Editor's Note:  Readers are reminded that the following stories were written by people who work for the General Assembly.....

 

 

Feb. 8, 2019

 

           

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

 

 

§  House Oversight gives transportation vendor three weeks to fix problems
The House Committee on Oversight, chaired by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), met Thursday to review hundreds of complaints lodged against a new vendor that provides transportation to Medicaid beneficiaries, the elderly and handicapped. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel gave all parties involved three weeks to correct the problems by the time the Oversight Committee meets again on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. McCaffrey, Rep. Bennett bill seeks to curtail use of plastic soda straws
Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) has introduced legislation to curtail the use of plastic straws in restaurants. The bill (2019-S 0202) would prohibit a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the consumer requests such a straw. Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced similar legislation (2019-H 5314) in the House of Representatives.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Seveney, Rep. Canario bill adds substance abuse fines to DUI
Sen.  James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) and Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton) have introduced legislation (2019-S 0238, 2019-H 5293) that would impose a $300 fine on any conviction of driving under the influence or a violation for refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer. The fines would be used to fund substance abuse programs.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Shanley bill would change funding procedure for career/tech education
Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would overhaul vocational funding, making the procedure fairer and more equitable both to host communities and those sending students out of district. The bill (2019-H 5266) would amend the law governing career and technical education programs to provide standards in curriculum, additional opportunities for students, and would provide certain tuition formulas and reimbursement rates.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Casimiro bill would require gas, electric and cable credits for outages

Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) has reintroduced legislation (2019-H 5313) that would require utility and cable companies to provide bill credits to customers after service is interrupted for 168 hours within a 30-day period. The companies would be prohibited from recovering the cost of the bill credits by instituting a surcharge on the customer, including any rider, adjustment clause or recovery mechanism that is added to a customer’s bill.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Goldin elections bills aimed at increasing access to voting, running for office
Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) introduced a package of elections and campaign finance bills aimed at improving voter access, requiring disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns and making it easier for ordinary people to run for office.
Click here to see news release.

§  Sexual harassment bills introduced in House of Representatives
A package of bills aimed at preventing workplace sexual harassment and discrimination was introduced in the House by members of a legislative commission that studied the issue last year. The bills were sponsored by Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), who led the commission, as well as Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick), Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Deputy Speaker Lima introduces bill to address panhandling problem

Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5330) that would make it a traffic violation with substantial fines for any operator of a motor vehicle or its passengers to pass anything out of a motor vehicle while on any road or highway while still in the active lane of travel.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Slater bill would prohibit firing employees who use medical marijuana

Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5290) that would prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharging or otherwise discriminating against any individual on account of their medical use of marijuana.  It would also make drug testing of prospective employees subject to the protections of the bill.

 

§  Ruggiero bill would create business sustainability designation
Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) introduced legislation to encourage Rhode Island businesses to adopt stronger environmental standards on sustainability. The bill (2019-H 5145) creates a voluntary, flexible program that would allow businesses to earn a sustainability designation by creating their own set of benchmarks for operating sustainably, and publicly reporting annually on their efforts to adhere to them.
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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least four Americans are dead after a series of Sri Lanka bombings on Easter Sunday. Now the Sri Lankan government is admitting that it failed to act on multiple warnings before the series of coordinated bombings. The country's government said a radical Muslim group was responsible for six suicide bombings at Christian churches and luxury hotels that has killed nearly 300 people.        Six people are now confirmed dead following a plane crash in South Central Texas. The Kerr County Sheriff's Office says the aircraft went down this morning in a ravine just outside of Kerrville. The NTSB says the plane was trying to land at Kerrville Municipal Airport when it hit the ground. No word on who was on the plane. Kerrville is an hour west of San Antonio.       Democrat Elijah Cummings says the Trump Organization is using a "baseless lawsuit" to block his request for financial documents. Cummings released a statement today saying there "is no valid legal basis to interfere with this duly authorized subpoena from Congress." Cummings claims the White House has refused to produce a single document or witness to the House Oversight Committee this year.        Jury selection is underway in the trial of a Brooklyn sex cult trial. Keith Raniere [[ ruh-NEER-ee ]], the leader of NXIVM [[ NEX-ee-um ]], is accused of exploiting, branding and starving young women whom he allegedly kept as sex slaves in upstate New York. "Smallville" actress Allison Mack has pleaded guilty to luring the women.       The Fordham University student who died in a tragic fall at the school's clock tower is being buried in New York today. Twenty-two-year-old Sydney Monfries was killed on April 14th, just weeks from graduation, after plunging through a hole in a stairway landing. The clock tower is off limits, but some students say it's been a rite of passage for years for graduating seniors to climb it.        Ukraine has elected a comedian as the new President. Volodymyr Zelenskiy [[ VOLL-ah-duh-meer ZUH-linn-skee ]] won in a landslide over his opponent. Zelenskiy starred in a TV series, "Servant of the People," in which he played a history teacher who is elected president.