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

 

 

§ Senate OKs bill requiring safe storage of firearms
The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to require safe storage of firearms in Rhode Island. The bill (2024-S 2202aa) would require that all firearms, when not in use by the owner or another authorized user, be stored in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device properly engaged in order to render the firearm inoperable. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) is sponsoring companion legislation (2024 -H 7373).
Click here to see news release.

 

§ Senate passes Cano bill to increase parental or family leave for Rhode Islanders
The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2467) sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) that increases the amount of parental or family leave available to an employee from 13 weeks to 24 weeks in any two calendar years. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has introduced a similar bill (2024-H 7793).
Click here to see news release.

 

§ Senate passes Sen. Lawson bill to help local wineries

The Senate passed a bill (2024 S-2127) sponsored by Majority Whip Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) that would allow wineries to sell up to three 5-ounce glasses and three 750-milliliter bottles per customer per day on site. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence, Pawtucket) is sponsoring similar legislation (2024 H-7720).

Click here to see news release.

 

§ Bill would boost RI Works, link benefits to federal poverty level
Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) and Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) have introduced legislation to boost benefits for families in the RI Works program and link them to the federal poverty limit so their value keeps pace with the changing economy. The bill (2024-H 7686, 2024-S 2337), which is backed by a large coalition of community groups, aims to make Rhode Island’s cash assistance and work-readiness program for low-income families with children more effective after decades of cuts that have resulted in an 83% reduction in the number of families assisted, compared to the program’s start in 1996.
Click here to see news release.

 

§ Rep. Donovan, Sen. Ujifusa propose tax credit for family caregivers
Sen. Linda L. Ujifusa (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol) and Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) have introduced legislation to help defray some of the monetary expenses faced by family caregivers. The bill (2024-S 23752024-H 7490) would allow eligible Rhode Islanders who live with and care for an elderly or disabled family member to receive an income tax credit equal to 50% of the eligible costs that they incur, with a maximum credit of $1,000.
Click here to see news release.

 

§ LaMountain, Voas bill would make it illegal to charge seniors for paper invoices
Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. Brandon T. Voas (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) have introduced legislation that would make it illegal to charge fees to senior citizens for paper invoices. The bill (2024-S 22782024-H 7940) would prohibit the charging of any fees to a person who is 65 years of age or older for a hard-copy paper bill, invoice or statement. The violation of this provision would be a deceptive trade practice subject to a $500 fine.
Click here to see news release.

 

§ Cano, Alzate legislation would expand Medicare income eligibility
Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) and Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket, Central Falls) have introduced legislation (2024-S 23992024-H 7333) that would expand income eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, helping many lower income seniors and disabled residents to access the crucial health care that they need.
Click here to see news release.

 

§ Cano, Boylan introduce legislation to ban microplastics

Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) and Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) have introduced legislation (2024-H 75152024-S 2300) to ban synthetic polymer microparticles — better known as microplastics — from Rhode Island, as well as direct the Department of Environmental Management to begin a statewide microplastic monitoring and reduction plan.

Click here to see news release.

 

§ Morales legislation to cap the cost of asthma inhalers heard in committee

Rep. David Morales’s (D-Dist. 7, Providence) legislation (2024-H 7518) to cap the cost of prescription asthma inhalers for the insured to $25 per month was heard by the House Committee on health and Human Services.

Click here to see news release.

 

§ Sen. Kallman, Rep. Cortvriend introduce legislation to ban ‘forever chemicals’

Sen. Meghan Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, Providence) and Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) are sponsoring legislation (2024-S 2152, 2024-H 7356) to ban Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), commonly known as “forever chemicals,” from products sold or manufactured in Rhode Island. PFAS are a family of chemicals used in everything from carpets, to frying pan coatings to firefighting foams that have detrimental health effects, especially for pregnant women and children, and have been shown to disrupt fertility and endocrine function.

Click here to see news release.                                                       

 

 

Authorities say one person is dead after the driver of a stolen 18-wheeler intentionally crashed into a Texas DPS office. DPS officials say at least 14 people were hurt after the truck crashed into the office in Brenham. DPS says the driver has been arrested and was angry he was denied a commercial driver's license yesterday.        House Speaker Mike Johnson is appearing alongside Former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago this afternoon. The two are holding a news conference focused on election integrity. The event comes as Johnson faces threats from some conservative Republicans to oust him as speaker if he moves forward with Ukraine funding.        The vice president is in Arizona today to talk about abortion. This comes after the state supreme court upheld a near-total ban on abortions that was put in place 160 years ago. Kamala Harris is in Tucson [[ Too-sahn ]] for an event focusing on the Biden administration's efforts to keep abortion legal.       New data shows which U.S. cities have been hit the hardest by rising inflation. Wallet Hub reports Honolulu, Miami, St. Louis, Seattle, Dallas, and the San Bernardino area in southern California are dealing with inflation rates above the national average. This week, the Labor Department showed inflation rising for the third straight month.       Gas prices keep rising. Triple-A says the average price for regular gas has gone up about 20 cents a gallon over the past month. The national average now sits at three-63. They predict gas prices will get even higher as peak driving season starts and refineries switch to more expensive summer gasoline.       Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter has surrendered to authorities. Ippei Mizuhara [[ EE-pay mizu-HARA ]] is accused of stealing 16 million dollars from the Los Angeles Dodgers superstar to satisfy a sports gambling habit. Mizuhara is now in federal custody and is expected to make his first court appearance on bank fraud charges at 1 p.m. local time in Los Angeles.