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






§  House passes Maldonado bill securing right to counsel in municipal court
The House of Representatives has passed legislation (2017-H 5187aa) introduced by Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) that would require cities and towns to comply with certain procedures when prosecuting defendants, such as the right to counsel, and would amend the penalties imposed for ordinance violations. The bill now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2017-S 0071) has been introduced by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston).
Click here to see news release.




§  House OKs Serpa bill requiring reports of infants affected by substance abuse
The House of Representatives has passed legislation (2017-H 5819) introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would require physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to report to DCYF when a newborn has been exposed to illegal substance abuse, experiences withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure, or has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2017-S 0672) has been introduced by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick).
Click here to see news release.




§  House approves Edwards bill allowing children below 18 into voting booth
The House of Representatives has passed legislation (2017-H 5448) introduced by Majority Whip John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) that would allow children below the age of 18 to accompany adults into the voting booth. The legislation would amend the existing law, which currently allows adults to be accompanied by children below the age of 13.
Click here to see news release.




§  Williams bill that exempts natural hair braiders from license passes House


Rep. Anastasia P. Williams’ (D-Dist. 9, Providence) legislation (2017-H 5436) that would exempt natural hair braiders from the state’s requirement for hairdressers and cosmeticians to be licensed with the state passed the House of Representatives. 


Click here to see news release.




§  House OKs child-proof packaging for e-cig liquid, ban on use on school property


The House approved legislation (2017-H 5876A) filed by Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin to require child-resistant packaging for e-liquid used in electronic nicotine-delivery systems such as e-cigarettes and to ban e-cigarette use on school grounds. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) is sponsoring similar legislation (2017-S 0402).
Click here to see news release.




§  Rep. Amore bill on care for medically fragile students passes House


Rep. Gregg Amore’s (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) legislation (2017-H 5327aa) that would establish standards of practice for school nurses who provide one-on-one care for medically fragile students was passed by the House of Representatives. The bill now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2017-S 0152) has been introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick).


Click here to see news release.




§  House OKs Rep. Azzinaro bill to designate RI Nine Beirut Marines Day


Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro’s (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) bill (2017-H 6061aa) that designates Oct. 23 as a day to commemorate the nine Rhode Island marines killed in the 1983 terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon was passed by the House of Representatives.


Click here to see news release.




§  House OKs Canario bill to make left lanes on highways passing only


The House passed Rep. Dennis M. Canario’s (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) legislation (2017-H 5398) that would fine drivers for using the far-left lane on three-lane highways when not passing another vehicle. The legislation would fine drivers $85 if they are caught driving in the far-left lane without passing cars in the other lanes. 


Click here to see news release.




§  Rep. Keable seeks improvements for power plant siting process
Rep. Cale P. Keable (D-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) testified on bills he is sponsoring to expand the membership of the Energy Facility Siting Board (2017-H 6051) and bar the board from approving any application if any state or municipal agencies that have been asked to provide advisory opinions are unable to do so as a result of the applicant’s failure to provide necessary information (2017-H 5897). He was joined by numerous Burrillville citizens and other concerned community members who testified in support of the legislation, which he filed in response Burrillville’s experience with the proposed Invenergy power plant. Sen. Paul W. Fogarty (D-Dist. 23, Glocester, Burrillville, North Smithfield) is sponsoring the measures (2017-S 0769, 2017-S 0756) in the Senate.
Click here to see news release.


§  Sens. Calkin, Metts, Quezada call for public info on Providence gas rupture
Sen. Jeanine Calkin (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) and Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) are calling on the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management to release information to the public about the health and environmental impacts of the March 29 gas transmission rupture on Allens Avenue in Providence, which released 19 million cubic feet of natural gas, enough to heat 190,000 homes for a day.
Click here to see news release.










President Trump is tweeting about the North Korean move to suspend all nuclear weapons tests. This evening he tweeted, "big progress! Look forward to our Summit." Trump's reaction came less than a hour after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced he will suspend nuclear weapons tests and ballistic missile tests starting on Saturday.        The heroic efforts of a school resource officer who stopped a high school shooter in Florida isn't going unnoticed. Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods says Deputy Jimmy Long took Sky Bouche [[ BOO-shay ]] into custody without incident this morning. Bouche is accused of shooting a 17-year-old student in the ankle at Forest High.        The passengers who were on this week's deadly flight are each getting a total of six-thousand dollars from Southwest Airlines. The five-thousand-dollar checks and thousand-dollar vouchers were given to 144 passengers on Flight 1380, which made an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday. One passenger was killed on the flight when debris broke out a window and partially pulled her out of the plane.        Missouri Governor Eric Greitens [[ GRY-tens ]] is facing not one, but two felony charges. Earlier in the year, Greitens was indicted on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge for allegedly sharing a picture of a nude woman he had an affair with in 2015. Today, he's looking at a second charge for computer tampering. St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office said it had probable cause that he misused a veterans charity's donor list to raise money for his 2016 election campaign.       A Brooklyn mail man is in custody for failing to deliver tens of thousands of pieces of mail dating back over a decade. Postal workers reportedly found 20 bags of mail in Aleksey Germash's car earlier this week, along with thousands more of undelivered mail in his apartment and locker. Germash reportedly told investigators that he was overwhelmed by his workload but did deliver the important stuff.        Swedish musician Avicii is dead at the age of 28. He died this afternoon in Muscat, Oman although, the cause of his death is still unclear. Avicii, also known as Tim Bergling, retired from live performances in 2016 because of health complications.