/11/2019SenSen. Joshua Miller; #118; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Miller-DOH-award_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705749/11/2019 4:24 PMSystem Account9/11/2019 4:25 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,308
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) is planning to introduce legislation during the upcoming General Assembly session in January to require public schools to conduct a moment of silence for students and staff every September 11th.

“After the New York law was brought to my attention, I thought this policy would also be useful in Rhode Island’s classrooms.  September 11th was one of the most seminal events in our country’s history and as each anniversary of the event goes by, it’s important that we impress the significance of the attack on our students to not only memorialize all that were lost and sacrificed during the attacks, but also to help engage in conversations with students about the impact and history of that terrible day,” said Senator Raptakis.

Senator Raptakis will be basing his proposed legislation on a bill that was recently signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The proposed bill would require a brief moment of silence at the beginning of the school day on every September 11th to inspire dialogue and remembrance of the devastating attacks in 2001.  By passing the law during the next legislative session, the law would be in effect for the twentieth anniversary of the attack in 2021.

9/11/2019SenSen. Leonidas Raptakis; #100; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/33-Raptakis_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705739/11/2019 1:15 PMSystem Account9/11/2019 1:15 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,307
  
STATE HOUSE — In recognition of his efforts to champion public health legislation, Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) was given a legislative leadership award by Department of Health officials.

Representative McNamara has been a longtime supporter of public health initiatives. In 2016, he sponsored the Rhode Island Family Home Visiting Act, establishing the family home visiting program. The same year he also introduced legislation that was part of a comprehensive substance use disorder package which allowed better sharing of data, giving providers the information they need to monitor prescribing practices.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this recognition of my efforts to make Rhode Island a safer and healthier place to live,” said Representative McNamara, who chairs the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. “I look forward to building upon those efforts in the next session to ensure that the public health is always a top priority of the General Assembly.”

This year, he championed the department’s Adult Immunization Registration legislation, which has been signed into law.

“Chairman McNamara is an exemplary leader and has been a longtime supporter of public health initiatives,” said Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Department of Health. “He is one of our most valued partners in ensuring the Department of Health achieves our strategic priorities of addressing the socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health, eliminating health disparities and promoting heath equity, and ensuring access to quality health services for all Rhode Islanders. We are proud to recognize him today as a public health champion.”
9/11/2019RepRep. Joseph McNamara; #41; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/DOH-award-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705729/11/2019 11:19 AMSystem Account9/11/2019 11:19 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,306
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is praising the successful launch of mobile sports betting in Rhode Island.  Mobile sports betting was authorized earlier this year after passing the General Assembly and the governor signing the legislation into law in March.

“The successful launch of mobile sports betting represents an exciting time for Rhode Islanders and those who travel from out of state to place legal sports bets in our casinos.  This product will generate much-needed revenue and I am looking forward to seeing the successful results for all of Rhode Island,” said Representative O’Brien.

The legislation (2019-S 0037A, 2019-H 5241), sponsored by Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), enabled the creation of an app consumers could use to access the sports gaming offerings at Twin River from anyplace within the parameters of the state of Rhode Island. Consumers must initially set up their accounts in person at Twin River, and thereafter can place a wager from anywhere in the state. They must be physically in the state of Rhode Island in order to wager. The system will utilize technology to determine the location of any person placing a wager, and will not accept wagers from outside of the state’s boundaries.

Similar to other states, such as New Jersey, wagering is received upon a server-based gaming system located on the premises of the casinos, and therefore deemed to be placed and accepted at the casino. The State of Rhode Island will continue to receive 51 percent of all winnings from sports wagering, among the highest rates in the country.

9/9/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705719/9/2019 11:39 AMSystem Account9/9/2019 11:40 AMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,305
  
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) and Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) are inviting the public to attend a memorial service at Oakland Beach in Warwick to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“The distance of 18 years has not diminished the sting we still feel from the events of 9/11,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson. “Events such as these serve to bring us closer together as we honor those who fell; and it reminds us of the work we still need to do to combat terrorism around the globe.”

The event will begin at 10:15 a.m. by military veterans.  There will be a call for a moment of silence at 10:28, when the first tower fell. The Rev. Robert Marciano, pastor of St. Kevin Church in Warwick, has agreed to offer the invocation and benediction. After remarks by Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon Sr., there will be a reading of the names, placement of flags; recitation of the 9-11 tribute poem and Taps at the sea wall where the Warwick 9-11 monument is located.

A candlelight vigil will take place on the same day at the same location at sunset. Participants are urged to bring a candle to be lighted at the vigil.
9/9/2019RepRep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson; #235; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/21-Vella-Wilkinson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705709/9/2019 9:18 AMSystem Account9/9/2019 9:18 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,304
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) recently secured and delivered a $6,000 legislative grant for the South County YMCA that was used to purchase a large tent to shelter summer campers from rain and excessive heat.

“When the YMCA contacted me about the need for a large tent to protect its summer campers from the elements, I knew we had to help.   The summer camp serves so many children throughout the summer months and they need to be protected from rain and excessive heat and it was a true pleasure to help out the children and the YMCA,” said Representative McEntee.

The South County YMCA summer camp serves children from the ages of five to 15 throughout the summer months.

Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett), second from the right, delivers a $6,000 legislative grant to the South County YMCA that was used to purchase a tent for children at the summer camp.


9/6/2019RepRep. Carol Hagan McEntee; #226; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/SC-YMCA-Grant-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705699/6/2019 12:18 PMSystem Account9/6/2019 12:18 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,303
  
STATE HOUSE – House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello commended Rhode Island-based CVS Health for marking the fifth anniversary of its decision to stop selling tobacco products with an expansion of its efforts to combat tobacco addiction.

“CVS Health is a true leader in public health. Its decision to remove tobacco products from its shelves five years ago was brave and demonstrated the company’s genuine commitment to the community’s health. That decision has helped push smoking rates down, and CVS has been actively contributing to efforts to create the first tobacco-free generation. Its new efforts double down on the company’s commitment to combatting tobacco use and helping people lead healthier lives. CVS Health’s outstanding corporate citizenship makes me extremely proud that it calls Rhode Island home, and I feel fortunate that our citizens are among those who benefit from its continued efforts to help people quit tobacco,” said Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).

Following its decision in 2014 to remove tobacco products from its stores, CVS launched a $50 million, five-year effort to help create the first tobacco-free generation. Within a year, consumers had purchased 100 million fewer packs of cigarettes, and households that had previously purchased cigarettes exclusively at CVS were 38 percent more likely to have stopped buying them at all.

The company, which is headquartered in Woonsocket, this year created new partnerships and committed $10 million to help combat vaping. The CVS Health Foundation, with partners including Discovery Education and CATCH Global Foundation, is creating an educational curriculum on the dangers of vaping that will be made available to every school district in the United States, with additional resources available to parents at no cost. The company is also planning to expand its tobacco-cessation efforts for Medicaid participants, whose smoking rate is more than double the rate of private insurance enrollees.
9/5/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Larry Berman
6
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705689/5/2019 2:22 PMSystem Account9/5/2019 2:22 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,302
  
STATE HOUSE — Four education reform bills passed by the General Assembly have been ceremonially signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo today at Cranston High School West.

The first law (2019-S 0863B, 2019-H 5008B), introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare, requires the Commissioner of Education to develop statewide academic standards and curriculum frameworks for the core subjects of mathematics, English language arts, and science and technology.

“This law ensures 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.

This act also requires the commissioner to identify at least five examples of high-quality curriculum and materials for each of the core subjects, after which local education agencies would be required to select and implement one for each of the core subjects.

Once they select a high-quality curriculum and materials, the Department of Education will identify an assistance partner from within the department to provide any and all support regarding access to, implementation of, and professional development for the curriculum and materials.

 “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 second law (2019-S 0869A, 2019-H 6085Aaa), sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) and Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket), requires 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.

A third law (2019-S 0865A, 2019-H 6084A) provides for greater school-based management at the school level, expands the duties of principals and school improvement teams, and establishes a new chapter on education accountability which provides for evaluations, assessments, and education review reports on the performance of both school districts and individual schools.

 “This law increases 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 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 law (2019-H 5887B, 2019-S 1036) sponsored by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett) requires licensed elementary level teachers to be proficient in scientific reading instruction.

Scientific 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.

The speakers were joined at the ceremony by Rhode Island Department of Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Cranston Superintendent of Schools Jeannine Nota-Masse.

9/4/2019SenRep. Joseph McNamara; Rep. Gregg Amore; Rep. Jean Philippe Barros; Rep. William O'Brien; Sen. Hanna Gallo; Sen. Ryan Pearson; Sen. Harold Metts; Sen. Bridget G. Valverde; #41; #195; #222; #193; #88; #203; #91; #264; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/educaigton-bill-signing-web_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Four education reform bills passed by the General Assembly have been ceremonially signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo today at Cranston High School West.
YesYesApproved3705679/4/2019 1:50 PMSystem Account9/4/2019 3:21 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,301
  
STATE HOUSE, Providence –  The Senate Finance Committee will host a series of public hearings starting later this month to review the proposed contract extension for IGT Global Solutions Corporation.

Earlier this year, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio introduced Senate Bill 1031 at the request of the Governor to extend IGT Global Solutions Corporation’s lottery contract with the State of Rhode Island.
 
The vetting process for Senate Bill 1031 will include at least five public hearings held at the State House. The first hearing will include an overview of state procurement processes and a review of the current lottery system provider contract. Subsequent hearings will include an analysis of the terms proposed in Senate Bill 1031 and alternative proposals; inquiry into the negotiation and development of proposed contract terms; analysis of economic impact studies on the proposal; and, an overview of best practices and the current landscape related to gaming industry technology provider services. The series will conclude with a hearing dedicated to receiving public testimony. The website www.SenateLotteryContractHearings.com has been created as a way for the public to provide the committee with additional input and make materials available to the public.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, at 5 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hold its first hearing on Senate Bill 1031. Witnesses invited to testify at the hearing will include representatives from the state’s Division of Purchases, Department of Administration, Department of Revenue, Division of Lottery, and IGT Global Solutions.

Subsequent hearings are scheduled for the following dates:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, at 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, at 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, at 5 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, at 5 p.m.

9/3/2019SenSen. Dominick Ruggerio; Sen. William Conley; #85; #202; Greg Pare
7
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/gaming_slotmachine_jpg.jpgYesApproved
The Senate Finance Committee will host a series of public hearings starting later this month to review the proposed contract extension for IGT Global Solutions Corporation. 


YesYesApproved3705669/3/2019 10:16 AMSystem Account9/3/2019 10:17 AMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,300
  
STATE HOUSE — Concerned with efforts by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to take money away from bicycle and pedestrian projects, Senators William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) and Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) have penned a letter to the State Planning Council stating their opposition to the plan. The bipartisan letter is signed by 35 members of the Senate.

At issue is a proposal to cut $37 million appropriated to the Transportation Alternatives Program, which would improve trails, sidewalks, bridges and paths for bicycles and pedestrians. The State Planning Council is scheduled to meet regarding the proposal (Major Amendment No. 19) tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

“Rhode Island should be doing more to enhance our pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure for the sake of our economy, environment, public health and public safety,” reads the letter. “Rhode Island has been working hard to attract and retain businesses. Reducing investments in TAP funding will undermine these efforts. Businesses look to relocate to places which have a variety of transportation options, including safe walking and biking infrastructure. Companies know that their talent pool prefer walking, biking, and public transportation and will consider comprehensive transportation networks when they select office locations.”

The letter also pointed out the need to reduce carbon emissions and the projects’ importance to public safety.

“The pollution emitted by the transportation sector contributes to poor public health outcomes by increasing the rates of asthma, stroke, cancer, and heart disease,” reads the letter. “Infrastructure projects are especially important for public safety. Unfortunately, Rhode Island has suffered numerous high-profile pedestrian and cyclist deaths. This loss of life is tragic and unnecessary.”

The senators reject RIDOT’s argument that money needs to be diverted to other projects.

“Rhode Island road and bridge projects have received an infusion of an additional $358M since February 2019 and there should be no need to access funds intended for transportation alternatives. Cutting TAP funding is unnecessary and short-sighted if we truly want to have a robust and modern transportation system.”

The letter was signed by: Senator Conley, who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Euer, President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio, Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere, Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin, and Senators Stephen R. Archambault, Samuel W. Bell, Sandra Cano, Frank A. Ciccone III, Cynthia A. Coyne, Elizabeth A. Crowley, Louis P. DiPalma, Walter S. Felag Jr., Hanna M. Gallo, Gayle L. Goldin, Valarie J. Lawson, Frank S. Lombardi, Frank Lombardo III, Erin Lynch Prata, Mark P. McKenney, Harold M. Metts, Joshua Miller, Melissa A. Murray, Donna M. Nesselbush, Thomas Paolino, Ryan W. Pearson, Roger A. Picard, Ana Quezada, Leonidas P. Raptakis, Adam J. Satchell, James A. Seveney, James C. Sheehan, V. Susan Sosnowski, and Bridget G. Valverde.

8/28/2019SenSen. William Conley; Sen. Dawn Euer; #202; #244; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705658/28/2019 4:04 PMSystem Account8/28/2019 4:07 PMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,299
  
STATE HOUSE –Rep. Arthur J. Corvese and Rep. William W. O’Brien recently presented a $6,000 legislative grant to the North Providence Little League.

The two North Providence legislators delivered the check at the league’s cookout Aug. 16. The funds will be used to offset the cost of uniforms for children participating in the league, which serves kids from age 4 through 16. This year marked the first year of play for the new town-wide league, which resulted from the combination of the city’s former west and east leagues.

“Little League is a time-honored tradition that brings families together here in North Providence. We are proud to help support this wholesome activity for kids because it does so much to strengthen the sense of community in our town,” said Representative Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence).

Said Representative O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), “We are very happy to be able to contribute to ensuring that Little League remains an accessible and fun opportunity for kids in our community. Little League teaches young kids valuable lessons about the value of practice, sportsmanship and teamwork while also keeping them active and fostering social connections. We congratulate all the players who participated this year and are already looking forward to another successful season next year.”

IN PHOTO: Rep. Arthur J. Corvese, left, and Rep. William W. O’Brien, right, present a $6,000 grant to North Providence Little League President Sal Piccirillo.
                                  

8/28/2019RepRep. Arthur Corvese; Rep. William O'Brien; #11; #193; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/NP-little-league-grant_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705648/28/2019 4:03 PMSystem Account8/28/2019 4:06 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,298
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is calling for the passage of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) proposed Major Amendment #19 to the FFY 2018-2027 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  The proposed amendment to STIP will be voted on this Thursday by the State Planning Council.

The amendment proposes shifting funding from planned bicycle and pedestrian improvements, named the Transportation Alternatives Program, to road and bridge improvement projects.

“Even after the state has implemented the RhodeWorks program to fix our bridges and roads, our state is consistently ranked as having the worst roads and bridges in the country, signaling to us that there is far more work to be done.  I am in full support of expanding and supporting further bicycle and pedestrian projects, but we have to prioritize the most important projects to ensure the well-being of our state.  Safe and dependable roads and bridges is critical not only to the financial health of our state, but also, important quality of life aspects for our residents.  By shifting these funds to our roads and bridges, RIDOT will be able to continue the crucial bridge and road repair projects without the state asking for any more money from the taxpayers.  It is for this reason that I am in full support of Major Amendment #19 and I hope that it is passed at tomorrow’s meeting,” said Representative Canario.

8/28/2019RepRep. Dennis Canario; #197; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/71-Canario_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705638/28/2019 1:37 PMSystem Account8/28/2019 1:37 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,297
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Teresa Tanzi is urging the State Planning Council to reject a proposed amendment to the state’s 10-year transportation spending plans that would slash funding for bicycle and pedestrian traffic improvements.

The council is scheduled to vote on the change, known as Amendment #19, at its meeting Thursday morning.

“Rhode Islanders have been very vocal in their opposition to this shift in our plans for our transportation resources. Of the comments submitted during the public comment period for this amendment, over 200 were opposed to it, and fewer than a dozen were in favor of it. We absolutely should not be back-peddling on efforts to make our state more walkable and bike-friendly,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), who has long been a strong advocate for bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects.

The amendment would cut the Transportation Alternatives Program, which funds bike and pedestrian access projects, by $37 million under the plan, shifting dollars toward fixing roads and bridges. Department of Transportation officials have defended the move by pointing toward the state’s status as having the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the nation.

Representative Tanzi said she recognizes the importance of repairing the state’s crumbling bridges — pointing to the fact that she voted in favor of the administration’s RhodeWorks plan to implement those fixes, even knowing how unpopular the plan was. But the state, which recently received hundreds of millions in federal grant funding for transportation infrastructure improvements, can, in fact, address bicycle and pedestrian projects and roads and bridges at the same time, she said.

“Our State Planning Council is responsible for looking at the big picture, and they must recognize that focusing on only the immediate problems facing our state is how we got into the current mess. We must look at every dollar we spend and see how it can solve two or more problems at once. Investing in wider roads only compounds the issues we, as a coastal state, face with climate change. These investments must serve our state’s long term needs: a healthier environment, coastal resilience, a healthier populace, stronger communities and better infrastructure. Our residents deserve it, our employers demand it, and we should be providing it,” said Representative Tanzi.

“Our current statewide plan should promote opportunities for creating advantages, and we should not go back in time and shift our resources away from the effort to make alternative transportation a more viable option for all Rhode Islanders,” she said. “We must invest in public transit and transportation alternatives if we want to compete with larger cities to attract and maintain an educated and heathy workforce. Passing this amendment foolishly puts the blinders back on, and closes off a real opportunity to use our tax dollars more effectively. We must not allow this to happen.”
8/27/2019RepRep. Teresa Tanzi; #166; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705628/27/2019 3:24 PMSystem Account8/27/2019 3:25 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,296
  
STATE HOUSE – Over the past few legislative sessions, Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has been a constant advocate and protector of animals in Rhode Island.  He has sponsored and cosponsored several animal protection bills that have become law.

“Animals, whether domestic or wild, have no voice and sadly, more often than not, they are defenseless against cruel humans who wish to do them harm.  I am proud of my legislative accomplishments to help and protect animals in Rhode Island and the state has made great strides over the past few years to protect our pets and wildlife from the malicious abuse of these defenseless creatures.  We have moved into the top-five states in the country for animal protection and we are continuing this progress every legislative session.  Anyone who abuses a defenseless animal is a bully and I will continue to fight against animal abuse in all of its forms at the State House,” said Representative O’Brien.

This past legislative session, Representative O’Brien’s legislation (2019-H 5023) which expands Family Court jurisdiction to allow protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations was signed into law by the governor. 

Last legislative session, Representative O’Brien sponsored legislation (2018-H 7986) 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.   The bill was signed into law by Governor Raimondo.

During the 2017 General Assembly session, he sponsored legislation (2017-H 6314Aaa) that speeds up the process of adoption for any animals that are abandoned or impounded.  The bill, which was signed into law by the governor, allows a pound or animal shelter to put an abandoned or impounded animal up for adoption after ten days if the animal has identifying tags or is microchipped.  If the animal does not have any identification, the pound or animal shelter would be allowed to put the animal up for adoption after five days.

In 2016, Representative O’Brien sponsored two animal protection bills that became law in Rhode Island.  The first piece of legislation (2016-H 7317) stiffens the penalties for animal abusers by increasing the punishment of animal abusers from two years to five years of possible imprisonment and from ten hours of community service to fifty hours of community service.  The second piece of legislation (2016-H 7831) sponsored by Representative O’Brien and passed by the General Assembly raises the level of care required for animals being offered for sale and in facilities holding stray animals. The legislation amends the state’s general laws on animal care by adding facilities such as shelters and other facilities other than pet stores that handle, house, and care for domestic animals.  The legislation also clarifies penalties for offending facilities such as being fined $100 for each mistreated animal, forfeiture of the animals, and revocation of licenses.

8/21/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705618/21/2019 4:03 PMSystem Account8/21/2019 4:03 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,295
  
STATE HOUSE - Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Sen. Ana B. Quezada have announced that they will be reintroducing their bill in the next session to make doula services eligible for reimbursement through private insurance and Medicaid programs. 

“While we are disappointed that the doula bill did not pass this year, we are hopeful for the future and look forward to reintroducing the bill next year. Doulas are an incredibly important resource for pregnant women, particularly women of color, whose maternal mortality rate is significantly higher than that of white women” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence). “Ensuring that doula services are covered by insurance will save the lives of women of color, and will ensure that they will be around to watch their children grow up.”

Senator Quezada (Dist. 2, Providence) echoed these sentiments. “There is no question that this bill will save lives and be good for women of color in Rhode Island,” she said, “but it also makes strong economic sense. Women who use doulas often require fewer expensive medical interventions during childbirth, which will save them, the hospitals, and the insurance companies money and make the childbirth process much easier for all involved.”

Doulas are trained healthcare professionals who provide the mother with continuous physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, childbirth and the first few weeks after giving birth. During childbirth, they help make women comfortable by providing breathing techniques, massages and advice, and also help advocate for the woman’s needs that she may not be able to express on her own. Births assisted by doulas also have significantly lower rates of cesarean sections, with one study showing a 39 percent reduction. 

The bill (2019-H 5609, 2019-S 0678aa) aims to achieve healthier outcomes for women and babies during childbirth. In particular, the bill aims to help black women, who experience significantly higher rates of death or injury during childbirth than white women do. The bill passed the Senate and was held for further study in the House. 

Under the bill, services from a trained, qualified doula would be eligible for up to $1,500 in coverage per pregnancy through both private insurance and Medicaid, including the state medical assistance program. Additionally, the bill would set industry standards and create a statewide registry of doulas in order to help women connect with a professional and ensuring that the work of the doula is fairly compensated. 

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world at 23.8 per 100,000 live births in 2014. It is also one of two developed nations (the other being Serbia) that has seen an increase in the maternal mortality rate, which rose 26.6 percent between 2000 and 2014. The rate in Rhode Island was 11.2 per 100,000 live births from 2013 to 2017.

American maternal mortality rates show stark differences based on the mother’s race. For white women, the mortality rate is 12.4 for every 100,000 live births. The maternal mortality rate for black women is more than triple that at 40 per 100,000 live births. 

The two sponsors said that the use of a doula, whose primary focus is on the mother’s wellbeing and comfort, would better ensure that women of color have their needs met during childbirth. 

“Studies have shown that doulas greatly improve health outcomes for women and babies during pregnancy and childbirth. Their assistance can prevent complications and reduce the cesarean and preterm rates. Ultimately, they are a win-win because they make childbirth safer while saving health care dollars,” said Senator Quezada.

Said Representative Ranglin-Vassell, “All women, but particularly women of color, who are three to four times more likely to die due to pregnancy-related reasons than white women, should be encouraged to use a doula during pregnancy and childbirth.” 

8/20/2019RepSen. Ana B. Quezada; Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell; #228; #233; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705608/20/2019 2:16 PMSystem Account8/20/2019 2:16 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,294
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Samuel W. Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) is calling for a performance review of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation management team after the recent announcement that Norwegian Air will be cutting service from the airport after only two years of operation.

“Norwegian Air leaving T.F. Green after only two years of operations raises further questions about the choices made by the Airport Corporation management team.  The Airport Corporation spent more than $2 million to advertise for Norwegian Air, and now those jobs are disappearing after only two years,” said Senator Bell.  “At the time, Hillary Clinton had taken the extraordinary step of calling for not letting this airline operate in our country because of their exceptionally poor labor practices.  I believe that Hillary Clinton was right, and we should have listened to her warnings about this unscrupulous corporation.”

“The Norwegian Airlines debacle follows the collapse of the Dominican Republic route from Sun Country Airlines before a single plane took off from T.F. Green.  Like Norwegian, Sun Country is a controversial airline, and these problems were predictable.  At the time the agreement with T.F. Green began, Sun Country was reeling from an international flight cancelation scandal where hundreds of passengers were stranded in Mexico with no way to return to Minnesota.   The extensive cutting of routes by more reputable airlines like Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines raises yet more questions about the Airport Corporation’s management performance.  Furthermore, financial problems have led to attempts to raise revenue through high fees on ride-sharing corporations like Uber and Lyft, resulting in disruptions to these services and significant inconveniences for many airport visitors.  These problems are serious.  I have significant doubts about the way the Airport Corporation management is operating T.F. Green, and I believe a management performance review is warranted,” continued Senator Bell.

Bell went on to praise the Raimondo administration’s approach to management performance.  “The Raimondo administration has consistently demonstrated a commitment to management performance at agencies, boards, and commissions.  For instance, the actions that this administration took at the Board of Elections, at the Governor’s direction, to appoint reformers and address management performance issues have been essential in reforming and professionalizing our elections management.  I believe that it is time for the Governor’s office to examine the performance of the Airport Corporation management and take the action steps that follow from that review,” said Senator Bell.

“I have neighbors who have lost their jobs, and airport visitors are continuously frustrated, whether by the disruption to ride-sharing services or by highly publicized routes being eliminated shortly after being introduced.  It is evident that T.F. Green is experiencing several problems.  I hope that a review of management performance will help lead to reforms and improved outcomes,” concluded Senator Bell.
8/20/2019SenSen. Samuel W. Bell; #259; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/05-Bell_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705598/20/2019 9:40 AMSystem Account8/20/2019 9:43 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,293
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) is issuing the following statement regarding the incident between protesters and correctional officers last night outside of the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls.

“After reading the news reports and watching video from the scene, I believe that it is deplorable that this incident arose from a peaceful demonstration advocating for the rights and well-being of fellow human beings.  One of the great American rights and ideals is the ability to peacefully express one’s thoughts and feelings in a public setting.  This constitutional right was shattered last night and it is extremely disappointing and troubling,” said Senator Crowley.

“If the correctional officer in question felt threatened, he should have immediately called the Central Falls Police Department to escort him into the parking lot, rather than trying to ram his way through people in a large truck.  Correctional officers at Wyatt have no legal authority on the streets of Central Falls, so the use of pepper spray on protesters is also quite disturbing.  I am pleased that the Central Falls Police, the Attorney General’s office, and the Rhode Island State Police are investigating this needless and potentially dangerous incident so that accountability can be upheld,” concluded Senator Crowley.
8/16/2019SenSen. Elizabeth Crowley; #148; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/16-Crowley_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705588/16/2019 9:14 AMSystem Account8/16/2019 9:15 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,292
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. William W. O’Brien’s legislation (2013-H 6290) from the 2013 General Assembly session that called for dual enrollment programs at Rhode Island schools is proving to still be a success, such as the PTECH academy at North Providence High School, and he is encouraging all students and their families to consider participating in the program during the upcoming school year.

Representative O’Brien’s legislation enables students to enroll at a college or university as non-degree students and have the courses be recognized toward degree completion at both the college and high school level.  Representative O’Brien is a truancy officer in the Providence school system and has seen firsthand the opportunities his legislation has opened up for students.

“The dual education program is continuing to provide opportunities to our high school students and their families and I could not be happier that this law is being effectively used to benefit students at North Providence High School.  Our kids are learning the skills they will need to succeed in the future and their families are saving much needed dollars through this program and I am looking forward to seeing new programs be established from this important and helpful law,” said Representative O’Brien.

The legislation directed the Board of Education to establish a statewide dual enrollment policy, to be adopted by school districts and schools by June 30, 2015.  All school districts, charter schools, career and technical schools, approved private day or residential schools and collaborative schools will be subject to the requirements of the law.

The legislation also directed the Board of Education, in preparing the policy and regulations, to convene a workshop of representatives from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office of Higher Education, school superintendents, school committees, public higher education institutions, guidance counselors and teachers to consider and advise the board on all aspects of a dual enrollment program which will give high school graduates the ability to get an associate’s degree as they graduate high school at no cost, including the manner in which low-income students could access the program and possible contracted tuition costs at institutions of higher learning.

“This legislation gives our students the tools and opportunity to succeed in the future.  It saves thousands of dollars for working class families struggling to afford the price of higher education and it positions Rhode Island for the better with a stronger future workforce.  I am so pleased this program is working and I urge all students and families to take part in its success,” added Representative O’Brien.

8/15/2019RepRep. William O'Brien; #193; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/54-obrien_JPG.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705578/15/2019 2:32 PMSystem Account8/15/2019 2:32 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,291
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Valarie J. Lawson’s (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) legislation (2019-S 0585) which requires road and bridge contractors for the Department of Transportation to furnish a bond equal to at least 50 percent of the contract price on contracts in excess of $150,000 was signed into law by Governor Gina M. Raimondo.

“With the massive investment the state is currently making to fix our roads and bridges, it became necessary to update the laws concerning the work done by contractors of RIDOT on these important public projects.  These changes to the law will not only ensure that these projects are being done correctly and safely, but also, it will allow for taxpayer funds to be used in the most cost-effective manner,” said Senator Lawson.

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.

8/13/2019SenSen. Valarie J. Lawson; #260; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/14-Lawson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
NoYesApproved3705568/13/2019 2:10 PMSystem Account8/13/2019 2:10 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
15,290
  
STATE HOUSE – Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio today delivered a joint letter to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo requesting additional information in advance of public hearings on the proposed 20-year contract extension for International Game Technologies (IGT).

“We are committed to properly vetting this legislation by way of public hearings to determine the appropriateness of forgoing the normal bid process for a contract of this length, scope and magnitude,” they wrote.

The Speaker and Senate President stated that “the General Assembly and the public need an opportunity to review the information and details prior to any legislative hearings being scheduled,” and requested documents be submitted to them by Aug. 30 “so that a well-informed public vetting process can get underway.”

Among some of the documents requested are: a proposed contract or the terms of the agreement in principle as negotiated between the Governor’s office and IGT; detailed information about the 1,000 jobs required in the current contract; underlying data used in a report on the economic impact of the 1,100 jobs and capital investments to be required with the contract extension, along with any consultant, legal or other reports relied upon during the Governor’s negotiations with IGT. 

8/13/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; #120; #85; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/statehouse_smith-street_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello and President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio today delivered a joint letter to Gov. Gina M. Raimondo requesting additional information in advance of public hearings on the proposed 20-year contract extension for International Game Technologies (IGT).
YesYesApproved3705558/13/2019 12:17 PMSystem Account8/13/2019 12:34 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,289
  
STATE HOUSE – Providence Representatives Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Rebecca Kislak today condemned President Donald Trump’s latest effort to restrict immigration — not just for those who immigrate illegally but also those who follow the proper channels — as “immoral, racist and decidedly un-American.”

The Trump administration announced yesterday that it would proceed with implementing aggressive measures to restrict legal immigration: denying green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), housing vouchers or other forms of public assistance.

“As one who benefited from the food stamp program and an immigrant myself, I am appalled by this administration’s policies that target people primarily from South and Central America and the Caribbean,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence). “This president has consistently shown that he is a racist. He needs to understand that food is a basic human right, and wanting to deny people the ability to eat is an evil, immoral and ungodly act of cowardice.”

Federal immigration law already requires those seeking legal status to demonstrate that they will not be a burden on the nation, but does not block applicants who have needed assistance as they are establishing their lives in this country.

The new restrictions will result in greater poverty, poorer health and more insecurity for immigrants who are a part of our society and who are following the rules, working and paying taxes, the two representatives said.

Representative Kislak, (D-Dist. 4, Providence), a former legal services attorney who now works in health policy, submitted comments opposed to the changes during the rulemaking process last year, saying the restrictions are already causing immigrant families in need to go without healthcare, food and housing that they need, causing lasting detriment to those families and the greater community.

“Already, I am hearing stories from constituents, healthcare providers and members of immigrant communities that fear is deterring immigrants from seeking healthcare. These rules would exacerbate real and imagined fear of immigration consequences for individuals simply taking care of themselves and their families,” wrote Representative Kislak in her comments, submitted to the federal government last year. She also pointed out that the rule would increase the number of uninsured people in Rhode Island, resulting in more acute problems being treated in emergency rooms as uncompensated care that increases health care costs for all.

Representative Ranglin-Vassell, a Providence school teacher who emigrated from Jamaica as an adult, said the struggle to establish a new life in this country is enormous. Denying legal status to law-abiding immigrants because they needed any assistance along the way is a ruse to keep out people of color from poor backgrounds who seek to become Americans, she said.

Rhode Island has long been a melting pot of immigrants from all over the world, and the two representatives encouraged all Rhode Islanders to take a stand against racism and federal policies aimed at harming the immigrant community.

“As Rhode Islanders, we will fight to protect our immigrant neighbors who work hard and pay taxes. We will fight to ensure that this kind of hatred and bigotry find no home in our state,” said Representative Ranglin-Vassell.

8/13/2019RepRep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell; Rep. Rebecca M. Kislak; #233; #246; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705548/13/2019 12:04 PMSystem Account8/13/2019 12:04 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,169
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Anastasia P. Williams’ (D-Dist. 9, Providence) legislation (2019-H 5125B) that codifies in state law the privacy rights and reproductive freedoms guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court in the case Roe v. Wade and its progeny was passed by the full General Assembly tonight and signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo.

“I commend the General Assembly for sending a clear message today that we as a state will not cower in the face of threats at the national level and that Rhode Island will stand strong in protecting women’s access to critical reproductive services.  Due to this bill, Rhode Island will remain resolute in ensuring a woman’s privacy in making her own health care decisions and we will not turn back the clock on decades of progress for female reproductive health equality,” said Representative Williams.

“It has been a long road to seeing this legislation passed and I am proud of the bill that was passed by the General Assembly tonight.  I thank Representative Williams, all of the cosponsors, and the advocates and supporters who worked tirelessly to ensure that a woman’s right to privacy and proper reproductive healthcare is safe and accessible in Rhode Island,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston).

Representative Williams’ bill, the Reproductive Privacy Act, is a strict codification in state law of the rights guaranteed by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and subsequent cases.  It expressly bans and prohibits all late-term abortions except when necessary for the life or health of the mother.  If the procedure is determined necessary by a physician, the physician is required to document the medical basis for the post-viability abortion in the patient’s medical record.  The bill also adds new language confirming the federal statute which bans partial birth abortion and affirms that partial birth abortion will remain banned in Rhode Island.

The bill’s cosponsors are Deputy Majority Whip Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket), Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket), and Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick).

“We were all proud to cosponsor this legislation when Representative Williams introduced the bill and we are grateful for the General Assembly’s decision to pass this important piece of legislation that protects the freedom, privacy, and reproductive health of Rhode Island’s women,” said the House cosponsors of the legislation.

The legislation received the support of the Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, which is comprised of Planned Parenthood, the Women’s Fund, the ACLU, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and several other groups.

From the left: Sen. Gayle L. Goldin, Sen. Joshua Miller, Rep. Evan P. Shanley, Sen. Erin Lynch Prata, Governor Gina Raimondo, sponsor of the legislation Rep. Anastasia P. Williams, Rep. Edith H. Ajello, Rep. Jean Philippe Barros, and Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski


6/19/2019RepRep. Anastasia Williams; #10; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Reproductive-Privacy-Act-signing-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Anastasia P. Williams’ (D-Dist. 9, Providence) legislation (2019-H 5125B) that codifies in state law the privacy rights and reproductive freedoms guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court in the case Roe v. Wade and its progeny was passed by the full General Assembly tonight and signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo.



NoYesApproved3704326/19/2019 9:46 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:49 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,171
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Gregg Amore’s (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) legislation (2019-H 5434A) that would exclude chronic intractable pain from the definition of “acute pain management” for the purposes of prescribing opioid medication was passed by the House of Representatives.

“We want to make sure that our public policy in regard to addressing the opioid crisis does not have the unintended consequence of hurting patients who are trying to manage chronic pain.  These patients are not addicts, they are suffering with pain associated with cancer, palliative care, and in many cases, chronic intractable pain.  We need to let physicians determine how best to manage their patients’ pain,” said Representative Amore.

Chronic intractable pain is defined as pain that is excruciating, constant, incurable, and of such severity that it dominates virtually every conscious moment.  It also produces mental and physical debilitation and may produce a desire to commit suicide for the sole purpose of stopping the pain.

The bill calls for new guidelines for the treatment of chronic intractable pain be based upon the consideration of the individualized needs of patients suffering from chronic intractable pain.  The legislation acknowledges that every patient and their needs is different, especially those suffering from chronic pain.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

6/20/2019RepRep. Gregg Amore; #195; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/65-Amore_JPG.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Gregg Amore’s (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) legislation (2019-H 5434A) that would exclude chronic intractable pain from the definition of “acute pain management” for the purposes of prescribing opioid medication was passed by the House of Representatives.


NoYesApproved3704346/20/2019 1:55 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:49 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,173
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0194A) that creates a Senate special legislative commission to study and evaluate the state’s electric and natural gas distribution and transmission infrastructure to ensure its reliance and resiliency was passed by the Senate.

“As we saw with the debacle that affected Aquidneck Island only five months ago, there are some significant deficiencies within our electric and natural gas infrastructure in Rhode Island.  We cannot afford to have another similar situation, in the dead of winter, where our citizens are literally freezing in their own homes without any gas or electricity.  This commission will use facts and data to determine what we can do in order to avoid another massive energy and heat shutdown in Rhode Island,” said Senator DiPalma.

The commission will consist of 19 members including three members of the Senate; the Administrator of the RI Division of Public Utilities and Carriers; the Chief Resiliency Officer of the RI Infrastructure Bank; the RI Cybersecurity Officer; the Executive Director of the RI League of Cities and Towns; the President of National Grid RI; the General Manager of Providence Water; the Executive Director of the Narragansett Bay Commission; the President of Enbridge Gas; the President of the Block Island Power Company; the General Manager of the Pascoag utility District; the President of the RI AARP; the Director of the RI Department of Environmental Management; and four members of the public.

The commission shall report its findings and results to the Rhode Island Senate on or before March 1, 2020 and the commission shall expire on June 30, 2020.

6/20/2019SenSen. Louis DiPalma; #147; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/12-DiPalma_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0194A) that creates a Senate special legislative commission to study and evaluate the state’s electric and natural gas distribution and transmission infrastructure to ensure its reliance and resiliency was passed by the Senate.



NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/DiPalma-Social_png.jpg3704366/20/2019 5:11 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,174
  
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Valarie J. Lawson’s (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) legislation (2019-S 0433A) that establishes the “Senior Savings Protection Act” was passed by the Senate tonight.

The act would require certain individuals to report the occurrence or suspected occurrence of financial exploitation of persons who are 60 years of age or older and persons who have a disability between the ages of 18 and 59 years old.

“With so many terrible stories of our seniors and most vulnerable citizens being victimized through financial scams over the phone and on the internet, as well as more direct financial manipulation from people they trust, I saw that this bill was necessary to protect our seniors and our disabled citizens.  These crimes that drain the bank accounts of our at-risk populations need to be stopped before they are able to do maximum damage and this bill will hopefully accomplish the task of stopping these ever-evolving schemes and scams from taking place,” said Senator Lawson.

According to the bill, if a qualified individual, a person associated with a broker-dealer who serves in a supervisory, compliance, or legal capacity, believes that financial exploitation is taking place, or being attempted, the individual must notify the Department of Business Regulation, the Division of Elderly Affairs, and law enforcement.  The individual may also alert immediate family members, legal guardians, conservators, or agents under a power of attorney of the person possibly being financially exploited.

The legislation also allows qualified individuals to hold financial transactions that they believe may be involved with financial exploitation.

The bill also calls for the Department of Business Regulation and the Division of Elderly Affairs to develop websites that include training resources to assist in the prevention and detection of financial exploitation against the elderly and the disabled.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
6/20/2019SenSen. Valarie J. Lawson; #260; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/14-Lawson_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Sen. Valarie J. Lawson’s (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) legislation (2019-S 0433A) that establishes the “Senior Savings Protection Act” was passed by the Senate.



NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Lawson-Social_png.jpg3704376/20/2019 5:18 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,193
  
STATE HOUSE – Legislation (2019-S 0201A / 2019-H 5798A) sponsored by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa that caps the interest rates charged by the town of Coventry to ratepayers for the town’s sewer project was passed by the General Assembly today.

“Sadly, this bill was necessary in order to protect the sewer ratepayers of Coventry from the unjustifiable actions of the Coventry Sewer Authority.  This project should not be a money-making scheme for the town.  We must make sure this is fair to homeowners and that no undue burden is being placed on those who are affected by the sewer expansion project. It’s inexcusable that the homeowner be charged almost twice the percentage the town is being charged as a rate for the sewer construction project loan or bond,” said Senator Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich).

“This is already an exorbitant and unnecessary expense for so many in Coventry and the town should not be charging its residents any more than the actual cost of the project.  There are too many families, seniors, and those living on fixed incomes, who are facing true financial harm due to the mandate of this project.  This bill will protect the taxpayers from the large interest rates for a project they do not want in the first place,” said Representative Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).

The act would enable the town of Coventry to charge ratepayers of the Coventry sewer project a monetary interest charge in excess of those interest charges actually paid by the town for the funds it has borrowed for sewage works purposes. The excess interest charges shall be a maximum of one-half of one percent and shall be used only for administrative purposes.

The Auditor General recently completed a report at the request of Senator Raptakis, Representative Serpa, and other members of the Coventry delegation in the General Assembly regarding the troubled sewer project.

The report lays out a detailed analysis of the operations and implementation of the controversial sewer project and offers several recommendations to rectify concerns about the program, as well as, recommendations to ensure the project’s short-term and long-term financial viability and success.

In particular, the Auditor General points to the legislation sponsored by Senator Raptakis and Representative Serpa which prohibits the town of Coventry from charging its sewage works’ users more than the interest the town has actually paid for its borrowed funds for sewage works’ purposes.

The report states, “The interest rate charged to homeowners has been higher at 6% than the Town’s actual borrowing costs which approximates 3% to 4%. Legislation has been introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly to limit the interest rate charged to homeowners on sewer assessments. Aligning the Town’s costs of borrowing with the interest charged on the assessments is both appropriate and necessary to lessen the cost of sewer assessments on homeowners and businesses.”

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.

6/25/2019RepSen. Leonidas Raptakis; Rep. Patricia Serpa; #100; #121; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/us-ri-cv-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Legislation (2019-S 0201A / 2019-H 5798A) sponsored by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa that caps the interest rates charged by the town of Coventry to ratepayers for the town’s sewer project was passed by the General Assembly.


NoYesApproved3704576/25/2019 4:40 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,204
  
Panels would ensure warning signs aren’t missed
 
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Hanna M. Gallo 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, 2019-S 0818) which will now go to the governor, 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 course of last 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 have 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.

“This effort will help prevent violence before it happens, and it will also serve as a means to connect people who are experiencing trouble with the help they need. Having dedicated groups within each school who know the students, the faculty, the staff and the parents will help identify concerns early as a means of both prevention and intervention. Their work can keep schools safe and allow the focus to stay on learning,” said Chairwoman Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick).

The House 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). The Senate bill is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston) and Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket).
6/26/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Hanna Gallo; #120; #88; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/schoolbus_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Panels would ensure warning signs aren’t missed
 
The General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Hanna M. Gallo 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.


NoYesApproved3704686/26/2019 5:07 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,205
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) legislation (2019-H 5171B) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was passed by the General Assembly.

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.

“Childhood sexual abuse is a scourge on our society, nationally and here in Rhode Island. Today, passage of this legislation significantly moves the needle forward for these brave victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Today, Rhode Island has opened the courthouse doors by significantly extending the statute of limitations. Access to justice is a cornerstone of American jurisprudence, and today we have provided that for countless survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Bravo,” said Senator Donna M. Nesselbush (Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), sponsor of the companion legislation in the Senate.

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 State of Rhode Island and its municipalities are also included under this provision of the legislation.
The 35 year statute begins at the age of 18 for the victims.

The bill also includes a “seven year discovery rule” which 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.

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.  Representative McEntee has referred to the legislation as “Annie’s Bill” due to her sister’s advocacy for the bill. 

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 and Senator Nesselbush.

6/26/2019SenRep. Carol Hagan McEntee; Sen. Donna Nesselbush; #226; #179; 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 5171B) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was psigned into law by Governor Gina M. Raimondo.



NoYesApproved3704696/26/2019 6:12 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,214
  
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly has approved four bills to better support Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease and to protect against elder abuse.

The bills, which will now all be sent to the governor, were all sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), who led the Senate’s Special Task Force to Study Elderly Abuse and Financial Exploitation this year. That panel is slated to release its final report Friday.

“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, whose father died after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The Assembly approved legislation (2019-S 0223, 2019-H 5178) sponsored in the Senate by Senator Coyne and in the House by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) 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.

“This legislation will create a more cohesive approach to our state’s efforts to serve people with Alzheimer’s disease, which will ensure that our resources are used to their fullest effect. It will help Rhode Island make sure that our efforts are well coordinated and that we are doing everything we can to assist families touched by this devastating disease,” said Leader Shekarchi.

The bill requires 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. It 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.

Also gaining final Assembly approval was legislation (2019-S 0302A, 2019-H 5141) sponsored by Senator Coyne and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) 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.

“A person who needs care for Alzheimer’s should not be separated from his or her spouse on top of it. Allowing couples to remain living together will help them maintain their relationship, their connection and their personal dignity,” said Representative McNamara, who is chairman of the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee.

Lawmakers also gave their final approval to legislation (2019-S 0603A, 2019-H 5573) sponsored by Senator Coyne and Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) 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.

“No one should hesitate to report abuse of an elder or someone who is disabled. This bill will better protect some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” said Representative Bennett, who works as a psychiatric nurse.

On June 20, the Assembly passed a third bill sponsored by Senator Coyne and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) 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, 2019-H 6114), 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.

“While most guardians are selflessly dedicated to helping those in their care, guardianship creates significant opportunities to take advantage or abuse extremely vulnerable people. No person who has an abusive or violent past should be given that level of control over an elderly or disabled person and their affairs. This bill will protect senior citizens and disabled people,” said Representative Serpa.

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.
6/27/2019RepSen. Cynthia A. Coyne; Rep. K. Joseph Shekarchi; Rep. David Bennett; Rep. Patricia Serpa; Rep. Joseph McNamara; #208; #187; #161; #121; #41; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/nursinghome_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The General Assembly has approved four bills to better support Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease and to protect against elder abuse.


NoYesApproved3704786/27/2019 6:01 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,216
  
Deal includes $150m in new investment, increase in RI-based jobs

STATE HOUSE-  House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and Gov. Gina M. Raimondo  today announced an agreement in principle with IGT for a continued partnership with the Rhode Island Lottery.

"IGT is one of Rhode Island’s most valued corporate partners, and I want them to continue to call Rhode Island home for decades to come,” said Speaker Mattiello. “This new agreement increases the company’s investment and guarantees great jobs stay in our state. I am committed to a full public vetting of this proposal and the House will hold hearings in the fall.”

Under the terms of the agreement, IGT will be responsible for a $25 million payment to the State, $150 million in capital investments over the next 20 years, and at least 1,100 permanent jobs in Rhode Island. IGT’s Rhode Island employees have an average annual salary of $100,000.

“I am grateful to Governor Raimondo for her work to keep IGT headquartered in Rhode Island,” said Senate President Ruggerio. “IGT is a major Rhode Island employer, with about 1,000 jobs averaging $100,000 in salary presently, and the number of Rhode Island jobs is anticipated to increase under this proposal. Since it is close to the end of the regular legislative session, I intend to introduce the legislation today so it is available for public inspection over the next few months, then return for a special session in the fall to thoroughly review and analyze the bill through the committee process before it is considered.” 

The General Assembly leaders will be introducing legislation this afternoon (2019-H 62662019-S 1031) to codify this agreement into state law. Hearings on the legislation will be held later this year.

“Rhode Island’s partnership with IGT over the past two decades has led to the creation of a thousand local jobs and hundreds of millions in economic activity,” said Governor Raimondo. “Today’s announcement ensures the company can continue to grow and thrive in our state while providing Rhode Islanders with some of the highest-quality games anywhere in the country. This innovative agreement keeps Rhode Island – and Rhode Island’s jobs – at the center of this modern and evolving industry.”
  
Additional provisions of the agreement include:
 
·     Anytime IGT plans to create at least 30 U.S.-based jobs or transfer as many employees, where not contractually obligated to another state, the company agrees to give Rhode Island the right of first offer to make a proposal for IGT to locate those jobs in Rhode Island.
·     IGT will maintain its corporate lottery office at 10 Memorial Boulevard in Downtown Providence.
·     IGT will install a new, state-of-the-art online lottery solution and will bring its iLottery products to Rhode Island.
·     IGT will regularly update its hardware and software to ensure Rhode Island Lottery consistently has state-of-the-art technology. Rhode Island Lottery will also have contractual rights to new technology developed by IGT in the future.
·     IGT will replace more than 900 VLTs with brand new machines at Twin River Lincoln (25% of IGT’s machines) by the end of 2020 and will be obligated to replace at least the lowest performing 6% of machines at Twin River Lincoln and Twin River Tiverton every year.
·     Instant ticket pricing will be locked in at its current rate through the life of the new contract.
6/27/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; #120; #85; Legislative Press Bureau
18
http://www.rilegislature.gov////pressrelease/Pictures/_w/IGT_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Deal includes $150m in new investment, increase in RI-based jobs

House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and Gov. Gina M. Raimondo  announced an agreement in principle with IGT for a continued partnership with the Rhode Island Lottery. 
NoYesApproved3704806/27/2019 6:16 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,226
  
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 General Assembly tonight.

“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.

6/28/2019SenSen. 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 General Assembly.


NoYesApprovedhttp://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/SocialMediaPictures/_w/Felag-Social_png.jpg3704906/28/2019 7:12 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,235
  
STATE HOUSE — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) and Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that protects the rights of customers to pay for things in cash.

“More and more retailers are shifting to cashless transactions in other parts of the country for various reasons,” said Representative Ackerman. “From a consumer perspective, this could have a negative impact on working class customers, senior citizens and college students who don’t have credit cards.”

The law (2019-H 5116A, 2019-S 0889) makes 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.

“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.”

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.

“Given the age requirements for credit cards, a cashless policy creates a type of age discrimination that we should not be tolerating,” said Representative Ackerman. “Businesses still have an obligation to be accessible to everybody — not just those who have a credit card.”

The law does not apply to online purchases or sales made over the Internet.

7/1/2019SenRep. Mia Ackerman; Sen. William Conley; #191; #202; Daniel Trafford
24
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/dollarbill_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) and Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that protects the rights of customers to pay for things in cash.

NoYesApproved3704997/1/2019 10:24 AMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:48 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,242
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski’s (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) legislation (2019-H 5817A) that defines any sexual contact by an individual with a position of authority over a person between the ages of 14 and under the age of 18 as third degree sexual assault passed the House of Representatives last week.

“This loophole in our criminal law needs to end and if a person in a position of authority exploits that role and begins a sexual relationship with a minor under their supervision, they need to be held accountable in the eyes of the law.  This bill sends a very clear message that this type of behavior is not allowed in our state,” said Representative Marszalkowski.

The legislation defines “position of authority” as any person who is acting in the place of a parent and charged with any of the parent’s rights, duties or responsibilities to a person under the age of 18, or a person who is charged with any duty or responsibility for the health, welfare, or supervision of a person under the age of 18.

If the accused has a supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the accused’s legal, professional, or occupational status, or if the accused is otherwise acting in a position of authority with respect to the victim, any sexual contact with a minor under their care would be considered third degree sexual assault.

Since the bill did not pass the Senate, Representative Marszalkowski plans to reintroduce the legislation at the start of the 2020 General Assembly session in January.

7/2/2019RepRep. 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 5817A) that defines any sexual contact by an individual with a position of authority over a person between the ages of 14 and under the age of 18 as third degree sexual assault passed the House of Representatives.



NoYesApproved3705067/2/2019 11:00 AMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,243
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush’s (Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5171B / 2019-S 0315Aaa) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was signed into law by the governor yesterday. 

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.

“Childhood sexual abuse is a scourge on our society, nationally and here in Rhode Island. Today, passage of this legislation significantly moves the needle forward for these brave victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Today, Rhode Island has opened the courthouse doors by significantly extending the statute of limitations. Access to justice is a cornerstone of American jurisprudence, and today we have provided that for countless survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Bravo,” said Senator Nesselbush.

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 State of Rhode Island and its municipalities are also included under this provision of the legislation.
The 35 year statute begins at the age of 18 for the victims.

The bill also includes a “seven year discovery rule” which 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.

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.  Representative McEntee has referred to the legislation as “Annie’s Bill” due to her sister’s advocacy for the bill. 

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 and Senator Nesselbush.

7/2/2019SenRep. Carol Hagan McEntee; Sen. Donna Nesselbush; #226; #179; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Court-Bench_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush’s (Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5171B / 2019-S 0315Aaa) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was signed into law by the governor.



NoYesApproved3705077/2/2019 12:03 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,246
  
STATE HOUSE – Work began this week on a project to restore and update the House and Senate chambers in the State House.

The project is intended to restore the chambers as closely as possible to their original appearance at the beginning of the last century, while improving handicapped accessibility and technology, and complying with modern electrical, building and fire codes.

The $2.5 million project, which is to be finished by the beginning of the next legislative session on Jan. 7, 2020, is a collaborative effort between the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), the Division of Capital Asset management and Maintenance (DCAMM), the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) and the State House Restoration Society (SHRS).

“The State House is one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Rhode Island, and it was created to be a lasting monument to the achievements of our state. We are very proud to be honoring that concept with this careful, thoughtful renovation, which will bring it back to its original splendor, while incorporating the safety, technology and accessibility features that modern public buildings demand,” said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), who serves as chairman of JCLS. “We are very much looking forward to our return next year to chambers that better serve the public and our members and more closely resemble the magnificence of their original designs.”

Said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), who serves as vice chairman of JCLS, “This project represents long-overdue updates and preservation that will make the chambers more functional while also vastly improving their beauty and historical accuracy. We are very grateful for the cooperation and hard work of our collaborating agencies, particularly the historical preservation groups. This is one of the most exciting and rewarding renovation projects we’ve embarked upon at the State House. When it was built, our State House was considered a masterpiece that served as the inspiration for many other states’ capitols. It’s our duty and also a pleasure to maintain its beauty and preserve its historical integrity so that every generation will be able to experience the same sense of awe and majesty that Rhode Islanders have enjoyed in our State House since 1904.”

The project includes replacing the chambers’ worn carpets and drapes, which were last replaced in 2002 and 1988, respectively. Legislators’ desks will be restored for the first time in decades, and their chairs will be replaced with functional, historically appropriate new models. The public galleries, skylights and rostrums will all be repaired, and the chambers will be painted with colors that are as close as possible to the original shades.

The State House Restoration Society worked with samples from the walls to determine the original colors. According to Sally Strachan, SHRS chairwoman, the walls in the House were a creamier shade than the gold they are today, and returning them to that color will make the handsome tapestries on the chamber’s north and south walls appear considerably more vivid. The 10 elaborate mural-like tapestries depicting a floral scene with open space beyond are original and are still well-preserved, she said, and her agency worked to ensure they will be adequately protected during the construction.

“Some of the original colors are a bit surprising, and very, very beautiful. As close as possible, returning the chambers to those original colors will make all the elements of the room look the way they were intended, and will preserve our State House’s rich history,” said Strachan, who added that the project’s planning has been a very successful collaboration between the entities involved.

“The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission has been working with JCLS, DCAMM and their teams as well as the State House Historical Society, to identify original color schemes for the House and Senate Chambers. The project scope has included a Finishes Analysis study, research into original design documents, and early photographs to ensure the completed restoration will reflect the architects’ original design intent,” added Virginia Hesse, RIHPHC principal historical architect.

Less visibly, the chambers’ antiquated electrical systems — which have had only piecemeal repairs and updates since the building opened in 1904 — will at last be fully updated, and the hearing loop system, which allows sound to be transmitted electronically to digital hearing aids, will be installed. (A hearing loop was installed in other rooms of the State House in 2016, but could not be installed in the chambers without removing the carpeting.) Improvements to the sound systems will also be performed.

JCLS will fund approximately $1.5 million of the projects’ costs from its budget. The remaining cost of just under $1 million will be paid by the Division of Capital Asset management and Maintenance, which is responsible for the building. All elements of the project were publicly bid and the contracts were awarded to three companies, all in Rhode Island: Vision 3 Architects and E.F. O’Donnell & Sons Co., Inc., both of Providence; and Drapery House of North Providence.

“We are pleased to be partners in this effort to restore and modernize the House and Senate chambers,” said Michael DiBiase, Director of Administration. “In collaboration with the General Assembly and historic preservation officials, we constructed a plan that retains the special and historical nature of these spaces while addressing long-overdue restoration needs. We look forward to seeing the end result, which we hope will continue to give Rhode Islanders immense pride in their state capitol.”  

Construction will be ongoing during an expected fall legislative session to address legislation pertaining to IGT’s state lottery contract, so legislative leaders are currently considering alternate sites for the House and the Senate to gather.

 

7/5/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; #120; #85; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/housepchamber_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Work began this week on a project to restore and update the House and Senate chambers in the State House.


NoYesApproved3705107/5/2019 10:24 AMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,250
  
STATE HOUSE – The governor today signed into law the state budget bill approved by the General Assembly last week. The $9.97 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year largely avoids new taxes while strengthening education, continuing the car-tax phase-out and maintaining municipal aid, and closes a $200 million budget gap.

“I am pleased that this pro-business, pro-education budget has gone into law today. This budget adheres to the fundamental principles we have established by properly funding essential services, while respecting the limit on how much we can ask of our taxpayers. I am particularly proud that we are fully funding a commitment to phase out the car tax,” said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).

Said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), “I’m proud that this budget reflects many of the Senate’s most important priorities. Among those priorities are funding for pre-kindergarten programs, free RIPTA bus passes for low-income elderly and disabled, the opioid stewardship program, hospitals, and expansion of Rebuild RI to include historic projects. We also worked hard to ensure less reliance on scoops and one-time revenue sources.”

The bill (2019-H 5151Aaa) 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 FY 2023.

The Assembly 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. Lawmakers did let one part of her sales tax expansion stand: digital downloads and streaming services like Netflix will be subject to the sales tax.

Legislators 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 53072019-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 Assembly also added urns to the list of funeral items that are tax exempt, as proposed in a separate bill (2019-H 51572019-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 take effect Oct. 1.

The Assembly also added proposal (2019-H 5576), 2019-S 0564) by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Sen. Mark P. McKenney (D-Dist. 30, Warwick) 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 on legislation enacted in Connecticut, it is expected to be revenue-neutral for the state.

Legislators 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 Assembly kept the governor’s proposed increases to campsite and other fees at state parks to fund park and beach maintenance, it rejected an increase in beach parking fees, instead opting to freeze beach parking at the current rate through the 2021 season.

The General Assembly left economic development programs largely the same as they were in the 2019 fiscal year, other than the Rebuild RI economic development program, which got authority to offer an additional $60 million in future credits and a six-month extension, but with some new limits.
Lawmakers also included the creation of the Rhode Island Small Business Development Fund, which would encourage the formation of private capital investment in small business by federally licensed investment companies. That initiative was introduced as a separate bill (2019-S 0055, 2019-H 5216) sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) and Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick).

Legislators included legislation (2019-S-803Aaa) sponsored by Senate President Ruggerio 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 measure was triggered by delays and impediments imposed upon the Hope Point Tower apartments proposal for the I-195 Redevelopment District. The special districts will 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. Additionally, the Assembly allowed up to $25 million in tax credits instead of $15 million for the apartment tower, and excluded it from the total spending cap in the Rebuild RI program.

The budget fully funds the state’s education aid formula, increasing direct aid by $33.4 million over the current year’s amount. Legislators granted the governor’s request to add $2.3 million to bring support for English language learners to $5 million, and much of her request to expand pre-kindergarten classrooms, adding $2.9 million, which will add hundreds of seats to the 1,080 that were previously funded, with expansion targeted toward the neediest families. All told, $14.9 million in general revenues will go toward high-quality pre-K.

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

While the Assembly 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 General Assembly 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 Postsecondary Education, which also oversees Rhode Island College and CCRI. The change was proposed in separate legislation (2019-H 6180, 2019-S 0942) introduced by Speaker Mattiello and Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham).

Also included for URI were authorization for revenue bonds for construction, including $51.5 million for the renovation and expansion of Memorial Union and $26.9 million for a new combined health and counseling center.

Lawmakers declined to implement the proposed hospital rate freeze and further increased rates by 4.5 percent, partially offset by increased revenues from the hospital license fee. The Assembly kept the governor’s proposal for a 1-percent rate increase to nursing home facilities, which increases funding by $3.1 million. It added $9.5 million to provide a wage increase, starting Oct. 1, 2019, to direct support professionals who work with adults with developmental disabilities, raising the hourly rate to approximately $13.

The Assembly also added the Opioid Stewardship Act (2019-S 0798A2019-H 6189), sponsored by Senate President Ruggerio and Speaker Mattiello, which assesses a $5 million yearly fee to manufacturers and distributors of opioid products sold and distributed in Rhode Island, except for those used for hospice care, addiction, treatment, epidurals, and intra-company transfers, to fund opioid treatment, prevention and education programs.

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

Lawmakers also eliminated a sunset provision on a program that provides fare-free bus passes to low-income seniors and elderly Rhode Islanders, making the program permanent.

The General Assembly added $220,000 in funding for Emergency Medical Dispatch Training to E911 operators to properly determine the nature and priority of the call, dispatch response and give the caller instructions while they await emergency responders, and established a new restricted receipt account for the E911 surcharge 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.

Lawmakers did not include funding for renovations to the “Super Max” prison facility. They did include $200,000 to help fund the Nonviolence Institute to fund street workers, nonviolence community training and other initiatives to prevent violence.

They also increased “complete count” funding related to the upcoming census, from $150,000 in the governor’s proposal to $500,000.

The Assembly 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 through downtown Providence. Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds are a common funding In May, 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 budget authorizes the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority to issue up to $50 million in revenue bonds to finance renovations and repairs to the bridges in its purview: Mount Hope, Jamestown Verrazzano, Newport Pell and the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Lawmakers 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 requires that the state start replacing current license plates with a new design upon the renewal of registration, with a fee of $8 per vehicle, a $2 increase.

They reduced from $10 million to $5 million in savings the state must identify in unspecified efficiencies over the course of the year. The Assembly 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 General Assembly 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.
7/5/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; #120; #85; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/money4_jpg.jpgNoApproved
The governor has signed into law the state budget bill approved by the General Assembly. The $9.97 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year largely avoids new taxes while strengthening education, continuing the car-tax phase-out and maintaining municipal aid, and closes a $200 million budget gap.


NoYesApproved3705147/5/2019 1:29 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,254
  
STATE HOUSE – Three measures passed by the General Assembly to help address the opioid epidemic have been signed into law this week.

The bills will limit first-time opioid prescriptions, place warning signs in pharmacies about the dangers of opioids and remove a potential barrier to possession of life-saving anti-opioid prescriptions. The bills are sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Rep. Justine A. Caldwell and Sen. Bridget G. Valverde.

“We are doing everything we can to address the opioid crisis from every direction, from better interventions for preventing addiction to requiring the pharmaceutical companies who have promoted these drugs to help pay for the problems they’ve caused. I’m proud that my colleagues in both chambers of the General Assembly have made this issue a priority. We all understand that this epidemic is in every one of our districts, affecting the lives of people we know. It’s personal for just about everyone here, and we’re going to keep working to put an end to this crisis,” said Senate President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence).

One of the measures (2019-H 5537A, 2019-S 0981), sponsored by Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and President Ruggerio, will restrict first-time prescriptions for adults to the maximum daily dosage established by the Department of Health. It will also restrict all prescriptions to children to 20 doses, with exceptions for certain conditions and medicines designed for substance abuse or opioid dependence treatment.

“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).

Also signed was a bill (2019-H 5184aa, 2019-S 0291aa), sponsored by Representative Caldwell and Senator Valverde to require signs at pharmacies warning customers about dangers associated with opioids. The signs would be similar to warning signs about tobacco products required wherever they 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 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. The bill takes effect Sept. 1 and is not expected to result in any significant costs for the state.

“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).

Said Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett), “A great many of the people who become addicted to opioids begin with a valid prescription after surgery or an accident. Every person who gets a prescription for them needs to be aware of what the risks are, take only what they need, and make sure they don’t let their prescription fall into anyone else’s hands.”

President Ruggerio and Representative Caldwell are also the sponsors of the third bill (2019-H 6184Aaa, 2019-S 0799Aaa), which is intended to prevent insurers from denying or limiting life insurance to people who fill a prescription for the anti-overdose drug naloxone. Naloxone, commonly called by its trade name Narcan, is available through an open prescription to anyone in Rhode Island and is carried by many people who do not use drugs but keep it to prevent another person’s death.

President Ruggerio and Speaker Mattiello were also the sponsors of legislation to create the Opioid Stewardship Fund (2019-S 0798A2019-H 6189), which will assess a fee on pharmaceutical companies that sell opioids to pay for addiction prevention and treatment programs. That program became part of the state budget bill (2019-H 5151Aaa), which was signed into law Friday.

7/9/2019SenRep. Nicholas Mattiello; Sen. Dominick Ruggerio; Rep. Justine A. Caldwell; Sen. Bridget G. Valverde; #120; #85; #252; #264; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/prescription_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Three measures passed by the General Assembly to help address the opioid epidemic have been signed into law. The bills will limit first-time opioid prescriptions, place warning signs in pharmacies about the dangers of opioids and remove a potential barrier to possession of life-saving anti-opioid prescriptions. 


NoYesApproved3705187/9/2019 11:12 AMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,257
  
STATE HOUSE – Legislation passed by the General Assembly to prevent the misrepresentation of pets as service animals has been signed into law.

The legislation (2019-S 0308A, 2019-H 5299aa), sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard and Rep. Bernard A. Hawkins, prevents owners from misrepresenting a pet as a service animal in order to gain access to rights or privileges reserved for disabled individuals with service animals.

“Service animals are highly trained at great expense, and they provide potentially life-saving assistance to the people they serve. The people they serve need their service animals by their side at all times, and that’s why exceptions exist for them that let them bring them into places where other animals aren’t allowed. People who aren’t disabled who are trying to get the same rights for themselves that are granted to disabled people are taking unfair advantage of these exceptions, and shouldn’t be undermining their purpose. They are also putting business owners like restaurant operators in an uncomfortable position, because they have a duty to follow health codes that don’t allow animals unless they are real service animals in order to keep their patrons safe and their facilities clean. This bill is meant as a deterrent to discourage people from abusing service animal laws,” said Senator Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland).

The legislation defines service animals as dogs that have been or are being specifically trained to assist an individual with a disability, including guide dogs and hearing dogs. The bill makes it a civil infraction to misrepresent an animal as a service animal to gain a privilege reserved for them, and makes violations punishable by up to 30 hours of community service for an organization that serves disabled people.

“It is fundamentally unfair to people with actual disabilities 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,” said Representative Hawkins (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester).

The bill, which the governor signed yesterday, also states that businesses may post a decal in a front window or door stating that service animals are welcome and that misrepresentation of a service animal is a violation of Rhode Island law.
7/9/2019RepSen. Roger Picard; Rep. Bernard A. Hawkins; #65; #254; Meredyth R. Whitty
5
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/service-dog_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Legislation passed by the General Assembly to prevent the misrepresentation of pets as service animals has been signed into law.

NoYesApproved3705217/9/2019 2:46 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,269
  
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 has been signed into law by the governor.

“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.

7/18/2019SenSen. 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 has been signed into law by the governor.



NoYesApproved3705337/18/2019 11:04 AMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,273
  
STATE HOUSE – Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) participated in a grand opening ribbon cutting event for Rhode Island’s first and only adaptive gym within a traditional fitness facility today at the Park Avenue YMCA in Cranston.

The gym was established by the Gary Balletto Foundation in partnership with the Cranston YMCA. 
In 2013, after retiring from a 10-year career as a professional boxer, Gary “Tiger” Balletto was injured in his backyard while training for American Ninja Warrior. Paralyzed from the chest-down, he spent the next 18 months rehabilitating, and adapting to his new reality.  It is during this time that Gary realized there was a significant unmet need for gym facilities for people like him with spinal cord injuries.

“Gary has been a true inspiration for a long time to not only the people of Cranston, but the entire state as a whole.  His determination and always positive spirit demonstrates what is possible in the face of adversity and I could not be any prouder to call him a friend.  I have no doubt that this gym will serve its use well and that Gary will continue to be an inspiration for many more future years to come,” said Speaker Mattiello.

The adaptive gym is situated within the YMCA’s main exercise space, where dedicated, specially-trained staff are available to assist clients so they can safely and effectively use the equipment. This setup is intentional - it is rare for people with spinal cord injuries, and other types of paralysis, to have affordable access to gym equipment which they can use, and even more unusual to find it within an able-bodied gym. This allows people of all abilities to be surrounded by friends, family and peers, in a context where all can interact, assist, and enjoy working out together.

From the left: Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Christina Cho, girlfriend of Gary Balletto, Gary Balletto, and Steven G. O’Donnell, CEO of the Greater Providence YMCA

7/23/2019RepRep. Nicholas Mattiello; #120; Larry Berman
6
http://www.rilegislature.gov///pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Gary-Balletto-YMCA-gym-opening-web_jpg.jpgNoApproved
Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) participated in a grand opening ribbon cutting event for Rhode Island’s first and only adaptive gym within a traditional fitness facility today at the Park Avenue YMCA in Cranston.


NoYesApproved3705377/23/2019 3:40 PMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:47 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,259
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) and Sen. Sandra Cano’s (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) legislation (2019-H 6153Aaa / 2019-S 0673aa) that would authorize state and local incremental tax revenues generated in certain economic development districts in Pawtucket to be allocated to fund improvements has been signed into law by the governor.

“This is an incredibly important bill to Pawtucket and its residents. With the loss of the PawSox, it’s more crucial than ever to redevelop assets that are dormant in our city, particularly in the downtown area. This bill will give the economic development tools needed to revitalize our city without costing taxpayers a dime,” said Representative Tobon.

“Despite recent hardships, Pawtucket has a lot of momentum behind it. This legislation will support the city’s mission to redevelop and rejuvenate key districts while allowing the city to invest in much-needed redevelopment projects without raising taxes or fees on residents. I thank the General Assembly for passing this crucial bill,” said Senator Cano.

The legislation authorizes state and local incremental tax revenues, such as sales taxes, generated in the Arts District, the Growth Center District and the Ballpark District in Pawtucket to be used to finance improvements and redevelopment in the districts. 

7/10/2019SenRep. Carlos E. Tobon; Sen. Sandra Cano; #221; #245; Andrew Caruolo
25
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705237/10/2019 11:40 AMSystem Account8/8/2019 3:13 PMSystem Account
15,288
  
As a main thoroughfare in Northern RI connecting to the Capital City, lack of timely action is unacceptable
 
STATE HOUSE – Representative Brian C. Newberry is again leading the charge to get infrastructure improvements for Route 146 expedited with Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). 

Recently, RIDOT announced that they intend to delay repaving of Route 146 between Route 295 and the 146A split originally scheduled for 2022 to 2024 due to “evaluation of pavement conditions and funding availability.”  This follows on the heels of a request made by twenty Northern Rhode Island legislators in March of 2018 that the repaving be moved up from 2022 to an earlier date.  Newberry calls this latest decision to do the opposite a “slap in the face” to every member of the Northern Rhode Island legislative delegation and every resident of Northern Rhode Island.  Attached please find a letter penned today demanding resurfacing and other improvements on this highway for the thousands of travelers who navigate this main artery daily. The letter was sent to Rhode Island government officials and administrators of RIDOT.

 

8/7/2019RepRep. Brian Newberry; #139; Sue Stenhouse
34
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705538/7/2019 3:06 PMSystem Account8/7/2019 3:06 PMNo presence informationMeredyth Whitty
15,287
  
STATE HOUSE — The House Committee on Oversight is scheduled to meet Thursday to review recommendations in the June 2019 report of the Child Fatality Review Panel.

The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8 at 5 p.m. in Room 101 on the first floor of the State House.

In June, the committee heard a review of the findings by Rhode Island Child Advocate Jennifer Griffith that 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.

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). 
8/6/2019RepRep. Patricia Serpa; #121; Daniel Trafford
24
NoApproved
NoYesApproved3705528/6/2019 10:53 AMSystem Account8/6/2019 10:53 AMNo presence informationDaniel H. Trafford
15,286
  
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush’s (Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5171B / 2019-S 0315Aaa) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was ceremonially signed into law by the governor today in the State Room of the State House. 

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.

“Childhood sexual abuse is a scourge on our society, nationally and here in Rhode Island. Today, passage of this legislation significantly moves the needle forward for these brave victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Today, Rhode Island has opened the courthouse doors by significantly extending the statute of limitations. Access to justice is a cornerstone of American jurisprudence, and today we have provided that for countless survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Bravo,” said Senator Nesselbush.

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 State of Rhode Island and its municipalities are also included under this provision of the legislation.

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

The bill also includes a “seven year discovery rule” which 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.

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.  Representative McEntee has referred to the legislation as “Annie’s Bill” due to her sister’s advocacy for the bill. 

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 and Senator Nesselbush.

From the left: Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush, sponsor, Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Dr. Anne Hagan Webb, advocate and sister of Representative McEntee, and Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, sponsor, at a ceremonial bill signing of the legislation held in the State Room of the State House.


8/5/2019SenRep. Carol Hagan McEntee; Sen. Donna Nesselbush; #226; #179; Andrew Caruolo
25
http://www.rilegislature.gov//pressrelease/Pictures/_w/Statute-limitations-bill-signing-web_jpg.jpgYesApproved
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush’s (Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5171B / 2019-S 0315Aaa) that amends the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse was ceremonially signed into law by the governor today in the State Room of the State House. 



YesYesApproved3705518/5/2019 2:36 PMSystem Account8/5/2019 2:37 PMNo presence informationAndrew Caruolo
1 - 100Next