June 7, 2019

Legislative Press Bureau at (401) 528-1743

           

 

This 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 Ruggerio’s Plastic Waste Reduction Act
The Senate approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would enact the Plastic Waste Reduction Act. The legislation (2019-S 0410Aaa) is designed to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, which is considering similar legislation (2019-H 5671A) introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate votes to ban housing discrimination against voucher recipients
The Senate approved legislation to ban housing discrimination against tenants or prospective tenants who receive housing subsidies. The legislation (2019-S 0331), sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), adds “lawful source of income” to the list of statuses — such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and marital status — that landlords may not use as a basis for their decisions about to whom they will rent, or which units they will rent to them. Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5137) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate approves ban on 3-D printed guns and other untraceable firearms
The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0084 Aaa) sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to ban 3-D printed firearms and other untraceable or undetectable firearms in Rhode Island, including those violating the federal requirement for serial numbers and those that don’t present an accurate image of their shape in a metal detector. Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5786) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

§  House OKs bill to encourage settlement of lawsuits from 2014 circus accident

The House approved legislation sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to encourage settlements in lawsuits stemming from the 2014 Ringling Brothers circus accident in which eight acrobats were hurt at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. The bill (2019-H 5475A) protects the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority — and ultimately taxpayers — from facing the expense of additional lawsuits resulting from the same incident. The measure now moves to the Senate, which passed a similar bill (2019-S 0494A) sponsored by Sen. Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston).

§  Senate OKs legislation protecting animals in domestic abuse cases
The Senate approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would protect pets in the wake of animal abuse cases. The legislation (2019-S 0225) would expand Family Court jurisdiction to enter protective orders to provide for the safety and welfare of household pets in domestic abuse situations. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5023) has been introduced by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate OKs Miller bill to explore ‘harm reduction center’ pilot
The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0297A) sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) to study the creation of a pilot program to create “harm reduction centers” to help prevent drug overdose deaths. The centers would be supervised facilities for drug users, staffed by health care professionals who could help in cases of overdose and make treatment referrals. Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5545) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate OKs bill to let gay, transgender discharges be recorded as honorable

The Senate approved legislation (2019-S 0837) sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to provide a petition process to have a discharge recorded for state purposes as honorable for members of the armed services who were  discharged due solely to sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Doing so will allow them to receive all state benefits to which honorably discharged veterans are entitled, even if they have previously been denied. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, which has passed similar legislation (2019-H 5443A) introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick).
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate passes bills to address wage gaps
The Senate passed two measures sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) and Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) to help address pay gaps affecting women and members of minority groups. Senator Goldin’s bill (2019-S 0509) would provide protections and transparency in the workplace to help women and people of color demand equal pay for equal work. Senator Goodwin’s bill (2019-S 0172), would collect data from employers of 100 or more people in Rhode Island to help determine industries and areas where pay gaps occur, and their extent.
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate approves bill to allow child care as election expense
The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) to allow candidates for office to use campaign funds for child care while they are participating in elections activities, as federal candidates now can. The bill (2019-H 0323) is designed to make Rhode Island campaign finance law mirror a 2018 Federal Elections Commission decision. Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-H 5736) in the House.
Click here to see news release.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the oil market is resilient and "will respond positively" after a weekend drone attack cut Saudi Arabia's production by half. Perry told delegates to the International Atomic Energy Agency's General Conference in Vienna today that the U.S. is prepared to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Saturday's attack led to the biggest surge in crude oil prices in nearly three decades.       Maine politicians are reacting to a building explosion that left one firefighter dead and six others injured. On Twitter, Senator Angus King said he is "devastated by the news of the serious explosion in Farmington." First responders were checking out a complaint of a propane smell at the LEAP facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities when the blast happened.       The Federal Reserve is expected to reduce interest rates this week and President Trump says it's about time. He tweeted that the U.S. is "paying a MUCH higher Interest Rate than other competing countries" and he blamed the Fed. Trump again attacked Fed Chair Jerome Powell and said Powell doesn't have a clue.       Senator Dick Durbin says the federal government "finally woke up to the reality" of vaping and e-cigarettes as a serious health issue. Speaking today in Chicago, the Illinois Democrat added that vaping flavors such as bubblegum and mango are designed to appeal to children and they do. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she plans to expand the current effort to ban flavors of e-cigarette and vaping products as they threaten to get another generation completely and utterly hooked on nicotine.       A suspected Florida serial killer is now in custody. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says 37-year-old Robert Hayes is believed to be linked to at least three murders in Daytona Beach. Hayes appeared before a judge today on charges of first-degree murder, where his bond was denied.        Fans of Dancing With the Stars will see a switch-up tonight. Christie Brinkley is out and her daughter is in. The 65-year-old supermodel fell and broke her arm during rehearsals and underwent surgery. Her 21-year-old daughter Sailor started rehearsals right away.