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

 

 

§  Budget bill advances
The 2025 state budget bill (2024-H 7225A), which was approved by the House Finance Committee May 31, is slated to come before the House for consideration June 7. The $13.947 billion budget directs additional funding toward education and children, raises Medicaid reimbursement rates and includes a $120 million affordable housing bond. The budget is $60 million less than it is in the current fiscal year, reflecting an end in federal pandemic aid. Following House passage, the bill must also pass the Senate before being sent to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  Assembly approves bill requiring safe storage of firearms
The General Assembly has approved legislation (2024-S 2202aa, 2024-H 7373A) sponsored by Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to require safe storage of firearms in Rhode Island. The legislation now heads to Gov. Daniel McKee, who supports the bill.
Click here to see news release.

  • General Assembly OKs LEOBOR reform legislation

The General Assembly passed the Law Enforcement Officers’ Due Process, Accountability and Transparency Act (2024-H 7263Aaa, 2024-S 2096Aaa) which will bring significant and long-overdue reforms to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).  The bills were introduced by Deputy Speaker Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence).  The legislation now heads to the governor’s office.

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  • Assembly passes Ruggerio, O’Brien bill to stiffen penalties for dog abuse

The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2744, 2024-H 8095) sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) 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. The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.

Click here to see news release

 

  • Assembly OKs Casimiro, Ciccone bill protecting workers’ health coverage

The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-H 7795B, 2024-S 2901B) sponsored by Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) and Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, Johnston) that prohibits contractors and subcontractors from paying employees the cash equivalent of any applicable health care benefit in lieu of actually purchasing the health care benefit. The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.

Click here to see news release

 

§  Assembly OKs bill banning noncompete clauses for nurse practitioners
The General Assembly has approved legislation (2024-S 22202024-H 7696) sponsored by Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) to prohibit noncompete clauses in employment contracts for nurse practitioners. The legislation, which now goes to the governor’s desk, gives nurse practitioners a protection that physicians have and is intended to address a factor contributing to the state’s shortage of primary care providers.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  General Assembly OKs bill to create ‘Blue Envelope Program’
The General Assembly approved legislation from Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) and Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) to create a voluntary “Blue Envelope Program” for drivers with autism to improve communication between them and law enforcement during traffic stops. The legislation (2024-H 7040A2024-S 2481A) now heads to the governor’s desk.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Assembly approves bill to educate buyers of shoreline property of right to access
The General Assembly has approved legislation from Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) and Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) to improve disclosure of shoreline access rights and related conditions during the sale of oceanfront property. The legislation (2024-S 2185A2024-H 7376A) now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  General Assembly approves e-bike bill
The General Assembly voted to approve legislation from Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to expand the legal use of electric bicycles in Rhode Island by modernizing their classification and regulation. The legislation (2024-H 7713A2024-S 2829A) now heads to the governor’s desk.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Assembly approves consumer protection bill for solar industry
The General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by House Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman and Sen. Jacob Bissaillon to protect consumers and ensure a healthy solar industry by regulating businesses selling home solar systems. The legislation (2024-H 7603A2024-S 2801Aaa) now goes to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

Click here to see news release.

 

 

Anxiety among Democrats about President Biden's campaign is growing by the day. "The Washington Post" reports former President Obama told his allies Biden needs to "seriously consider the viability of his candidacy." Meanwhile, "Axios" reports Biden may be persuaded by Democratic party leaders and close friends to drop out of the race by this weekend.        The Republican National Convention reaches its climax tonight with a speech by Presidential Nominee Donald Trump. The week has been unlike any other in Convention history as it started right after the assassination attempt of Trump. It included the naming of JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate and a massive security presence throughout the Milwaukee area.        Police have discovered a social media post by the shooter behind former President Trump's assassination attempt in Pennsylvania that hinted at the attack. Thomas Crooks posted on the gaming social media platform Steam "July 13th will be my premiere, watch as it unfolds." That's according to Fox News.       More Americans than expected are seeking unemployment benefits. The Labor Department says it received 243-thousand initial requests for the week ending July 13th. That's up from the previous week's revised total of 223-thousand and more than the 229-thousand most analysts were expecting today.       President Biden is announcing another round of student debt forgiveness. This time around, it's one-point-two-billion-dollars in relief for public sector workers like teachers, nurses and firefighters. Borrowers can qualify through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Meantime, Republicans are leading legal challenges to the administration's earlier debt forgiveness efforts.       The lawyer for former Broncos player Terrell Davis says United Airlines' apology to the NFL Hall of Famer is not enough. Davis was taken off a flight from Denver to California in handcuffs last week after an incident with a flight attendant. United apologized to the athlete and said it removed the flight attendant from duty while they "closely review this matter." His attorney says legal action is being considered.