State House view from the southThis 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 Lawson bill to expand parental, caregiving leave

The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2121) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) that would expand Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program from six weeks to 12. The bill now heads to the House for consideration, where Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7171).

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§  Senate approves Britto legislation to improve prescription drug affordability
The Senate approved legislation (2024-S 2720) sponsored by Sen. Robert Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that would improve prescription drug affordability for cancer patients and others with chronic diseases. The bill is part of the Senate’s Rhode Island HEALTH (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) Initiative, a 25-bill legislative package aimed at improving health care access and affordability in Rhode Island. The measure now moves to the House where similar legislation (2024-H 8041) has been introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln).
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§  Senate OKs LaMountain bill that would prohibit noncompetition agreements
The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2436) introduced by Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) that would ban noncompetition agreements except for those between a seller and buyer of a business. A noncompetition agreement is a legal accord or clause in a contract specifying that an employee must not enter into competition with an employer after the employment period is over. The measure now moves to the House, where similar legislation (2024-H 8059) has been introduced by Rep. Jacquelyn M. Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).
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§  Senate passes DiMario bill to continue funding Psychiatry Resource Network

The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2072) sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would provide a stable funding mechanism for a psychiatric resource network for providers treating children and new parents. The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7204).

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§  O’Brien, President Ruggerio introduce bill to stiffen penalties for dog abuse

Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) have introduced legislation (2024-H 8095, 2024-S 2744) that would increase the penalty for violations of the care of dogs statute to a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $1,000 per violation. The care of dogs statute includes regulations on tethering dogs, leaving them outside and providing proper care and nutrition.

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§  Euer bill would help Rhode Islanders pass on their homes without probate

Legislation (2024-S 2027) from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) would allow Rhode Islanders to leave their home to a beneficiary upon their death without the necessity of probate or a trust.

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§  Morales bill increasing the minimum wage toward $20 heard in committee

Rep. David Morales’s (D-Dist. 7, Providence) legislation (2024-H 7579) to increase the state minimum wage to $20 by 2029 and make future increases automatically linked to inflation was heard in committee Wednesday.

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§  Rep. Boylan aims to modernize school safety drill laws

Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) introduced legislation (2024-H 8102) to clarify the gaps in Rhode Island law regarding school safety drills in order to ensure students and staff are prepared for emergencies while minimizing the interruption to instruction and the traumatic effects of training drills on staff and students.

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§  RIBLIA Caucus announces 2024 policy agenda

The Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus (RIBLIA) released its 2024 legislative policy agenda at a press conference in the Senate Lounge. The caucus is chaired by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket).  The 24-bill legislative package represents RIBLIA’s continued commitment to lifting up the downtrodden, defending the marginalized and ensuring a fair and equitable society for all Rhode Islanders.

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§  House of Representatives honors actress Kali Reis

A panel of state representatives led by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) honored actress and East Providence native Kali Reis with a community hero award for her support and advocacy on behalf of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, a grassroots movement to raise awareness through organizing marches, building databases of the missing, and conducting domestic violence trainings and other informational sessions for police.

Click here to see news release.                                                      

 

 

The Biden administration is announcing over seven-billion dollars student loan forgiveness. The debt relief includes over five-billion dollars for those pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and about two-billion for students enrolled in income-driven repayment plans. The Biden administration has so far forgiven about 167-billion dollars in student aid.       Multiple tornado deaths are being reported in Iowa. The Iowa State Patrol says numerous fatalities have been confirmed in the town of Greenfield, but that the exact number isn't expected to be released until later today. Police say about a dozen other people were injured and that search efforts are ongoing.        Fulton County District Attorney Fani [[ Fahn-ee ]] Willis emerged victorious in her Georgia Democratic primary. Willis is handling the election interference case against former President Trump. The judge overseeing the Trump case, Scott McAfee, was also projected to win his race.        A new lawsuit accuses former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of using excessive force in the arrest of two individuals in 2020, months before he killed George Floyd while also trying to make an arrest. The lawsuit goes on to accuse a second officer of failure to intervene at the time. The police bodycam footage of the arrest was made public on Tuesday.        A hearing is set for today in Memphis on a claim by Elvis Presley's granddaughter that the upcoming foreclosure sale of Graceland is a fraudulent scheme. In a lawsuit filed this week, Riley Keough alleges that the creditor's paperwork on a three-point-eight-million-dollar loan to Graceland is fraudulent, and that the signatures are forged.        The Boston Celtics toppled the Indiana Pacers 133-128 in overtime in Game One of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Jayson Tatum led the charge with 36 points and 12 rebounds to help the Celtics take a 1-0 series lead. The two teams will return to the hardwood for Game Two on Thursday in Boston. The Western Conference Finals begin today with the Minnesota Timberwolves playing host to the Dallas Mavericks.