Editor's Note:  Readers are reminded that the following stories were written by people who work for the General Assembly.....

 

 

Feb. 8, 2019

 

           

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

 

 

§  House Oversight gives transportation vendor three weeks to fix problems
The House Committee on Oversight, chaired by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), met Thursday to review hundreds of complaints lodged against a new vendor that provides transportation to Medicaid beneficiaries, the elderly and handicapped. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel gave all parties involved three weeks to correct the problems by the time the Oversight Committee meets again on Thursday, Feb. 28.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. McCaffrey, Rep. Bennett bill seeks to curtail use of plastic soda straws
Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) has introduced legislation to curtail the use of plastic straws in restaurants. The bill (2019-S 0202) would prohibit a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the consumer requests such a straw. Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced similar legislation (2019-H 5314) in the House of Representatives.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Seveney, Rep. Canario bill adds substance abuse fines to DUI
Sen.  James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) and Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton) have introduced legislation (2019-S 0238, 2019-H 5293) that would impose a $300 fine on any conviction of driving under the influence or a violation for refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer. The fines would be used to fund substance abuse programs.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Shanley bill would change funding procedure for career/tech education
Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would overhaul vocational funding, making the procedure fairer and more equitable both to host communities and those sending students out of district. The bill (2019-H 5266) would amend the law governing career and technical education programs to provide standards in curriculum, additional opportunities for students, and would provide certain tuition formulas and reimbursement rates.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Casimiro bill would require gas, electric and cable credits for outages

Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) has reintroduced legislation (2019-H 5313) that would require utility and cable companies to provide bill credits to customers after service is interrupted for 168 hours within a 30-day period. The companies would be prohibited from recovering the cost of the bill credits by instituting a surcharge on the customer, including any rider, adjustment clause or recovery mechanism that is added to a customer’s bill.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Goldin elections bills aimed at increasing access to voting, running for office
Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) introduced a package of elections and campaign finance bills aimed at improving voter access, requiring disclosure of presidential candidates’ tax returns and making it easier for ordinary people to run for office.
Click here to see news release.

§  Sexual harassment bills introduced in House of Representatives
A package of bills aimed at preventing workplace sexual harassment and discrimination was introduced in the House by members of a legislative commission that studied the issue last year. The bills were sponsored by Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), who led the commission, as well as Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick), Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Deputy Speaker Lima introduces bill to address panhandling problem

Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5330) that would make it a traffic violation with substantial fines for any operator of a motor vehicle or its passengers to pass anything out of a motor vehicle while on any road or highway while still in the active lane of travel.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Slater bill would prohibit firing employees who use medical marijuana

Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5290) that would prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharging or otherwise discriminating against any individual on account of their medical use of marijuana.  It would also make drug testing of prospective employees subject to the protections of the bill.

 

§  Ruggiero bill would create business sustainability designation
Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) introduced legislation to encourage Rhode Island businesses to adopt stronger environmental standards on sustainability. The bill (2019-H 5145) creates a voluntary, flexible program that would allow businesses to earn a sustainability designation by creating their own set of benchmarks for operating sustainably, and publicly reporting annually on their efforts to adhere to them.
Click here to see news release.

 

 

 

-30-

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mueller report is finally out and it claims President Trump made repeated efforts to obstruct the investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election, but he was unsuccessful because many of his staff refused to follow through with his orders. One example is that Trump called White House Counsel Don McGhan and demanded he fire Robert Mueller, but McGhan wouldn't do it, offering his resignation instead.       White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is defending herself after the Mueller report confirmed she made misstatements to the media. After former FBI James Comey was fired by President Trump, Sanders said that countless FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey. In interviews with the Special Counsel team, she admitted she had no basis for saying that, claiming it was a slip of the tongue said in the heat of the moment. On Thursday, she appeared on Fox News' Hannity and said her statement was not false.       There are more details about the man arrested after carrying gasoline and lighter fluid inside New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Marc Lamparello of New Jersey had recently purchased a one-way ticket to Italy hours before he was arrested. He was charged on Thursday with attempted arson, reckless endangerment and trespassing. The 28-hundred dollar ticket to Rome was set to depart on Thursday afternoon.       More than two million dollars in donations have been raised to help rebuild three black churches in Louisiana. Donations came in from every state and more than 40 countries. The churches were the victims of arson. The adult son of a deputy sheriff has been accused of being behind the fires.        A new study is claiming that picking out a man who will cheat on his wife is easy, but trying to identify a woman who will cheat is not. University of Western Australia researchers asked men and women to try to pick out who was a definite cheater out of a couple hundred photos. With the men, they were spot on. But both genders had trouble correctly identifying which women said they cheated and which did not. The study was published this week in the Royal Society Open Science.       Kate Smith's version of "God Bless America" is out at New York Yankees games this year. The team has been playing her 1939 version of the Irving Berlin classic since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. It went to a different version this year after the team became aware that Smith also sang some racist songs, including "Pickaninny Heaven."