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

  • Senate votes to approve mobile sports wagering
    The Senate approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. The legislation (2019-S 0037A) would enable the creation of an app consumers could use to access the sports gaming offerings at Twin River from anyplace within the state of Rhode Island. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5241) has been introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).
    Click here to see news release.
  • Sen. Conley bill would allow for collection of sales tax from online retailers
    Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation (2019-S 0251) that would extend the requirement to collect sales tax to online retailers. The same bill (2019-H 5278) has been introduced in the House by Rep. Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73 (Newport, Middletown), chairman of the House Finance Committee. The legislation mirrors language included in both the FY2019 Supplemental and FY2020 budget bills.
  • Rep. Kazarian bill would change marriage solemnization process
    Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5238) that would authorize the governor to designate a justice of the peace in each city or town to solemnize marriages. Currently, legislation must be passed by the General Assembly in order for an ordinary citizen to preside over a marriage ceremony.
    Click here to see news release.
  • Sen. Coyne files legislation to ban 3-D printed guns
    Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-S 0084) to ban 3-D printed firearms in Rhode Island. A Texas nonprofit has developed a free computer program that allows users to print untraceable, undetectable plastic guns with a 3-D printer, although a federal court has temporarily blocked the release of the program pending a lawsuit filed by numerous states’ attorneys general. 
    Click here to see news release.
  • Sen. Quezada bill would add tax to hookah, vaping products for tobacco ed
    Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-S 0127) to add a 1-percent tax on the sale of hookah and vaping products to raise money for municipalities to educate people about the dangers associated with them.
    Click here to see news release.
  • Housing discrimination report points to need for legislation
    study by Southcoast Fair Housing found rampant discrimination against Rhode Island housing voucher recipients, and urged the adoption of legislation sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) and Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) to prevent it. The legislation (2019-H 5137) would bar landlords from refusing to rent to voucher recipients, or placing limits on which units they will rent to them.
    Click here to see news release.
  • Legislation filed to let Providence Water partner with other water authorities
    Legislation (2019-H 5390) was introduced on behalf of the city of Providence by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist.10, Providence) to allow the Providence Water Supply Board to partner with other water supply agencies, while protecting ratepayers with rate increase caps and public oversight.
  • General Assembly leaders attend Chamber of Commerce luncheon

Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) attended the annual Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon held at the Rhode Island Convention Center. They were joined by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), House Minority Leader Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly), Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) and Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere (R-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown) for a panel discussion regarding business and economic issues within the state.