Rumors were swirling around the Rhode Island State House Tuesday afternoon with talk that Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D – District 13, Jamestown, Newport) is poised to step down from the Rhode Island State Senate to become the president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. Multiple State House sources have confirmed to Newport Buzz that these rumors are true.

Ian Donnis from RIPR reports that Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and Senate Finance Chairman Michael McCaffrey are poised to take control of senate leadership as early as Wednesday.

Senator Paiva Weed, 57, was first elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 1992. In November 2009, she was elected the first female President of the Rhode Island State Senate. Senator Paiva Weed was re-elected President in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Before becoming Senate President, Senator Paiva Weed served as Rhode Island’s first female Senate Majority Leader, a position she held for five years. She had previously served as Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee from 2002 through January 2004. From 2000 to 2002, she served as Deputy Chair of the Finance Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Environment. From 1997 through 2000, she served as the Senate’s first woman Chair of the Judiciary Committee. Prior to her election to the Senate, Ms. Paiva Weed was Chairwoman of the Newport Affordable Housing Commission, and she has served as a member of the Newport Democratic City Committee since 1988.
Founded over a half a century ago, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI) is a statewide trade organization that assists member hospitals in effectively meeting the health care needs of Rhode Island through advocacy, representation, education and services. HARI ensures the needs and perspective of members are heard and addressed in state and national health policy development, legislative and regulatory debates, and system transformation matters.
The Hospital Association’s former president Michael Souza stepped down in March to become CEO of  the Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket. 
According to WPRI’s Ted Nesi, Souza earned $280,000 in the Hospital Association’s  FY 2015.
When there is a vacancy in the Rhode Island General Assembly, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. The secretary of state must call for an election to be held anywhere from 70 to 90 days after the vacancy occurred. However, the statue also says; if the general assembly has nearly completed its January session so that it is doubtful whether the person to be chosen can serve as a member at that session, the election shall not be ordered within that time limit, but may be held at any later date within that calendar year.
The person elected to fill the seat serves for the remainder of the unfilled term.