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

 

 

§  Ruggerio introduces ‘Harold M. Metts School Safety Act’
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) has introduced legislation (2021-S 0073) to prohibit the possession of firearms on school grounds. Named in honor of its longtime champion in the Senate, The Harold M. Metts School Safety Act of 2021 would allow only peace officers, retired law enforcement officers, and persons under contract to provide school security to carry a firearm on school grounds. Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) will introduce similar legislation in the House.
Click here to see news release.

§  Senate Finance Committee meets to hear pandemic response funding updates
The Senate Finance Committee met virtually to hear updates on federal funding for pandemic response. The committee heard from the Department of Administration on funding updates regarding the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; December 2020 stimulus changes to CARES funding and deadlines; and additional federal aid passed in December and new budget options available to the state.

 

§  Rep. McNamara introduces resolution asking AG to investigate water authority
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and other members of the Kent County House delegation introduced a resolution (2021-H 5030) urging the attorney general to investigate the billing procedures of the Kent County Water Authority. Beginning in October 2020, several water authority customers began receiving bills that were far in excess of what they usually pay. In one incident, customers received a bill that was 455 percent higher than usual, with no explanation provided for the increase.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. O’Brien resolution calls for an end to COVID-19 restaurant time closures

Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) will be introducing a resolution calling for the end to COVID-19 mandated restaurant closing times.  Currently, restaurants and other social businesses are required to close by 10 p.m. during the week and 10:30 p.m. on the weekends. Small business owners have called the closing times arbitrary and devastating to their small businesses.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Martin Luther King Commission’s annual celebration broadcast on Capitol TV

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission’s annual celebration of the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held virtually and broadcast on Capitol Television featuring pre-taped segments from Rhode Island dignitaries explaining what the legacy of Dr. King means to them. The commission and celebration are chaired by Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence).

Click here to watch video.

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is speaking for the first time amid his growing scandals. The Democrat is facing sexual harrassment allegations and claims his administration covered up the true number of COVID deaths in nursing homes. Cuomo is giving his first COVID briefing since last month.       President Biden is green-lighting scaling back who will receive a new round of 14-hundred-dollar stimulus checks in his COVID-19 relief bill. Right now, any individual earning under 75-thousand-dollars a year and couples making less than 150-thousand will get the full amount. Under the compromise, individuals will phase out entirely at 80-thousand dollars and 160-thousand for couples.       Capitol Police say they know of, and are ready to deal with, a possible militia group plot to storm the building again tomorrow. Some of former President Trump's supporters are holding out hope he will take back the office on March 4th, the inauguration date before the 1930s. Capitol Police issued a statement saying they have gotten intelligence of the possible attack and added that major security upgrades have been made since the riot in January.       The Pentagon says a civilian contractor suffered a heart attack and died after ten rockets targeted the Al-Asad U.S. air base in Iraq. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says they are still investigating who is responsible for the attack and they continue assessing the damage. He added that everyone is accounted for and there were "no current reports" of any U.S. service members being hurt.       A city in Texas says it can't prevent coronavirus positive migrants from traveling across the country. Brownsville spokesperson Felipe Romero told FOX News more than 100 of them recently tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving there. Romero says all Border Patrol agents can do is tell them they should quarantine.       Walmart will invest 350-billion dollars over the next decade to sell items made, grown or assembled in the U.S. The retail giant made the announcement Wednesday, adding that it will help to create more than 750-thousand new jobs nationwide. Walmart also expects it to drastically reduce CO2 emissions by making products close to customers.