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Weekly Roundups  

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Rep. Hawkins’ bill that prohibits misrepresenting pets as service animals passes the House
Legislation (2019-H 5299aa) sponsored by Rep. Bernard A. Hawkins (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester) that prohibits the misrepresentation of pets as service animals in order to acquire any rights or privileges afforded to disabled people passed the House of Representatives.

Rep. O’Brien questions RIC and CCRI over hiring of armed police details on campuses
At a meeting of the House Finance Subcommittee on Education, Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) questioned representatives from Rhode Island College (RIC) and the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) over their decisions to hire armed police details for campus events at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the taxpayer.  The campus police forces for RIC and CCRI are not armed and both administrations have been strong opponents to legislation (2019-H 5138) sponsored by Representative O’Brien that calls for the arming of RIC and CCRI police officers.

President Ruggerio to introduce bill to streamline development on large tracts of state land, such as I-195 Redevelopment area
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio plans to submit legislation today that takes a new approach to economic development on large tracts of state land. Spurred by delays and impediments imposed upon the Hope Point Tower proposal for the I-195 Redevelopment District, President Ruggerio hopes to create a more streamlined process for approvals on these state-owned parcels moving forward.

Metts, Slater joined by advocates calling for licensing reform
Bill aimed at opening career paths for those released from prison
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Harold M. Metts and Rep. Scott A. Slater have filed legislation to prevent Rhode Islanders from being denied an occupational license based solely or partially on a non-related criminal conviction. 
President Ruggerio introduces pair of bills to address opioid overdose epidemic
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio plans to introduce two pieces of legislation today to address the opioid overdose epidemic in Rhode Island. The bills would provide a dedicated funding stream to combat the crisis and remove a barrier to accessing lifesaving anti-overdose medication.
Sen. Ciccone’s Healthy Workplace Act that combats workplace bullying passes Senate
Sen. Frank A. Ciccone’s (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) legislation (2019-S 0090) that would establish a cause of action against employers and employees for workplace bullying, harassment and other abusive behavior that may not fall into other categories that are already protected such as race, sex or sexual orientation passed the Rhode Island Senate.

Rep. Williams’ bill that exempts natural hair braiders from cosmetology license passed by the House
Rep. Anastasia P. Williams’ (D-Dist. 9, Providence) legislation (2019-H 5677) that would exempt natural hair braiders from the state’s requirement for hairdressers and cosmeticians to be licensed with the state passed the House of Representatives.

Sen. Cano’s bill that requires employee sexual harassment training and makes workplace retaliation unlawful passes the Senate
Sen. Sandra Cano’s (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) legislation (2019-S 0330) that requires employers of four or more employees to conduct sexual harassment training and includes retaliation as an unlawful employment practice was passed by the Rhode Island Senate.

Sen. Lynch Prata’s bill that prohibits credit history from applying to car insurance rates passes Senate
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata’s (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) legislation (2019-S 0257) that prevents consideration of an applicant’s credit history when determining automobile insurance rates was passed by the Rhode Island Senate.

Sen. Raptakis and Rep. Serpa highlight completion of Auditor General’s report on troubled Coventry sewer project
Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) are highlighting the release of Auditor General Dennis Hoyle’s report on the long-troubled Coventry sewer program and the high costs being levied on Coventry’s taxpayers.  The Auditor General completed the report at the request of Senator Raptakis, Representative Serpa, and other members of the Coventry delegation in the General Assembly.

Rep. Cortvriend resolution urges climate literacy to be incorporated in public school curricula
Rep. Terri Cortvriend has introduced a resolution requesting that Rhode Island public schools incorporate environment and climate literacy into school curricula to ensure that young Rhode Islanders understand the environmental challenges they will face in their lifetime.

Rep. Vella-Wilkinson bill would extend benefits to gay veterans who didn’t receive honorable discharges
Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would extend veterans’ benefits to gay or transgender members of the armed forces who failed to receive honorable discharges.

Sen. Felag honored with AARP Capitol Caregiver Award
Sen. Walter S. Felag (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) was honored by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) with the organization’s Capitol Caregiver Award for his sponsorship, support, and passage of the RI Livable Home Modification Grant at a ceremony held at the State House on Tuesday.

Rep. McEntee bills that update parentage and adoption laws heard by House Judiciary Committee
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) two bills that update the Rhode Island law concerning parentage and the law on adoption processes were heard by the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Amore bill that extends "look back" period on DUI offenses heard by House Judiciary Committee
Rep. Gregg Amore’s legislation (2019-H 5766) which extends the “look back” period on repeat alcohol-related vehicular offenses from the current five years to 10 years was heard by the House Judiciary Committee last week.

Sen. Cano introduces resolution calling for 2020 Census participation; will testify before Finance Committee in support of Complete Count Initiative
At a rally held in the State House rotunda, Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) announced she will be introducing a resolution to support the efforts of the Rhode Island Complete Count Committee to ensure that every Rhode Island resident is counted in the upcoming 2020 Census.  The committee was created by Governor Raimondo last year through an executive order.  It is has been tasked with developing and recommending a census outreach strategy to encourage full participation in the 2020 federal Census.

Euer, McNamara introduce protections for student loans
Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara have introduced legislation (2019-S 07372019-H 5936) backed by General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Attorney General Peter F. Neronha to protect student loan borrowers and establish oversight of student loan servicers operating in Rhode Island.

House passes two bills recommended by sexual harassment commission
The House of Representatives has passed two bills recommended by a House commission that studied sexual harassment and discrimination laws last year.

Sen. Raptakis and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Hellenic Community host the celebration of 198th anniversary of Greek Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation at RI State House
State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and the Cranston Hellenic community hosted a celebration of Greek Independence Day at the Rhode Island State House yesterday, bringing together state leaders and members of the Hellenic community to recognize the 198th anniversary of Greece’s independence. This is the twenty-seventh consecutive celebration of the event. The event included the Consul General of the Hellenic Republic Stratos Efthymiou, keynote speakers Mohegan Gaming Entertainment CEO Mario Kontomerkos and Dr. Ioannis (Yannis) Miaoulis, President and Director of the Boston Museum of Science, who also met with Rhode Island Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) prior to the festivities.

Senate, House health committee chairmen submit legislation to enact much of ACA at state level
As the Trump administration this week urged a federal appeals court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, the chairmen of the health committees in both the House and the Senate are introducing legislation to protect Rhode Islanders by enacting many of its provisions at the state level.
Rep. Amore bill that excludes chronic intractable pain from medication prescribing guidelines heard by House Health, Education and Welfare Committee
Rep. Gregg Amore’s (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) legislation (2019-H 5434) that would exclude chronic intractable pain from the definition of “acute pain management” for the purposes of prescribing opioid medication was heard by the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee.

Rep. O’Brien law that amends drug abuse and suicide prevention in health education curriculum passes the House
Rep. William W. O’Brien’s (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) legislation (2019-H 5253) that amends substance abuse and suicide prevention education in the health education curriculum by including information that mixing opioids and alcohol can cause accidental death was passed by the House of Representatives. 

Rep. Ackerman legislation would require 911 system to have over-the-phone CPR operators on staff
Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) has introduced legislation 
that would improve over-the-phone CPR instructions by requiring the 911 system to certify and staff individuals trained in telecommunicator CPR.

Rep. Barros named chair of RI Legislative Black and Latino Caucus
Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket) has been elected as the new chair of the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus by his fellow caucus members.  The previous co-chairs were Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) and Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket).

Rep. Alzate introduces bill to create commission to encourage more persons of color to enter education careers
Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5553) that would create a nine member special legislative commission to study and make recommendations for encouraging more persons of color to enter education fields.

Building a More Vibrant Rhode Island: Senate Unveils Package of Economic Development Bills
Rhode Island Senate leaders hosted a “policy roundtable” today to unveil and discuss a package of bills related to economic development. Themed around “Building a More Vibrant Rhode Island,” the legislative initiatives propose action in a number of areas, including development, workforce training, housing, education, solar energy, and supporting small businesses and Rhode Island’s seafood industry.
Speaker’s bill creates teams at every school to prevent violence
Panels would ensure warning signs aren’t missed

House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello has introduced legislation 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.

General Assembly votes to allow mobile sports wagering
The Rhode Island General Assembly today approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) that would allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.

Senate passes Conley legislation to collect sales taxes from online retailers
The State Senate has passed legislation introduced by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that would provide a process for collecting sales tax from out-of-state sellers such as online retailers.

MEDIA ADVISORY: House and Senate to celebrate SS. Patrick and Joseph Days to honor Irish and Italian culture
The Senate and House of Representatives will celebrate both Irish and Italian culture Thursday, March 14, as the legislative chambers observe both St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day.

Rep. Williams bill codifying privacy rights and reproductive freedoms guaranteed by Roe v. Wade passes House of Representatives
Rep. Anastasia P. Williams’ (D-Dist. 9, Providence) legislation (2019-H 5125A) 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 constitutional progeny was passed by the House of Representatives.