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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American troops are heading to the Middle East. President Trump approved a deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates after the attack on Saudi oil facilities. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says forces will primarily focus on air and missile defense, adding Saudi Arabia requested the support.        President Trump is looking for nothing less than a complete deal with China. Trump told reporters at the White House that the U.S. is raking in billions of dollars from China in the form of tariffs. Trump insisted that China is "being affected very badly" by the ongoing trade war with the U.S.        Stocks are finishing the week lower after Chinese trade negotiators cut a U.S. visit short. The three major indexes were nearing new record highs before the news broke. The delegation was in the country for talks that were expected to lay the groundwork for high-level negotiations next month.        Two Democratic presidential candidates are heading to Detroit. Reuters reports Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders plan to meet with striking General Motors workers. Warren is scheduled to be with the workers Sunday while Sanders will join them Wednesday.        The New England Patriots are letting go of Antonio Brown. The wide receiver played in just one game for the Patriots after being released by the Raiders. Brown has been making headlines due to an accusation of sexual assault by a former trainer and sending intimidating texts to another woman.        The University of Kansas is reportedly going to receive a notice of allegations against the school's men's basketball team. The Kansas City Star reports the school is among those being investigated by the FBI for running a pay-to-play recruiting scheme. A former Adidas employee testified last year that he made payments on behalf of the athletic company to a Jayhawk player's mom.