Editor's Note:  Though this is an official News Release of the Legislative Branch of Rhode Island State Government, readers are cautioned that only one side, the legislators' side, of the story is presented here.  Reader discretion is advised.

Feb. 9, 2018

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

 

 

§  State House view from the southSpeaker Mattiello bill would allow partial-fill option on opioid prescriptions
Addressing the opioid epidemic, Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers. The bill (2018-H 7416) would allow a pharmacist to dispense a partial fill of a Schedule II controlled substance at the request of either the patient or the prescriber.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. McNamara wants attendance review teams to combat school absenteeism
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would create attendance review teams in districts and schools where an absenteeism problem has been identified. The bill (2018-H 7040) would direct the state Department of Education to establish a chronic absenteeism prevention and intervention plan by Jan. 1, 2019.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Solomon bill would allow for early voting in Rhode Island
Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would help voters avoid long waits at polling places on Election Day. The bill (2018-H 7501) would create a process for in-person early voting to be conducted at locations determined by local boards of canvassers and approved by the state Board of Elections.
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§  Legislators commit to fight for 2018 ‘Fair Shot Agenda’
Dozens of representatives committed at a State House event to advocate for the 2018 “Fair Shot Agenda,” a set of legislative solutions to address the growing gap between the wealthy and the middle class. The agenda includes a budget that protects people, investments in school facilities to make them safe and appropriate, pay equity, a $15 minimum wage and affordable long-term care and prescription drugs for seniors.
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§  ‘Talking bus’ bill heard in committee
The House Corporations Committee heard legislation (2018-H 7087) sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) to prohibit the operation of the safe turn alert system on “talking” RIPTA buses in residential neighborhoods. Almost as soon as the system went into use last year, Representative Carson says she began hearing from constituents about all the noise they make while operating, which can be as early as 6 a.m.
Click here to see news release.

§  Sen. Metts bill bans housing discrimination based on lawful source of income
Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) has introduced legislation (2018-S 2301) prohibiting landlords from discriminating against tenants or potential tenants on the basis of their lawful source of income. The bill is meant, in large part, to stop landlords from discriminating against those who receive Section 8 housing funds or other types of assistance. Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) has introduced the legislation (2018-H 7528) in the House.
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§  Rep. Shekarchi bill would increase Board of Elections transparency
House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7438) to increase the transparency of the state Board of Elections by making it subject to the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, which would require it to adhere to standards involving public notice and allowing public comment on any changes to its regulations. Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) has introduced the bill (2018-S 2088) in the Senate.

Click here to see news release.

§  Rep. Marshall bill extends good Samaritan law to underage drinking
Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7305) that extends protections under the Good Samaritan Overdose Protection Act to underage persons involved in reporting alcohol-related emergencies. Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) is sponsoring the legislation (2018-S 2024) in the Senate.
Click here to see news release.

 

·         Rep. Filippi calls for greater protection for victims of data breaches

House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7387) requiring companies to notify Rhode Islanders of any security breaches related to their personal information. The bill would require that any company that experiences a security breach notify their customers immediately of the situation without unreasonable delay. Any company failing to do so would be in violation of Rhode Island’s unfair trade practices statute and may face fines up to $150,000 per data breach.

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·         House, Senate finance committees begin hearings on proposed FY 2019 budget

The House and Senate committees on finance began hearings on the proposed FY 2019 budget (2018-H 7200). Both committees heard staff presentations on the proposed budget, as well as hearings devoted to individual budget articles within the proposal. The committees will continue to hear testimony on the proposed budget for the next few months.                        

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hurricane Florence has left behind serious flooding in the Carolinas. President Trump got a firsthand look at the devastation Wednesday, and described it as "epic." Trump called Florence one of the most powerful and devastating storms in U.S. history. Florence is blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people.        The lawyer for the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault says there's no rush to a hearing. A Senate hearing is scheduled Monday to address Ford's claim that Kavanaugh held her down and groped her when they were both teenagers in high school. Christine Blasey Ford's attorney said in a statement that there are multiple witnesses who should be included in the proceeding. Ford does not want to testify unless the FBI investigates the claims.        There are several reports of police officers being shot Wednesday. Two officers are in stable condition at a Baltimore hospital after being shot while executing a drug search warrant at an apartment building. No suspect is in custody in that case. In Los Angeles, two deputies are in stable condition after a shootout that left one suspect dead. In Masontown, Pennsylvania, police shot and killed a suspect who was allegedly firing at people inside an office building. A police officer was among the four people injured in that shooting.        People across the Carolinas could find themselves victims of financial predators, sweeping in after Hurricane Florence. Public watchdog groups say people need to watch out for con artists working four scams that can take in desperate storm victims and those who want to help. Thieves will try to con people into donating to fake charities, rip off homeowners with bogus insurance and grant schemes, price-gouge on rebuilding, and steal people's identity.        A solar observatory in New Mexico is shut down because of a child pornography investigation. The National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico re-opened Monday after being shut down for eleven days. Federal court documents unsealed yesterday show the FBI shut it down while agents investigated a janitor suspected of using the observatory's wi-fi to send and receive child pornography.        The judge in the Bill Cosby assault case is denying a motion to recuse himself. Judge Steven O'Neill is set to sentence the comedian next week on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby's lawyers filed a motion last week arguing that O'Neill was biased because of a personal conflict with a former district attorney who testified that a binding agreement prevented Cosby from being prosecuted. On Wednesday, the motion was dismissed. The 81-year-old icon faces a possible sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison.