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.

 

 

 

-30-

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The House Judiciary Committee is moving toward votes on two articles of impeachment against President Trump later today or tonight. Trump is accused of abusing his power and obstructing Congress in the Ukraine scandal. Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson called it an impeachment charade. Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin accused Republicans of falsely pushing a big distraction, that it was Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.       House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is promising that if voters give Republicans the majority, they will never repeat the rush to impeachment that is currently underway. The California Republican said that the GOP will govern responsibly. He criticized Democrats for how they've handled impeaching President Trump.       Stocks are at or near record highs amid news of a possible trade deal with China. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the U.S. is agreeing to not impose tariffs that were scheduled to start Sunday, if the Chinese agree to purchase more U.S. goods. President Trump also tweeted he is very close to a big deal with China.       New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal [[ grr-BEER gray-WALL ]] says it appears the Jersey City shooters held anti-Semitic and anti-police views. Investigators are reviewing surveillance video and social media accounts linked to the suspects to try and determine why the kosher supermarket and law enforcement were specifically targeted on Tuesday.        Those killed in the mass shooting at Naval Air Station-Pensacola in Florida are being honored posthumously. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly announced this week that the Wings of Gold have been presented to the families of Joshua Watson, Mohammed Haitham and Cameron Walters. Modly says the three were among the first to respond to last week's horrific attack and they represent the highest virtues of naval aviation.        The Department of Justice is accusing ten former NFL players of submitting false claims for medical equipment, including some for treating horses and pregnant women. The Eastern District of Kentucky is claiming the players filed the claims seeking reimbursements on three-point-nine-million-dollars worth of medical equipment that they never actually bought.