General Assembly Session to Convene Tuesday

 

STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly opens its 2021 session Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Due to the need for social distance necessitated by COVID-19, the Assembly will not be meeting at the State House, which remains closed to the public.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. In accordance with the state constitution, the senior representative from Newport, Rep. Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown), will preside until the election of a new speaker, which is scheduled after Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea administers the oath of office to the members. Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty will administer the oath to the elected speaker. In November, the House Democratic Caucus endorsed Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) for speaker. Gov. Gina M. Raimondo is also scheduled to offer remarks.

The Senate is scheduled to convene at 4 p.m. in Sapinsley Hall at Rhode Island College in Providence. Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) will preside over its organization, which will include the formal election of president as well as a new president pro tempore and a new deputy president pro tempore. The Senate Democratic Caucus has endorsed President Dominick J. Ruggerio for another term as president. Secretary of State Gorbea will administer the oath of office to members and Governor Raimondo is scheduled to offer remarks to the Senate.

Due to the pandemic, the sessions will not be open to the public. They will be broadcast live by Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox and Full Channel on Channel 15, in high definition on Cox Channel 1013, and on Channel 34 by Verizon and subscribers. The sessions will also be live streamed at www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV.

Space is extremely limited at both venues. Any member of the media who wishes to cover the sessions in person must make arrangements no later than Monday, Jan. 4, at 3 p.m. by contacting Larry Berman at (401) 222-1408 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the House, and Greg Paré at (401) 276-5558 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the Senate.

 

Joe Biden and Kamala [[ COMMA-lah ]] Harris are getting ready to become President and Vice President. They're set to be sworn in just outside the Capitol. Biden was previously Vice President under former President Barack Obama while Harris was a senator from California.       President Trump is wishing the new administration great luck and success. He made those comments during a farewell ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, but did not mention Biden by name. Trump is now in Florida to begin his post-White House life.       Democrats will take control of the Senate today after the swearing in of two new senators from Georgia. Soon-to-be Vice President Kamala [[ COMMA-lah ]] Harris will swear in Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff this afternoon following the inauguration ceremonies.       Today marks one year since the first coronavirus case was reported in the U.S. The report came from Washington state. The virus has now infected more than 24-million Americans and more than 400-thousand have died.       At least two people are dead following an explosion in Spain's capital. Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida told reporters a gas leak may have caused today's blast which pretty much destroyed a building on Toledo Street. Sources tell TeleMadrid the building is used to house Catholic priests and also includes offices, meeting rooms, and a reception center.       Mortgage refinance applications are down five-percent after interest rates rose to their highest level in two months. The national average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose four basis points last week, to two-point-92 percent. Refis [[ ree-fyes ]] still are 87-percent higher than a year ago.