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
- Governor Raimondo delivers State of the State address
Gov. Gina M. Raimondo delivered her annual State of the State address to lawmakers on Tuesday. The primary focus of her speech was on Rhode Island’s future, including improving education. She also proposed to strengthen gun laws, end the overdose crisis, protect health care and raise the minimum wage. House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) delivered the Republican rebuttal to the speech.
Click here for excerpts from State of the State address.
- Assembly receives governor’s 2020 budget proposal
Legislators received Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s $9.9 billion proposed budget (2019-H 5151), which includes expanded access to public pre-kindergarten; an expansion of the Rhode Island Promise program to include two years’ free tuition at Rhode Island College; a state-level version of the Affordable Care Act; the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana use; the legalization of sports wagering via mobile apps; and a 60-cent increase the minimum wage. The proposal will be vetted over the next several months by the House and Senate finance committees.
- Legislation filed to protect reproductive rights
Two separate pieces of legislation were filed to enshrine the reproductive health care rights protected by Roe v. Wade to defend against threats at the federal level. The Reproductive Health Care Act (2019-H 5127) was introduced by Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence). The Reproductive Privacy Act (2019-H 5125) was introduced by Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence).
Click here to see release on Reproductive Health Care Act.
Click here to see release on Reproductive Privacy Act.
- Sen. Ruggerio introduces legislation allowing mobile sports wagering
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio has submitted legislation (2019-S 0037) to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. The legislation would enable the creation of an app consumers could use to access the sports gaming offerings at Twin River from anyplace within Rhode Island.
Click here to see news release.
- Legislators look to help federal workers affected by shutdown
Several bills were filed to help federal workers who are without pay as a result of the federal government shutdown. Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) filed a bill (2019-S 0085) to protect furloughed federal employees from long-term financial consequences like foreclosure and repossession of vehicles. A bill filed by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) would enable towns to adopt ordinances to provide federal workers relief from local tax obligations during the shutdown. The House passed a resolution (2019-H 5135) introduced by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) calling on Congress to pass legislation to fund the United States Coast Guard during the shutdown; and the Senate passed a resolution (2019-S 0036) sponsored by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich, East Greenwich) calling on Congress and the president to end the shutdown.
Click here to see release on Sen. Euer’s and Sen. Conley’s legislation.
Click here to see release on Sen. Raptakis’ resolution.
Click here to see release on Rep. Vella-Wilkinson’s resolution.
- DiPalma named senior deputy majority leader; Goldin deputy majority whip
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) has named Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) to serve as senior deputy majority leader. President Ruggerio has also named Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) as deputy majority whip of the Senate. Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) was reappointed Senate majority whip.
- Ciccone to chair Labor; Lombardo heads Housing and Municipal Government
Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) has been appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). Sen. Frank Lombardo III (D-Dist. 25, Johnston) has been appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government by President Ruggerio.
- Pawtucket delegation petitions governor to work to retain Hasbro
A group of legislators from northern Rhode Island, including the entire Pawtucket delegation, has penned a letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo, asking her to do everything in her power to retain toymaker Hasbro in Pawtucket. The letter goes on to say that it would be a devastating loss to the greater Blackstone Valley if Hasbro, a company with more than 1,500 associated jobs and $60 million in earnings, were to relocate.
Click here to see news release.
- House of Representatives passes rules for 2019-20 legislative session
The House of Representatives passed the House rules (2019-H 5037A) for the 2019-20 session this week. Among the changes to the rules that were made was that any amended bill must be posted for 24 hours before action can be taken on the bill, although the rule does not apply to the state budget or for minor non-substantive changes to legislation. A framework for how to deal with sexual harassment within the chamber was also included in the new rules.