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.

Click here to see news release.

 

·         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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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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The White House says an independent inspector general will conduct a new investigation of the FBI and Justice Department. The expanded probe will look for "any irregularities" with the FBI or Justice Department's "tactics" concerning the Trump presidential campaign. Over the weekend, Trump demanded a probe into whether his presidential campaign was infiltrated or surveilled by the FBI for political purposes.        President Trump is giving high marks to the first woman to head the CIA. At a swearing-in ceremony for Gina Haspel [[ HASS-pel ]] yesterday, Trump praised her toughness. He noted Haspel's three decades of work as a CIA operative. Trump said the CIA employs the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet. He said that Haspel will help keep the U.S. safe, proud and free.        Texas Governor Greg Abbott will be hosting a series of roundtables on school safety. The governor announced yesterday the first of the discussion groups happens at the Texas Capitol and will feature education and law enforcement leaders talking how to improve school district security. Two more roundtables are planned for tomorrow and Thursday. The roundtables are happening after last week's deadly attack at Santa Fe High School which left ten dead.       The Trump administration is getting bad reviews for its coin commemorating President Trump's planned summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. One side of the coin released yesterday shows Trump and Kim in profile and the other shows Air Force One flying over the White House. Many critics are panning the description of Kim as Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Trump and Kim are tentatively scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12th but North Korea has recently said Kim might not show up.        A Maryland police officer is dead in the line of duty. The Baltimore County officer was critically injured during an incident yesterday afternoon, transported to a hospital and pronounced dead a short time later. The officer was investigating a possible breaking and entering when she confronted at least one suspect. Police have not released any details about the injuries the officer suffered pending the results of an autopsy.        New data is shedding light on higher suicide rates among young African-American children. A study published this week in the journal, "JAMA," found that the number of black children younger than 13 that take their own lives is twice as much as the number of white children that do. African-American kids ages five to 12 had especially higher suicide rates.