June 7, 2019

Legislative Press Bureau at (401) 528-1743

           

 

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

 

 

§  Senate passes Ruggerio’s Plastic Waste Reduction Act
The Senate approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would enact the Plastic Waste Reduction Act. The legislation (2019-S 0410Aaa) is designed to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, which is considering similar legislation (2019-H 5671A) introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate votes to ban housing discrimination against voucher recipients
The Senate approved legislation to ban housing discrimination against tenants or prospective tenants who receive housing subsidies. The legislation (2019-S 0331), sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), adds “lawful source of income” to the list of statuses — such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and marital status — that landlords may not use as a basis for their decisions about to whom they will rent, or which units they will rent to them. Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5137) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate approves ban on 3-D printed guns and other untraceable firearms
The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0084 Aaa) sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to ban 3-D printed firearms and other untraceable or undetectable firearms in Rhode Island, including those violating the federal requirement for serial numbers and those that don’t present an accurate image of their shape in a metal detector. Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5786) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

§  House OKs bill to encourage settlement of lawsuits from 2014 circus accident

The House approved legislation sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to encourage settlements in lawsuits stemming from the 2014 Ringling Brothers circus accident in which eight acrobats were hurt at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. The bill (2019-H 5475A) protects the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority — and ultimately taxpayers — from facing the expense of additional lawsuits resulting from the same incident. The measure now moves to the Senate, which passed a similar bill (2019-S 0494A) sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston).

§  Senate OKs legislation protecting animals in domestic abuse cases
The Senate approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would protect pets in the wake of animal abuse cases. The legislation (2019-S 0225) would expand Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5023) has been introduced by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate OKs Miller bill to explore ‘harm reduction center’ pilot
The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0297A) sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) to study the creation of a pilot program to create “harm reduction centers” to help prevent drug overdose deaths. The centers would be supervised facilities for drug users, staffed by health care professionals who could help in cases of overdose and make treatment referrals. Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5545) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate OKs bill to let gay, transgender discharges be recorded as honorable

The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0837) sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to provide a petition process to have a discharge recorded for state purposes as honorable for members of the armed services who were  discharged due solely to sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Doing so will allow them to receive all state benefits to which honorably discharged veterans are entitled, even if they have previously been denied. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, which has passed similar legislation (2019-H 5443A) introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick).
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate passes bills to address wage gaps
The Senate passed two measures sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) to help address pay gaps affecting women and members of minority groups. Senator Goldin’s bill (2019-S 0509) would provide protections and transparency in the workplace to help women and people of color demand equal pay for equal work. Senator Goodwin’s bill (2019-S 0172), would collect data from employers of 100 or more people in Rhode Island to help determine industries and areas where pay gaps occur, and their extent.
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate approves bill to allow child care as election expense
The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) to allow candidates for office to use campaign funds for child care while they are participating in elections activities, as federal candidates now can. The bill (2019-H 0323) is designed to make Rhode Island campaign finance law mirror a 2018 Federal Elections Commission decision. Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5736) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cities across the country are bracing for another night of protests over the death of George Floyd. Crowds have already gathered in Washington, D.C., New York City, Houston and Los Angeles. Some protests erupted in violence yesterday after it got dark.        George Floyd's child's mother is expressing her sorrow knowing their daughter will grow up without her father. Speaking in Minneapolis, Roxie Washington said he will never be able attend future birthdays, graduations or walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. Washington said Floyd loved his daughter and was a great father.       Presidential candidate Joe Biden plans to attend George Floyd's funeral in Houston next Tuesday. The service will follow a public viewing at Fountain of Praise church on Monday. Although he was born in North Carolina, Floyd grew up in Houston.       Members of the National Guard are successfully deescalating a protest in Hollywood. A group of protesters got into a standoff with the Guard when all of a sudden everyone took a knee. A few moments later protesters and the National Guardsmen where seen hugging it out before dispersing peacefully.       Amazon is having a "Summer Sale" in an effort to give retailers an economic boost. CNBC reports the sale will start on June 22nd and could last for seven to ten days. While Amazon has yet to give the event an official name it has been dubbed the "Biggest Sale in the Sky" for now.       A doctor with the National Institutes of Health says the warm weather is unlikely to slow the spread of COVID-19. President Trump has repeatedly touted that COVID would recede during the summer months because of the heat. Doctor Francis Collins wrote in a blog post Tuesday that the climate would only matter if a large portion of the population had built up an immunity or resistance to the infection.