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.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.
House passes McNamara bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in schools
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2018-H 7041) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would require all school buildings where students are in attendance to have carbon monoxide detectors installed and maintained. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2018-S 2179) has been introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).
House OKs Solomon bill prohibiting development on State House grounds
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2018-H 7072) introduced by Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) that would prohibit the development of any land contiguous to the State House unless approved by the General Assembly. The measure now heads to the Senate, where similar legislation (2018-S 2240) has been introduced by Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton).
Speaker Mattiello, Sen. Gallo introduce drug-induced homicide legislation
Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) have introduced legislation (2018-H 7715,2018-S 2279)that specifies drug-induced homicide as murder, carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison. If enacted, the act would be named Kristen’s Law in honor of Kristen Coutu, who was killed by taking a deadly dose of fentanyl in 2014.
Rep. Serpa bill would ban sales of dogs, cats not acquired from shelter
The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare heard testimony on legislation (2018-H 7477) introduced by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet shops, except those that have come from an animal shelter, dog pound or animal rescue.
Rep. Diaz, Sen. Crowley submit tiered-rate quality child care bill
Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) and Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) introduced legislation (2018-H 7148,2018-S 2120) that would increase Child Care Assistance Program rates and establish a tiered reimbursement rate structure for all age groups (infants to age 12). All child care providers would receive an increase with larger increases for higher quality programs.
Red Flag bill would disarm those showing warning signs of potential violence
Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton), Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) filed legislation (2018-H 7688, 2018-S 2492, 2018-H 7763) that would create a means for courts to disarm people whose behavior is believed by authorities to pose a serious threat to others or themselves. The measure is cosponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence).
Bills introduced to ban assault weapons, prohibit gun sales to people under 21
Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) and Rep. Jason Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren) introduced legislation (2018-S 2493,2018-H 7766) to ban assault weapons, like the one used in the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla, and other tragic mass shootings. Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren), Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) introduced various bills (2018-H 7714, 2018-H 7761, 2018-H 7863) to ban the sale of firearms to people under age 21 and restrict their possession of them to supervised, specified activities.
Sen. Goodwin bill would make sexual abuse reporting law more effective
Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) has introduced legislation (2018-S 2353) to make a 2016 law she sponsored to require school officials to report sexual abuse to the Department of Children Youth and Families more effective. The bill clarifies the circumstances in which a person should raise a flag about possible abuse, and would also designate school principals and headmasters or another leader designated by the school as the person who should make the report.
Sen. Euer, Rep. Carson denounce federal plan to drill offshore
Opening nearly all of the United States coasts to oil and gas drilling would knock the United States backward in environmental protection and sustainability and could have catastrophic effects on the Ocean States environment and economy, said Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). The legislators spoke at a State House rally protesting a federal plan to open up nearly all of the United States coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling. They are sponsoring legislation (2018-H 7250,2018-S 2116) to stymie oil drilling off Rhode Island by banning terminals and other related equipment onshore, and banning drilling within the first three nautical miles from the shore, which is under state jurisdiction.
Sen. Picard bill would allow more patients to synch prescription refill dates
Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) has introduced legislation (2018-S 2131) to require health insurers to give all subscribers an annual opportunity to synchronize the refill dates on their prescriptions. Current law requires only that patients with chronic diseases be allowed to synchronize their refill dates.