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

 

 

§  General Assembly enacts 2025 state budget bill
The General Assembly approved the 2025 state budget bill (2024-H 7225Aaa). 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 measure now moves to the governor’s office.
Click here to see news release.

§  Bill requiring safe storage of firearms is signed into law
Gov. Dan McKee signed 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.
Click here to see news release.

  • LEOBOR reform legislation becomes law with governor’s signature

Gov. Dan McKee signed 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 law was introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Deputy House Speaker Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence). 

Click here to see news release.

 

§  General Assembly approves ADU legislation, other bills to ease housing crisis
Legislators approved and sent to the governor several bills included in the legislative package put forth by Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to address the state’s housing crisis, including the bill to make it easier for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as in-law apartments and granny flats, on their property. The ADU legislation (2024-H 7062A2024-S 2998A) is sponsored by House Commission on Housing Affordability Chairwoman June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) and Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown). The bills are headed to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  HEALTH Initiative bills headed to governor’s desk
Several bills that were included in the Senate leadership’s HEALTH (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) initiative cleared the General Assembly, including bills to join five interstate licensing compacts to make it easier for Rhode Islanders to access the care they need. Two bills sponsored by Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) aimed at addressing the primary care provider shortage by encouraging new providers to choose a career in primary care in Rhode Island were included in the 2025 state budget.
Click here to see news release.

§  Lawmakers OK bill for automatic disaffiliation of independent primary voters
The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-H 76622024-S 2894) introduced by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry) and Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich) making party disaffiliation automatic for registered independent voters who vote in primaries. Current law affiliates independents who vote in a party primary with that party unless they fill out a disaffiliation form after casting their vote. The bill goes to the governor.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  General Assembly approves Edwards, Euer Healthcare Provider Shield Act
The General Assembly approved the Healthcare Provider Shield Act (2024-S 2262A2024-H 7577) introduced by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to protect medical providers who provide transgender and reproductive health care services in Rhode Island from civil or criminal suits from other states or their residents. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
Click here to see news release.

 

  • Assembly OKs Renewable Ready bill
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2293A2024-H 7616A) from Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) to create the Rhode Island Renewable Ready program to aid the construction of renewable energy projects, such as solar farms, on former industrial sites. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.

 

  • Assembly passes bill to expand parental, caregiving leave
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2121Aaa2024-H 7171Aaa) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) and Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) to expand Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance program from six weeks to eight, allowing new parents more time for parental leave and caregivers more time to care for a critically ill family member. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.

 

  • General Assembly OKs bill to extend lookback period for repeat DUI offenses
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2937aa2024-H 7631aa) introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown) and Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would extend the lookback period for repeat offenses of driving under the influence from five to 10 years. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
    Click here to see news release.

 

Former President Trump is explaining his thought process following the assassination attempt against him Saturday. In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Trump said he chose to raise a fist while bleeding because he "knew that history would judge this," and he knew he "had to let them know we are ok."        Attorney General Merrick Garland is canceling travel for the week to focus on the probe into the assassination attempt on former President Trump. That's according to the Justice Department. Garland was supposed to travel to Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Kansas to speak at the National Bar Association and speak with local enforcement in those states.        The son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is speaking out after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump. Martin Luther King the Third spoke with CNN on Sunday, where he said our nation is facing a "dark period" and "must find a way to rise above division, fear and hatred."        The majority of Americans say inflation is a "very serious problem." That's according to a recent YouGov poll, which found that voters are more likely to approve of Donald Trump's handling of the issue rather than President Biden's. The survey also found that for Democrats, the most serious issues that the country faces are gun violence and climate change. Republicans ranked inflation and illegal immigration as the top concerns.       Richard Simmons is dead at the age of 76. The Los Angeles Police Department responded to his home after a housekeeper arrived and found him dead Saturday morning. Initial investigation suggests Simmons died of natural causes. The fitness guru was known for his positivity and enthusiasm, which shone through in his popular workout videos from the '80s.       Bring cash. Bring your credit or debit card. But Target shoppers can now leave their checkbooks at home. As of July 15th, the big retailer will no longer accept personal checks as payment for purchases. It says few shoppers still pay by check, and eliminating the payments will speed up checkout. In addition to cash and plastic, Target shoppers can use digital wallet services like Apple Pay and buy now/pay later services.