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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.

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.  
Sen. Sheehan reintroduces ethics amendment
Sen. James C. Sheehan has again introduced legislation to put a constitutional amendment question before Rhode Island voters that would reestablish the authority of the Ethics Commission over the core legislative acts of the General Assembly while preserving the venerated tradition of unfettered free speech for each member of the legislature.      
Bennett bill would make Narcan available in schools
Measure aimed at equipping nurse teachers to save overdose victims
STATE HOUSE – With news this week about a Providence police officer who saved an overdosing man’s life by administering an opioid antagonist, Rep. David A. Bennett has introduced legislation that would require public schools that educate students in grades 6 through 12 to be equipped with such kits to treat opioid overdoses.