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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Chapman, the beloved wife of "Dog the Bounty Hunter," has died at the age of 51. Chapman passed away today at a hospital in Honolulu after a long battle with throat cancer. Beth's husband Duane posed his goodbye on Twitter this morning, saying, "It's 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain. Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven. We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side."       The House Oversight Committee is sending a subpoena to White House adviser Kellyanne Conway to testify about violations of a federal law known as the Hatch Act. Conway refused a request to testify before the Democratic-led committee. A federal watchdog office recommended that Conway be dismissed for violating the Hatch Act, which guards against overt political activities by government employees.        The U.S. Supreme Court will likely wrap up their current term by releasing two big rulings tomorrow. One of the rulings will be related to a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census. The other will be about partisan gerrymandering, which is the political process of drawing up congressional districts.       Tonight marks the official launch of Democratic presidential debate season. Ten of the Democratic candidates will take the stage tonight while another ten will take the stage tomorrow night at the two-day Miami event. Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren will take center stage at tonight's debate, along with Texas Congressman Beto [[ BEH-toe ]] O'Rourke and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker among others.       The estranged husband of a missing Connecticut woman says his children are constantly on his mind. Speaking outside court today following a child custody hearing, Fotis Dulos added he loves his children and misses them very much. Fotis was in the middle of a custody battle when Jennifer Dulos disappeared on May 24th.       Netflix most watched show in 2018, "The Office," is set to leave the streaming platform in 2021. NBC plans to take back the popular sitcom for its own streaming platform when the current contract with Netflix expires. Netflix made the announcement on Twitter.