Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly last week. For more information on any of these items, visit www.rilin.state.ri.us/News.
House passes bills allowing drivers to show
proof of insurance on mobile devices
The House passed two bills (2014-H 7098, 2014-H 7125A) sponsored by Representatives Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) and Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly), respectively, giving motorists the freedom to travel without a paper insurance card as long as they have a form of digital proof of insurance.
Edwards introduces bill to protect
private information on public roadways
Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) introduced legislation (2014-H 7867) to prohibit collection of personal data through surveillance with certain exceptions on any public highway in the state, unless specifically authorized by statute or court order.
Felag proposes 5-cent cut in gasoline tax
Hoping to level the playing field with neighboring Massachusetts and encourage more motorists to purchase their gasoline at Rhode Island service stations, Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) has introduced legislation (2014-S 2027) to reduce the state’s gasoline tax from its current 32 cents per gallon to 27 cents. Rhode Island’s gas tax is about 6 cents per gallon higher than the Bay state’s.
Sosnowski introduces bill to add
wine, beer to farmers markets
Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) has introduced legislation (2014-S 2112) to amend current law so that a farmer-winery and a farmer-brewery may, under certain conditions, be licensed to sell wine and beer for off-premises consumption at farmers markets, similar to what is permitted in Massachusetts.
Jabour urges police chiefs to equip officers with Narcan
As Rhode Island reels from an epidemic of fatal drug overdoses, Sen. Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence) is urging police chiefs across the state to support a proposal to arm all officers with Narcan, a drug that halts opioid overdoses.
McCaffrey legislation would
allow for state income tax refunds exemption
Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) introduced legislation that would allow individuals to subtract state income tax refunds included in their federal adjusted gross income (AGI) where the refund was originally claimed as an itemized deduction for federal income tax purposes. The bills (2014-H 2465, 2014-H 2466) stem from the Rhode Island Special Legislative Commission to Study Installation and Implications of Itemizing State Income Tax Refunds as Federal Deductions report.
Marshall bill backs effort to launch rebirth
of state’s manufacturing industry
The House passed a resolution (2014-H 7785) sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) to support an application by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to the federal Economic Development Administration to create a manufacturing design hub in the Ocean State. The federally funded initiative would bring together innovative manufacturers, entrepreneurs, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and federal research and development centers in the region to re-establish a successful, modern manufacturing industry.