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 passes Lawson bill to expand parental, caregiving leave

The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2121) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) that would expand Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program from six weeks to 12. The bill now heads to the House for consideration, where Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7171).

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate approves Britto legislation to improve prescription drug affordability
The Senate approved legislation (2024-S 2720) sponsored by Sen. Robert Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that would improve prescription drug affordability for cancer patients and others with chronic diseases. The bill is part of the Senate’s Rhode Island HEALTH (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) Initiative, a 25-bill legislative package aimed at improving health care access and affordability in Rhode Island. The measure now moves to the House where similar legislation (2024-H 8041) has been introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln).
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§  Senate OKs LaMountain bill that would prohibit noncompetition agreements
The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2436) introduced by Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) that would ban noncompetition agreements except for those between a seller and buyer of a business. A noncompetition agreement is a legal accord or clause in a contract specifying that an employee must not enter into competition with an employer after the employment period is over. The measure now moves to the House, where similar legislation (2024-H 8059) has been introduced by Rep. Jacquelyn M. Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).
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§  Senate passes DiMario bill to continue funding Psychiatry Resource Network

The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2072) sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would provide a stable funding mechanism for a psychiatric resource network for providers treating children and new parents. The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7204).

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§  O’Brien, President Ruggerio introduce bill to stiffen penalties for dog abuse

Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) have introduced legislation (2024-H 8095, 2024-S 2744) that would increase the penalty for violations of the care of dogs statute to a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $1,000 per violation. The care of dogs statute includes regulations on tethering dogs, leaving them outside and providing proper care and nutrition.

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§  Euer bill would help Rhode Islanders pass on their homes without probate

Legislation (2024-S 2027) from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) would allow Rhode Islanders to leave their home to a beneficiary upon their death without the necessity of probate or a trust.

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§  Morales bill increasing the minimum wage toward $20 heard in committee

Rep. David Morales’s (D-Dist. 7, Providence) legislation (2024-H 7579) to increase the state minimum wage to $20 by 2029 and make future increases automatically linked to inflation was heard in committee Wednesday.

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§  Rep. Boylan aims to modernize school safety drill laws

Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) introduced legislation (2024-H 8102) to clarify the gaps in Rhode Island law regarding school safety drills in order to ensure students and staff are prepared for emergencies while minimizing the interruption to instruction and the traumatic effects of training drills on staff and students.

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§  RIBLIA Caucus announces 2024 policy agenda

The Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus (RIBLIA) released its 2024 legislative policy agenda at a press conference in the Senate Lounge. The caucus is chaired by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket).  The 24-bill legislative package represents RIBLIA’s continued commitment to lifting up the downtrodden, defending the marginalized and ensuring a fair and equitable society for all Rhode Islanders.

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§  House of Representatives honors actress Kali Reis

A panel of state representatives led by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) honored actress and East Providence native Kali Reis with a community hero award for her support and advocacy on behalf of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, a grassroots movement to raise awareness through organizing marches, building databases of the missing, and conducting domestic violence trainings and other informational sessions for police.

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.