July 3, 2019

Legislative Press Bureau at (401) 528-1743

           

This year at the

General Assembly

 

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

 

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

·         The General Assembly approved a $9.97 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year that largely avoids new taxes while strengthening education, continuing the car-tax phase-out and maintaining municipal aid, while also closing a $200 million budget gap.

·         Lawmakers passed a bill to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.

·         The legislature established a process for creating Special Economic Development Districts on large state-owned properties and designated the former Route 195 land in Providence as one.

 

 

PERSONAL RIGHTS

·         The General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, codifying the decisions of Roe v. Wade.

·         Lawmakers amended the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.

·         Lawmakers passed a bill that would consider general discharges that were given to veterans based solely on their sexual orientation to have all the benefits of an honorable discharge.

 

EDUCATION

 

·            The Assembly passed legislation that brings a comprehensive reform to curriculum, fast tracks the principal certification process and provides for greater school-based management at the school level.

·            The budget increased aid to education by $33.4 million, added $2.9 million to increase pre-kindergarten seats and increased funding for English language learning by $2.3 million.

·            The General Assembly created a separate Board of Trustees for the University of Rhode Island.

 

 

TAXPAYER/WORKER/CONSUMER PROTECTION

 

·         The state budget includes language eliminating the “tampon tax” in Rhode Island.

·         Legislators passed a law to protect student loan borrowers and establish oversight of student loan servicers operating in Rhode Island.

·         The Assembly approved a law to require religious organizations to provide pension fund updates.

 

OPIOID CRISIS

 

·         The state budget includes language for the creation of a state Opioid Stewardship Fund.

·         Lawmakers limited first-time opioid prescriptions and expanded the Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Act.

·         The legislature approved a bill to post opioid warning signs at all pharmacies in Rhode Island.

 

 

HEALTH

 

·         The budget included a Shared Responsibility Payment penalty for individuals who do not have health insurance, with exceptions.

·         The General Assembly approved legislation aimed at providing stronger oversight for hospitals being acquired by nonprofit entities.

·         The budget expanded the number of medical marijuana compassion center licenses from three to nine.

 

CHILD PROTECTION

 

·         Lawmakers passed legislation expanding domestic violence protective orders to help more children.

·         The General Assembly approved legislation to increase school safety by creating threat assessment teams in schools.

 

SENIORS

·         The Assembly passed several bills addressing Alzheimer’s disease and elder abuse.

·         Lawmakers passed a bill making it easier for homeowners to build onto their houses to provide space for relatives.

·         The General Assembly passed a bill to establish a formal process recognizing “supported decision making,” a structure of support for disabled or aging individuals.

 

SMALL BUSINESS

·         The budget incorporates legislation to help the many Rhode Island small business owners who will be hit by higher federal taxes under new federal tax laws.

·         The General Assembly passed legislation to provide a process for collecting sales tax from out-of-state sellers — removing the unfair advantage online retailers have in competing against Rhode Island businesses.

·         Lawmakers passed legislation to increase the amount of beer sold directly to customers by breweries.

 

TRANSPORTATION

·         The budget includes up to $200 million in GARVEE bonds to fund the reconstruction of the viaduct that carries Route 95 north though downtown Providence.

·         The General Assembly passed the Rhode Island Utility Fair Share Roadway Repair Act, which requires public utilities to repave and repair roadways that have been altered or excavated by the public utility.

·         The General Assembly passed legislation cracking down on bridge toll violators.

 

 

ANIMALS

 

·         Lawmakers passed legislation requiring all pet shops to provide records to the Department of Environmental Management including breeder information, health certification, license and inspection information for each dog or cat offered for sale.

·         The legislature passed a bill that prevents owners from misrepresenting a pet as a service animal in order to gain access to rights or privileges reserved for disabled individuals with service animals.

·         The General Assembly approved a law that adds pets to domestic violence protective orders.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American troops are heading to the Middle East. President Trump approved a deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after the attack on Saudi oil facilities. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says forces will primarily focus on air and missile defense, adding Saudi Arabia requested the support.        President Trump is looking for nothing less than a complete deal with China. Trump told reporters at the White House that the U.S. is raking in billions of dollars from China in the form of tariffs. Trump insisted that China is "being affected very badly" by the ongoing trade war with the U.S.        Stocks are finishing the week lower after Chinese trade negotiators cut a U.S. visit short. The three major indexes were nearing new record highs before the news broke. The delegation was in the country for talks that were expected to lay the groundwork for high-level negotiations next month.        Two Democratic presidential candidates are heading to Detroit. Reuters reports Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders plan to meet with striking General Motors workers. Warren is scheduled to be with the workers Sunday while Sanders will join them Wednesday.        The New England Patriots are letting go of Antonio Brown. The wide receiver played in just one game for the Patriots after being released by the Raiders. Brown has been making headlines due to an accusation of sexual assault by a former trainer and sending intimidating texts to another woman.        The University of Kansas is reportedly going to receive a notice of allegations against the school's men's basketball team. The Kansas City Star reports the school is among those being investigated by the FBI for running a pay-to-play recruiting scheme. A former Adidas employee testified last year that he made payments on behalf of the athletic company to a Jayhawk player's mom.