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Weekly Roundups  

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Speaker Mattiello and President Paiva Weed welcome Norwegian Airlines to T.F. Green
Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) joined the Rhode Island Airport Corporation to announce today that Norwegian Airlines, the World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline and Europe’s Best Low-Cost Airline, will begin service this summer from T. F. Green Airport (PVD)  to  Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Edinburgh and Shannon.  These will be the first-ever year-round European routes for Rhode Island’s largest airport. Norwegian will open a base for its pilots and cabin crew and station two Boeing 737MAX aircraft at both T.F. Green and Stewart airports. Norwegian already has more U.S.-based cabin crews than any other foreign airline, and these two new bases will create another 150 American jobs  
Sen. Quezada introduces legislation to protect employees from wrongful discharge
Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) has introduced legislation intended to protect employees from wrongful termination. The bill (2017-S 0169) would end Rhode Island’s adoption of the “employment-at-will” legal doctrine, and would provide some job protection for employees that satisfactorily perform their duties. The act would also provide specific remedies for wrongful discharge.

House Oversight Chair Serpa requests independent review of UHIP by auditor general
House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) has requested the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an independent audit of the expenditures involving contractors and vendors linked to the failed United Healthcare Infrastructure Project public benefits computer system. Rhode Island Auditor General Dennis Hoyle has accepted her request to have his office expand the scope of his office’s audit functions involving the troubled UHIP system. 

Speaker Mattiello announces RI ranked as 5th best state for animal protection laws
Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) is pleased to announce that Rhode Island has been ranked as the fifth best state in the country for laws protecting animals by the Animal Legal Defense Fund in the group’s eleventh annual year-end report.  Last year, Rhode Island was ranked seventh in the country.  
Senate leaders present package of bills to better prevent and treat mental illness
The Rhode Island Senate today unveiled a package of legislation intended to improve mental health in Rhode Island. President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed joined the Health and Human Services Committee and other members of the Senate at a news conference to present a report and recommendations prepared by the committee, as well as a package of 14 bills.

Rep. Tanzi introduces legislation to keep guns away from domestic abusers
Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) has introduced legislation that seeks to protect the victims of domestic abuse by taking firearms out of the hands of abusers.

Senate Majority Leader Ruggerio bill would create stiff penalties for assaulting a delivery person
Concerned with an uptick in assaults on delivery people, Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, Providence, North Providence) has introduced legislation to specifically address the crime and create stiff penalties for it.

Senate passes package of McCaffrey bills to overhaul probation, parole system
As part of its continuing efforts at justice reinvestment, the Rhode Island Senate today passed several bills introduced by Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that would overhaul Rhode Island’s pension and parole system.  
Rep. Phillips legislation would create governor/lieutenant governor ticket, four-year terms for legislators
Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) has introduced two joint resolutions that call for a referendum amending the state constitution to change the way some officials are elected.

Rep. Ruggiero introduces legislation to address needs of ‘Aging in the Community’ in Rhode Island
In an effort to keep Rhode Island policy relevant to the state’s aging population, Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) has introduced legislation aimed at addressing “Aging In the Community.”

Rep. Edwards bill would create Joint Committee of the Repealer to identify outdated, business-unfriendly laws
Like any state that’s been around for 350 years, Rhode Island has amassed a lot of legislation — and House Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) thinks it’s time to take a hard look at some of the old laws and rid of the ones that tend to hinder rather than help our state.

House Oversight Chairwoman Patricia Serpa is cautiously optimistic about governor’s action’s regarding UHIP
In the wake of a massive shakeup by the governor in the Department of Human Services, Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) says she will continue to monitor the progress of the problem-riddled Unified Health Infrastructure Project.

Nicholas Mattiello reelected Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) was elected today to serve as Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives by a vote of 63 to 11.  He will preside over the House of Representatives for the 2017-2018 session.  
Metts elected Senate President Pro Tempore
The Senate today elected Sen. Harold M. Metts to serve as its President Pro Tempore for the 2017-2018 General Assembly session.