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Speaker Mattiello and leadership team win unanimous backing of House Democratic Caucus
The House Democrats unanimously endorsed Rep. Nicholas A. Mattiello to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives at a Democratic Caucus held tonight at the Cranston Country Club.  All 63 Democrats voted for Mattiello and his team of Majority Leader John J. DeSimone, Whip John G. Edwards and Deputy Whip Joseph S. Almeida to lead the 2015-16 legislative session.
Ruggerio re-elected Senate Majority Leader
Senate Democrats today unanimously re-elected North Providence and Providence Senator Dominick J. Ruggerio to a third term as Senate Majority Leader at a Senate Democratic Caucus held today in the Senate Lounge. Senator Ruggerio served as Majority Leader during the 2011-2012 and 2013-2014 sessions, and as Senate Majority Whip from 2003 to 2010.  
Paiva Weed, Ruggerio win backing of Democratic Caucus
The Rhode Island Senate’s Democrats unanimously endorsed M. Teresa Paiva Weed as their nominee for reelection to the Office of President of the Senate at a Democratic Caucus held today in the Senate Lounge at the State House. The election of the President of the Senate, by the full Senate membership, will take place on January 6, 2015, the first day of the new legislative session.Senate Democrats also unanimously re-elected Dominick J. Ruggerio to a third term as Senate Majority Leader.
Report recommends regional dispatch centers to ease transition to Next Generation 911
An independent analysis of public safety dispatch services in the state recommends the creation of regional emergency dispatch centers as a means to save municipalities money, particularly since the 911 system is moving toward technology that can relay text messages, photos and video.A report received today by the Joint Commission on Shared Municipal Services and created by Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions recommends a consolidation of the 72 local dispatch centers across Rhode Island to save municipalities money.

Long-awaited Korean War plaque to be dedicated Saturday
Nearly 30 years after the General Assembly passed legislation calling for recognition in the State House of those who served in the Korean War, a plaque honoring those veterans will be unveiled at the State House Saturday.

Bill to divert organic waste from landfill celebrated
State officials today marked the enactment of a new law to put more food scraps to good use, holding a ceremonial signing for the legislation – sponsored by Rep. Donna M. Walsh and Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey – at a commercial compost farm in Charlestown. The new law will require institutions that are large producers of food scraps to separate organic waste from their trash and either compost it, arrange to have it used agriculturally, such as for as animal feed, or have it processed by a composting or anaerobic digesting facility. The requirement will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Governor holds ceremonial signing of bills related to affordable clean energy
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee hosted a ceremonial signing today at Slater Mill of three bills that will increase local renewable energy while allowing Rhode Island to participate in the development of a clean, secure regional energy system. He was joined by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, the bills’ sponsors Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown), Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly), Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick) (who sponsored two of the bills), Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), Commissioner of the Office of Energy Resources Dr. Marion Gold, National Grid Rhode Island President Timothy Horan, and Slater Mill Executive Director Lori Urso.
Ceremony highlights Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force’s legislation
With a ceremonial signing by the governor yesterday, a new law will take effect Jan. 1 requiring Rhode Island to submit more data to the national database used to screen gun purchases, as recommended by the task force that studied the nexus of mental health laws and gun rights following the 2012 Newtown, Conn., school shooting. The legislation, which passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly this year, was sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) and Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey (D-Dist. 34, Exeter, Charlestown, Hopkinton, Richmond, West Greenwich), who were co-chairwomen of the 20-member Joint Behavioral Health and Firearms Safety Task Force.
Senate advocacy results in new partnership to prepare students for GED
As of this morning, students preparing to take their high school equivalency exam in Rhode Island have a new and innovative way to prepare for the test. As a result of an outcry in the Senate about the increased cost of the General Educational Development (GED) test implemented in January and the simultaneous elimination of fee waivers based on economic hardship, GED Testing Services began working with the Senate President’s office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to pilot a new service for potential test takers. The software-based instructional program is being provided to potential test-takers at no cost to them or the state. It includes the use of preparation software and the official practice test for the new GED.