Jan. 24, 2020






This week at the

General Assembly


STATE HOUSE — Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week. For more information on any of these items visit http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease



§  Assault weapon, high-capacity magazine bans introduced

Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich), Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) reintroduced their bills to ban assault weapons (2020-H 7263, 2020-S 2131) and high-capacity magazines (2020-H 7264, 2020-S 2130) saying such weapons have no legitimate purpose and that they endanger the public by enabling shooters to swiftly commit mass murder.
Click here to see news release.

§  Bill would allow abortion coverage by Medicaid, state employees’ insurance
On the 47th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting the right to choose an abortion, Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown) and Rep. Liana Cassar (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) announced legislation that will lift the ban on abortion coverage for state employee health plans and ensure that abortion care is covered by Medicaid.
Click here to see news release.

§  Committees take testimony on leaders’ medical marijuana bill
The House and Senate Judiciary committees held hearings on legislation (2020-H 7013, 2020-S 2006) sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) to address separation of powers issues connected to compassion center licensing statutes and regulations. Both committees will continue to study the bills.
Click here to see news release.


§  Rep. McNamara bill would establish drug affordability board
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would create a prescription drug affordability board to protect Rhode Islanders from the high costs of prescription drug products. Under the proposed legislation (2020-H 7121) the board would be tasked with investigating and comprehensively evaluating drug prices for Rhode Islanders and possible ways to reduce them to make them more affordable.
Click here to see news release.


§  Martin Luther King Jr. Commission observes annual celebration

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission held its annual celebration of the life of the great civil rights leader on Monday, Jan. 20, at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Providence. The official holiday commemoration included remarks by commission members, state and religious leaders, and several musical presentations. Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence), who chairs the MLK State Holiday Commission, served as master of ceremonies.


§  Senate Judiciary Committee passes bill that will ban 3-D printed guns

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation (2020-S 2004A) sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) that would prohibit the possession, manufacturing or selling of 3-D printed firearms, “ghost guns” and other untraceable or undetectable firearms in Rhode Island.  The legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Similar legislation (2020-H 7102) introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), was heard by the House Judiciary Committee.

Click here to see news release.


§  Rep. Diaz introduces ‘Student Bill of Rights’ legislation
Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) has introduced legislation (2020-H 7269) that would provide students attending public schools enrolled in grades K-12 with a students’ bill of rights prohibiting discrimination based on race, sex, gender, economic status or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disabilities.

§  Rep. Shanley legislation would allow online vehicle registration
Rep. Evan Patrick Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) has introduced legislation (2020-H 7301) that would authorize online registration of vehicles sold by a dealership and would extend the term of an operator’s license from five to 10 years. It would also require the Division of Motor Vehicles to forward mail it sends out to motorists to the secretary of state’s office when such mail is returned as undeliverable. It would also allow licenses plates to be returned through the mail.





For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our Web site at www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.














Bernie Sanders is leading the pack of Democratic presidential candidates. A new national poll from Fox News shows the Vermont Senator at the top with 31 percent support. The poll comes out just days before the candidates take part in the presidential primary season's Super Tuesday.       The United States is showing its support for Turkey after dozens of the country's soldiers were killed in an attack by Syria. The U.S. State Department said it stands behind Turkey and called for an immediate end to the "despicable offensive" by Syria.        Another California county is under a health emergency. It's where a woman may be the first in the nation to have gotten coronavirus locally, despite not being exposed to anybody who was sick or traveling overseas. Solano County is also where hundreds have been quarantined at a military base.        Actress Lori Loughlin [[ LOCK-lin ]] is heading to court later this year. Her court date in the college admissions scandal has been set to start on October 5th. She and her husband face a maximum sentence of 50 years each and millions of dollars in fines if found guilty.       Move over Starbucks, Panera is serving up unlimited coffee. The restaurant chain just launched a nine-dollar monthly subscription for all you can drink hot or iced coffee, even hot tea. Customers can show up as often as every two hours and get any size. Simply become a member of the free rewards program and sign up for a subscription.