Editor's Note:  Though this is an official News Release of the Legislative Branch of Rhode Island State Government, readers are cautioned that only one side, the legislators' side, of the story is presented here.  Reader discretion is advised.

Feb. 9, 2018

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

 

 

§  State House view from the southSpeaker Mattiello bill would allow partial-fill option on opioid prescriptions
Addressing the opioid epidemic, Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would give patients the option of only partially filling their prescription for painkillers. The bill (2018-H 7416) would allow a pharmacist to dispense a partial fill of a Schedule II controlled substance at the request of either the patient or the prescriber.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. McNamara wants attendance review teams to combat school absenteeism
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation that would create attendance review teams in districts and schools where an absenteeism problem has been identified. The bill (2018-H 7040) would direct the state Department of Education to establish a chronic absenteeism prevention and intervention plan by Jan. 1, 2019.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Solomon bill would allow for early voting in Rhode Island
Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would help voters avoid long waits at polling places on Election Day. The bill (2018-H 7501) would create a process for in-person early voting to be conducted at locations determined by local boards of canvassers and approved by the state Board of Elections.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Legislators commit to fight for 2018 ‘Fair Shot Agenda’
Dozens of representatives committed at a State House event to advocate for the 2018 “Fair Shot Agenda,” a set of legislative solutions to address the growing gap between the wealthy and the middle class. The agenda includes a budget that protects people, investments in school facilities to make them safe and appropriate, pay equity, a $15 minimum wage and affordable long-term care and prescription drugs for seniors.
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§  ‘Talking bus’ bill heard in committee
The House Corporations Committee heard legislation (2018-H 7087) sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) to prohibit the operation of the safe turn alert system on “talking” RIPTA buses in residential neighborhoods. Almost as soon as the system went into use last year, Representative Carson says she began hearing from constituents about all the noise they make while operating, which can be as early as 6 a.m.
Click here to see news release.

§  Sen. Metts bill bans housing discrimination based on lawful source of income
Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) has introduced legislation (2018-S 2301) prohibiting landlords from discriminating against tenants or potential tenants on the basis of their lawful source of income. The bill is meant, in large part, to stop landlords from discriminating against those who receive Section 8 housing funds or other types of assistance. Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) has introduced the legislation (2018-H 7528) in the House.
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§  Rep. Shekarchi bill would increase Board of Elections transparency
House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7438) to increase the transparency of the state Board of Elections by making it subject to the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, which would require it to adhere to standards involving public notice and allowing public comment on any changes to its regulations. Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) has introduced the bill (2018-S 2088) in the Senate.

Click here to see news release.

§  Rep. Marshall bill extends good Samaritan law to underage drinking
Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7305) that extends protections under the Good Samaritan Overdose Protection Act to underage persons involved in reporting alcohol-related emergencies. Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) is sponsoring the legislation (2018-S 2024) in the Senate.
Click here to see news release.

 

·         Rep. Filippi calls for greater protection for victims of data breaches

House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7387) requiring companies to notify Rhode Islanders of any security breaches related to their personal information. The bill would require that any company that experiences a security breach notify their customers immediately of the situation without unreasonable delay. Any company failing to do so would be in violation of Rhode Island’s unfair trade practices statute and may face fines up to $150,000 per data breach.

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·         House, Senate finance committees begin hearings on proposed FY 2019 budget

The House and Senate committees on finance began hearings on the proposed FY 2019 budget (2018-H 7200). Both committees heard staff presentations on the proposed budget, as well as hearings devoted to individual budget articles within the proposal. The committees will continue to hear testimony on the proposed budget for the next few months.                        

 

 

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The FAA is ordering fan blade inspections on common airplane engines after one exploded and killed a woman on a Southwest Airlines flight Tuesday. The in-flight explosion blew out a window and killed a passenger who was pulled partway out of the airplane. The FAA announcement late yesterday comes nearly a year after the company that built the engine recommended additional inspections.        President Trump will be leaving West Palm Beach to visit Key West, Florida today. His two-hour visit will include a tour of Naval Air Station Key West-Truman Annex on Boca Chica Key. In addition, the President and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen [[ KIRST-jen ]]Nielsen will be briefed on the activities of an interagency drug task force.        Possible charges in the death of Prince could be filed today. Carver County, Minnesota Attorney Mark Metz will announce his decision soon on whether to charge anyone in the musician's death. The announcement comes two years after the music icon's body was found in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate. Prince died of a massive overdose of fentanyl in April of 2016.        A Celebration of Life for former First Lady Barbara Bush will take place in Houston this evening. The gathering begins tonight outside City Hall. The mayor's office says the event will feature comments and prayers from multiple faith leaders, the reading of a poem, and other tributes. She passed away at the age of 92.        There's a new Cuban president, and his name isn't Castro. Miguel Diaz-Canel was named president today, one day after a vote in the country's National Assembly. It's the first time in almost 60 years that a Castro isn't leading the country. Diaz-Canel was selected as the unopposed candidate to replace Raul Castro, brother of the late Fidel Castro.        Senator Bernie Sanders says Cardi B is right when it comes to social security. The "Bodak Yellow" rapper said in a "GQ" interview last week former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt was "the real 'Make America Great Again'" because he created Social Security. The Vermont Independent and former presidential candidate said on Twitter yesterday that he agrees with her, and that the federal insurance program needs to be strengthened in order to make America great.