June 30, 2017

Legislative Press Bureau at (401) 528-1743


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



§  Bill that protects workers’ pay from unauthorized deductions passes Assembly

Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi’s (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) legislation (2017-H 5932Aaa, 2017-S 0350B) that prohibits employers from making deductions from an employee’s wages without written authorization from the worker passed the General Assembly.  The legislation states that employers cannot deduct wages from a worker for reasons such as spoilage or breakage of equipment or product, any amount of shortages or losses, and fines or penalties for tardiness, misconduct, or quitting without notice.

Click here to see news release.


§  Assembly approves comprehensive human trafficking bill
The General Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Rep. Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) to help prevent human trafficking and apprehend its perpetrators in Rhode Island and across the country. The Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking (2017-S 0073Aaa2017-H 5300A) enacts an approach of strong penalties, protecting and assisting victims and improved public awareness and planning. The bill now goes to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  General Assembly OKs bill to support children who witness violent crime
The General Assembly passed legislation (2017-H 54522017-S 0566) introduced by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) that would expand Rhode Island’s Crime Victim Compensation Program to include support for minors who witness homicides or domestic violence. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
Click here to see news release.


§  Legislature votes for driver’s education course for parents of teen drivers
The General Assembly approved legislation (2017-H 5457Aaa2017-S 0555Aaa) sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to establish a free educational course for parents of students in driver’s education classes. The bill now heads to the governor.
Click here to see news release.


§  Assembly OKs bill to expedite merger of Memorial Hospital, Prime Healthcare

Rep. Raymond H. Johnston, Jr. (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) and Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley’s (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) legislation (2017-H 6284A, 2017-S 0937Aaa) that would streamline the procedure for the approval of mergers of nonprofit hospitals in response to the proposed merger of Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket with Prime Healthcare Foundation passed the General Assembly.

Click here to see news release.


§  Assembly OKs bill giving veteran-owned companies a leg up for state contracts
The General Assembly approved legislation (2017-S 0085A2017-H 5280A) sponsored by Sen. Marc A. Cote (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) and Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) to give veteran-owned small businesses a preference in state purchasing and set a goal that at least 3 percent of the total value of state contracts be awarded to businesses owned by veterans. The bill now goes to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  Lawmakers OK bill enabling at-home learning for lost school days

School districts will have the opportunity to make up lost school days through the use of at-home learning plans under a bill sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and approved by the General Assembly. The bill would enable districts to create plans, approved by the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education, to make up a snow day or other lost day through lessons that students could complete on their own at home. The bill now goes to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

§  Assembly votes to study line-item veto, runoff elections for governor
The General Assembly gave its approval to a joint resolution (2017-H 5340A2017-S 0961) sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) to form a joint legislative commission to study the effects of giving the governor line-item veto power and the ramifications of runoff elections for the governor in situations when no candidate receives a majority. Click here to see news release.

§  Bill enhancing transparency of I-195 Commission gets nod
The General Assembly approved legislation (2017-S 0850A2017-H 6300) sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to increase transparency of I-195 Commission meetings by requiring more meetings and discussions be held in public and ethics training for members. The bill will now go to the governor.
Click here to see news release.


§  General Assembly passes bill that extends vehicle expiration dates

Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) and Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy’s (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) legislation (2017-S 0950, 2017-H 6251) that would grant the RI Division of Motor Vehicles administrator the ability to extend expiration dates under certain circumstances that prevent the proper performance of their duties passed the General Assembly. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.






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.











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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet up again. The White House confirms that Trump asked national Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already happening. While Trump was in Helsinki, he agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs.        The Senate is passing a resolution to ban foreign governments from questioning U.S. officials. The non-binding resolution passed unanimously today. It was passed in response to the possibility that President Trump may allow Russian officials to question a former U.S. ambassador and other Americans.        President Trump is promoting a new workforce training initiative. During a "Pledge to the American Worker" event at the White House today, President Trump said there's never been a better time to "hire and grow in America." He also mentioned the ongoing growth of the U.S. economy.        There are still concerns about the air in one Manhattan neighborhood today's steam pipe explosion in New York, even though Mayor Bill de Blasio says the air is safe to breathe. Testing determined the steam pipe's casing contained asbestos, and anyone who came into contact with debris is being told to bag their clothing, then turn it into Con Edison. Residents who live in the area may not be able to return home until the weekend, and should call NYPD with any urgent needs, such as getting to medicine or pets.       Harvey Weinstein's legal counsel claims there was an agreement between the disgraced movie mogul and Ashley Judd. The Los Angeles Times is reporting Weinstein had a bargain that would allow him to touch Judd if she won an Academy Award in one of his films. The information was revealed as Weinstein's attorneys are looking to get a federal judge to drop Judd's defamation lawsuit against him.        Starbucks is opening its first sign language location in Washington, D.C. The coffee-chain said the store will be staffed with 20-to-25 deaf, hard of hearing and hearing employees from around the country who know fluent sign language. The company said its part of its commitment to inclusion, accessibility and diversity.