June 30, 2017

Legislative Press Bureau at (401) 528-1743


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



§  Bill that protects workers’ pay from unauthorized deductions passes Assembly

Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi’s (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) legislation (2017-H 5932Aaa, 2017-S 0350B) that prohibits employers from making deductions from an employee’s wages without written authorization from the worker passed the General Assembly.  The legislation states that employers cannot deduct wages from a worker for reasons such as spoilage or breakage of equipment or product, any amount of shortages or losses, and fines or penalties for tardiness, misconduct, or quitting without notice.

Click here to see news release.


§  Assembly approves comprehensive human trafficking bill
The General Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) to help prevent human trafficking and apprehend its perpetrators in Rhode Island and across the country. The Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking (2017-S 0073Aaa2017-H 5300A) enacts an approach of strong penalties, protecting and assisting victims and improved public awareness and planning. The bill now goes to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  General Assembly OKs bill to support children who witness violent crime
The General Assembly passed legislation (2017-H 54522017-S 0566) introduced by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) that would expand Rhode Island’s Crime Victim Compensation Program to include support for minors who witness homicides or domestic violence. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
Click here to see news release.


§  Legislature votes for driver’s education course for parents of teen drivers
The General Assembly approved legislation (2017-H 5457Aaa2017-S 0555Aaa) sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to establish a free educational course for parents of students in driver’s education classes. The bill now heads to the governor.
Click here to see news release.


§  Assembly OKs bill to expedite merger of Memorial Hospital, Prime Healthcare

Rep. Raymond H. Johnston, Jr. (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) and Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley’s (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) legislation (2017-H 6284A, 2017-S 0937Aaa) that would streamline the procedure for the approval of mergers of nonprofit hospitals in response to the proposed merger of Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket with Prime Healthcare Foundation passed the General Assembly.

Click here to see news release.


§  Assembly OKs bill giving veteran-owned companies a leg up for state contracts
The General Assembly approved legislation (2017-S 0085A2017-H 5280A) sponsored by Sen. Marc A. Cote (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) and Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) to give veteran-owned small businesses a preference in state purchasing and set a goal that at least 3 percent of the total value of state contracts be awarded to businesses owned by veterans. The bill now goes to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  Lawmakers OK bill enabling at-home learning for lost school days

School districts will have the opportunity to make up lost school days through the use of at-home learning plans under a bill sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and approved by the General Assembly. The bill would enable districts to create plans, approved by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, to make up a snow day or other lost day through lessons that students could complete on their own at home. The bill now goes to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  Assembly votes to study line-item veto, runoff elections for governor
The General Assembly gave its approval to a joint resolution (2017-H 5340A2017-S 0961) sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) to form a joint legislative commission to study the effects of giving the governor line-item veto power and the ramifications of runoff elections for the governor in situations when no candidate receives a majority. Click here to see news release.

§  Bill enhancing transparency of I-195 Commission gets nod
The General Assembly approved legislation (2017-S 0850A2017-H 6300) sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to increase transparency of I-195 Commission meetings by requiring more meetings and discussions be held in public and ethics training for members. The bill will now go to the governor.
Click here to see news release.


§  General Assembly passes bill that extends vehicle expiration dates

Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) and Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy’s (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) legislation (2017-S 0950, 2017-H 6251) that would grant the RI Division of Motor Vehicles administrator the ability to extend expiration dates under certain circumstances that prevent the proper performance of their duties passed the General Assembly. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.






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.











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President Trump says the media is to blame for the fallout after his controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a tweet today, Trump insisted that the summit was a great success. He again accused the mainstream media of being fake and of being the "enemy of the people." Trump said he looks forward to a second meeting with Putin to continue serious discussions on terrorism, cyber attacks, Middle East peace and North Korea.       The President will host a "Pledge to the American Worker" event at the White House today. At a Cabinet meeting yesterday, President Trump said he will be making a "big announcement" on a workforce training initiative. He added that he wants Americans to have choices about jobs. Trump said he wants people to find jobs that they really love.        A North Texas neighborhood is being evacuated as police hunt for two suspects in a bank shooting and robbery. Fort Worth police are focusing on a house which they believe is potentially connected with what happened this morning at Veritex Bank. The house is a couple miles away from the bank where three women were shot. They're expected to survive. No word on any arrests.       Harvey Weinstein's legal counsel is claiming the disgraced movie mogul and Ashley Judd had an agreement to let him touch her. The Los Angeles Times is reporting Weinstein had a bargain that would allow him to touch Judd if she won an Academy Award in one of his films. The information was revealed as Weinstein's attorneys are looking to get a federal judge to drop Judd's defamation lawsuit against him. Judd called the incident a "mock bargain" and a way to exit the situation.        The founder of Papa John's is calling for his company to conduct an investigation into the meeting where he admits to have used the N-word. In a letter to the company's board of directors, John Schnatter said stepping down from his position in the company was a mistake. Schnatter also said during the phone call with a marketing agency, he used the N-word as a way to emphasize how much he hates racism after the agency wanted to hire rapper Kanye West to represent Papa John's.        BMW is launching a new ride-sharing service in Seattle to compete with Uber and Lyft. The program is called Reach Now. Customers can hail a car immediately or schedule a ride up to a week in advance. Trips cost two-dollars-40-cents per mile.