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Weekly Roundups  

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Legislation sets standards for "distance learning" in RI
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo have introduced legislation in their respective General Assembly chambers to provide easier access to higher education online learning programs. The bills set standards for “distance learning” in Rhode Island and authorize the Commissioner of Postsecondary Education to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements for distance learning.

Bill would take guns away from domestic violence convicts, those with restraining orders
Hoping to provide greater protection to victims of domestic violence as well as those potentially in danger, Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) have introduced legislation that would take firearms out of the hands of perpetrators of domestic violence. It would also mandate that persons with a restraining order due to a domestic abuse case would be compelled to surrender their firearms.

Rep. Tobon introduces bill requiring police to destroy records of mistaken, wrongful arrests
Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) has introduced a bill, 2015-H 5450, that would require the sealing and destruction of all arrest records and indices of arrest for those persons who are wrongfully arrested or detained by any law enforcement agency. The bill was introduced during a visit to the House chamber by Charles Belk,of California who, because of his wrongful detention last year, has established the "Fitting The Description" organization to rally support of state legislatures to enact "auto erase" laws.  
Reps. Ucci, Corvese call for study, regulations for drones
Rep. Stephen R. Ucci (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston), along with Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), have introduced two pieces of legislation regarding unpiloted, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). One (2015-H 5292) gives the state the exclusive legal authority to regulate the unpiloted craft. The other (2015-H 5293) establishes a legislative commission to study and make recommendations to regulate drones and their aerial kin.

Sen. Metts reintroduces 'Community - Police Relationship Act'
Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) has again introduced legislation with the goal of improving relations between the community and police. The “Comprehensive Community – Police Relationship Act of 2015” will require all police departments to submit to the Department of Transportation’s Office of Highway Safety an annual report indicating what action has been taken to address any racial disparities in traffic stops and/or searches documented in previous reports.  
Sen. Felag bill bars airport access fees on certain services
Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) has introduced legislation (2015-S 0165) to exempt from the T.F. Green Airport’s 12 percent access fee any ancillary services provided to customers of rental companies that are unrelated to airport access.

Tanzi proposes raising age for tobacco purchases to 21
Rep. Teresa Tanzi has introduced legislation aimed at increasing the minimum age for tobacco purchases in Rhode Island from 18 to 21.  
Rep. Amore bill would legalize 'social gaming'
Ten neighborhood friends kick in $10 each for a Superbowl pool, the winner walking away with all $100. They have just broken the law.Social gaming such as office football pools and NCAA brackets would be legal in Rhode Island, under legislation introduced by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence). The bill would define 'social gaming' as a game other than a lottery, between players where gambling is incidental to a bona fide social relationship between participants and where no person other than the players particpating are entitled to receive anything of value.