Speaker Shekarchi introduces legislation to create life science hub

 

STATE HOUSE – House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi yesterday introduced legislation to create a life science hub in Rhode Island. The legislation (2023-H 6426) would create a new quasi-public corporate body and agency of the state for the express purpose of acting as the central entity and coordinating organization of life science initiatives on behalf of the state.

The Governor’s proposed FY24 budget includes investing $45 million into the life sciences sector for the development of much-needed wet lab incubator spaces. Funds would also be used to support grants, loans, business development and incubation services to grow this sector.

“Rhode Island already has so much of the knowledge needed to make our state a hub for the life sciences: world-class learning institutions and hospitals, which will be key partners in this effort,” said Speaker Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick). “The Governor has included funding to jump-start our efforts in the proposed FY24 budget, and we’re looking forward to the development of new lab space in Providence. This bill creates the entity to facilitate our efforts and catalyze our life science industries. We have seen our neighbors in adjacent states create similar entities; just in Worcester, the biotech cluster has created more than 1,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than one billion dollars. There is no reason Rhode Island cannot become a leader in the bio and life sciences. The workforce development in this industry will help our state retain graduates of our fantastic colleges and universities, which will, in turn, bolster our economy and attract new, high-paying jobs.”

The quasi-public entity would be known as the Rhode Island Life Sciences Hub (RILSH) and would evaluate and potentially invest in Rhode Island-based companies in the life sciences sector that meet vigorous eligibility criteria and promote economic growth and workforce development. It would aim to strengthen the life science sector in Rhode Island and encourage collaboration and innovation among public, private, and academic institutions.

RILSH would be governed by a board of directors composed of highly experienced and dynamic leaders representing life sciences, healthcare, academia, and state government.

In addition to Speaker Shekarchi, the legislation is sponsored by House Majority Leader Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence), House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence, Pawtucket), House Deputy Majority Whip Mia Ackerman (D-Dist.45, Cumberland, Lincoln), Deputy House Speaker Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, North Providence, Providence), House Majority Floor Manager John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), House Corporations Committee Chairman Joseph J. Solomon, Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), and House Innovation, Internet and Technology Committee Chairwoman Jacquelyn Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).

The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee.

 

Former President Donald Trump is in Washington, D.C. huddling with Republican lawmakers. Trump told reporters today Republicans are unified and he expects to take back the White House in November. He said he plans to "bring common sense back to the government" and secure the southern border if he wins the election.        The Supreme Court is keeping widely used abortion pill mifepristone [[ mif-ah-pris-tone ]] available to Americans. The high court unanimously ruled that a group of anti-abortion doctors who challenged the FDA's actions to make mifepristone [[ mif-ah-pris-tone ]] more accessible did not have legal standing to sue and threw out the case. The ruling will allow the pill to be mailed to patients without an in-person doctor's visit.       Wisconsin Republicans are coming to the defense of Donald Trump after the former President allegedly criticized Milwaukee during a meeting with Congressional Republicans. Punchbowl News reported that Trump called Milwaukee a "horrible city." Wisconsin Congressman Derrick Van Orden said Trump was specifically referring to the crime rate in Milwaukee, while Representative Bryan Steil said Trump didn't say the comment at all. This comes as Milwaukee is set to host the Republican National Convention next month.       There are growing fears in the U.S. that the Israeli-Hamas war is widening. This as attacks between Israel and the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah are increasing. The Iran-backed group has been shelling Israel's northern border in retaliation for Israel's assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander. Israel has since sent fighter jets to hit "Hezbollah military structures."       A U.S. Navy submarine is now in Cuba a day after two Russian war ships arrived at the Havana Port. The U.S. Southern Command confirmed the USS Helena arrived at Guantanamo Bay Thursday. It said it's part of a routing port visit and the vessel's location and transit were previously planned. The arrival of a Russian frigate and submarine at the Havana Port has been seen as a show of force by the longtime ally of Cuba, but both the U.S. and Cuba said it posed no threat.       The Eagles are next in line to play the Sphere in Las Vegas. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will play a total of eight shows over four weekends at the cutting edge venue this fall. The residency will kick off on September 20th and end on October 19th. U2 opened the venue last year and have been followed by residencies from Phish and Dead & Company.