Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week.

  • Red flag bill, bump stocks ban pass Assembly, signed into law
    With final approval in both chambers and signature by the governor, two bills became law to prevent gun violence and mass shootings. The new “red flag” law (2018-S 2492A2018-H 7688Aaa), sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton), will allow courts to disarm individuals who are believed by law enforcement to represent a violent threat to themselves or others. The other bill (2018-H 7075Aaa2018-S 2292A), sponsored by Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Sen. James E. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton), bans bump stocks, binary triggers and trigger cranks, which make semi-automatic weapons fire more rapidly.
    Click here to see news release.


  • General Assembly passes bill to improve safety in schools
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2018-H 7694A2018-S 2639A) introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) to examine the safety of Rhode Island’s schools and to ensure that school safety plans are adopted in each school department. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
    Click here to see news release.
  • Legislature OKs legislation to forbid advertising of unhealthy foods in school
    The General Assembly gave approval to legislation (2018-S 2350A2018-H 7419A) sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown) and Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would prohibit the advertising of unhealthy food and beverage products in schools, particularly those that may not be sold on the school campus during the school day, since they do not meet the minimum nutrition standards. The measure now heads to the governor’s office.
    Click here to see news release.
  • General Assembly OKs revenge porn and sextortion legislation

Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Sen. Erin Lynch Prata’s (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) legislation (2018-H 7452A2018-S 2581A) that criminalizes revenge porn and sextortion was passed by the General Assembly.  Revenge porn is sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual.  The legislation also creates criminal penalties for those who engage in “sextortion,” a cybercrime that occurs when offenders use personal images – often stolen or obtained by hacking – to force victims to engage in sending more sexually explicit photos or videos under threat the images will be made public. The bill now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.

  • House passes Speaker Mattiello’s bill updating explosives laws to include IEDs
    The House unanimously approved legislation (2018-H 8156A) sponsored by Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) to strengthen Rhode Island’s outdated law on bombs and other explosive devices. The legislation, which now proceeds to the Senate, closes loopholes to address improvised explosive devices and punish illegal possession of explosives and readily assembled components.
    Click here to see news release. 
  • Senate OKs Sen. Coyne bill prohibiting fees for credit freezes 
    The Senate approved legislation (2018-S 2562) sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to prohibit consumer reporting agencies from charging consumers a fee for a credit freeze. Current law allows them to charge up to $10, except when the consumer has been a victim of identity fraud or is over 65. The bill now heads to the House, which has passed similar legislation (2018-H 7604) sponsored by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln). 
    Click here to see news release.
  • Senate approves bill to allow expungement for decriminalized acts
    The Senate gave its approval to legislation (2018-S 2447) sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) to allow people to petition to expunge their criminal records for crimes that were subsequently decriminalized. Since the state has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, the bill would mean many Rhode Islanders would not be haunted needlessly by records of an act that is no longer considered a crime. The bill now goes to the House.
    Click here to see news release.
  • House OKs Costantino bill requiring overdue tax notice for car registrations
    The House of Representatives passed legislation (2018-H 8117) submitted by Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Smithfield, Johnston) that would force the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles to continue a longstanding policy of sending motorists notice to renew their registrations even though they owe back taxes. The DMV had ceased the practice when a new computer system was installed last year. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.
    Click here to see news release.
  • Senate passes ‘Kristen’s Law’ criminalizing drug delivery resulting in death
    The Senate passed Kristen’s Law  (2018-S 2279A), sponsored by Sen. Hanna Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) that would criminalize controlled substance delivery resulting in death, carrying a penalty of up to life in prison.  The legislation was filed at the request of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin in honor of Kristen Coutu who was murdered after taking a deadly dose of fentanyl in 2014.  The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2018-H 7715) has been introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).
    Click here to see news release.
  • Revised PawSox bill that removes taxpayer risk heard by House Finance

A revised approach for the proposed new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium (2018-H 7290A draft only) that removes the risk to the state’s taxpayers was heard by the House Finance Committee this week.  The legislation relates to building a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox in downtown Pawtucket.