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

 

 

§  Budget bill advances
The 2025 state budget bill (2024-H 7225A), which was approved by the House Finance Committee May 31, is slated to come before the House for consideration June 7. The $13.947 billion budget directs additional funding toward education and children, raises Medicaid reimbursement rates and includes a $120 million affordable housing bond. The budget is $60 million less than it is in the current fiscal year, reflecting an end in federal pandemic aid. Following House passage, the bill must also pass the Senate before being sent to the governor.
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§  Assembly approves bill requiring safe storage of firearms
The General Assembly has approved legislation (2024-S 2202aa, 2024-H 7373A) sponsored by Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to require safe storage of firearms in Rhode Island. The legislation now heads to Gov. Daniel McKee, who supports the bill.
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  • General Assembly OKs LEOBOR reform legislation

The General Assembly passed the Law Enforcement Officers’ Due Process, Accountability and Transparency Act (2024-H 7263Aaa, 2024-S 2096Aaa) which will bring significant and long-overdue reforms to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).  The bills were introduced by Deputy Speaker Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence).  The legislation now heads to the governor’s office.

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  • Assembly passes Ruggerio, O’Brien bill to stiffen penalties for dog abuse

The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2744, 2024-H 8095) sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) that would increase the penalty for violations of the care of dogs statute to a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $1,000 per violation. The care of dogs statute includes regulations on tethering dogs, leaving them outside and providing proper care and nutrition. The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.

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  • Assembly OKs Casimiro, Ciccone bill protecting workers’ health coverage

The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-H 7795B, 2024-S 2901B) sponsored by Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) and Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, Johnston) that prohibits contractors and subcontractors from paying employees the cash equivalent of any applicable health care benefit in lieu of actually purchasing the health care benefit. The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.

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§  Assembly OKs bill banning noncompete clauses for nurse practitioners
The General Assembly has approved legislation (2024-S 22202024-H 7696) sponsored by Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) to prohibit noncompete clauses in employment contracts for nurse practitioners. The legislation, which now goes to the governor’s desk, gives nurse practitioners a protection that physicians have and is intended to address a factor contributing to the state’s shortage of primary care providers.
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§  General Assembly OKs bill to create ‘Blue Envelope Program’
The General Assembly approved legislation from Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) and Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) to create a voluntary “Blue Envelope Program” for drivers with autism to improve communication between them and law enforcement during traffic stops. The legislation (2024-H 7040A2024-S 2481A) now heads to the governor’s desk.
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§  Assembly approves bill to educate buyers of shoreline property of right to access
The General Assembly has approved legislation from Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) and Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) to improve disclosure of shoreline access rights and related conditions during the sale of oceanfront property. The legislation (2024-S 2185A2024-H 7376A) now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

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§  General Assembly approves e-bike bill
The General Assembly voted to approve legislation from Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to expand the legal use of electric bicycles in Rhode Island by modernizing their classification and regulation. The legislation (2024-H 7713A2024-S 2829A) now heads to the governor’s desk.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Assembly approves consumer protection bill for solar industry
The General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by House Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman and Sen. Jacob Bissaillon to protect consumers and ensure a healthy solar industry by regulating businesses selling home solar systems. The legislation (2024-H 7603A2024-S 2801Aaa) now goes to the governor’s desk for his consideration.

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The Supreme Court is repealing a ban on "bump stocks." The court ruled Friday that the firearm accessory that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly can't be included in a 1934 law banning machine guns. The decision was 6-3 on ideological lines, striking down a regulation imposed during the Trump administration. Despite the ruling, bump stocks remain illegal in 18 states.       The worst of the severe weather hitting South Florida looks to be over. Governor Ron DeSantis says more rain is on the way, but he believes it will be closer to regular afternoon showers that residents usually experience this time of year. DeSantis had declared a state of emergency earlier in the week as the rains flooded streets and stranded drivers. Damage assessments are still underway. Officials add the good news is no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.       Stocks are closing with the Nasdaq hitting a record high to finish off the week. A decline in consumer sentiment weighed on markets with the University of Michigan's early reading for June coming in below estimates. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 57 points to 38-589. The S&P 500 lost 2 points to 54-31. The Nasdaq rose 21 points to 17-688.       The scene of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school mass shooting is torn down. The demolition of the classroom building where 17 people were killed in the 2018 Florida shooting started this morning. The victims' families were invited to watch the first blows and hammer off a piece themselves if they choose. The building had been preserved to serve as evidence at the shooter's 2022 penalty trial. He is spending life behind bars.       One person is facing charges and two others are at large after allegedly burning American and Israeli flags in New York City. Police arrested Jahki Lodgson-McCray and charged him with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, failure to use a sidewalk and menacing. On Wednesday Lodgson-McGray and two others allegedly set fire to the flags outside the Consulate General of Israel in an act of pro-Palestinian protest.       The U.S. Coast Guard says its investigation into the Titan submersible implosion is taking longer than expected. The submersible imploded and killed all five people aboard as it made its way down to the wreckage site of the Titanic last June. The Coast Guard had said it would release a report on the investigation within a year. The Coast Guard pinned the delay on "the need to contract two salvage missions to secure vital evidence and the extensive forensic testing required."