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

  • House passes Speaker Mattiello’s bill creating teams to prevent school violence 
    The House approved legislation sponsored by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston) to increase school safety by creating threat assessment teams in schools to serve as the “boots on the ground” in identifying potentially threatening behavior by those in the school community. Under the bill (2019-H 5538), which will now go to the Senate, school districts would also adopt policies for assessment and intervention, including procedures for referrals to community services or health care providers for evaluation.
    Click here to see news release.
  • House approves Leader Shekarchi’s resolution seeking sepsis protocols
    The House approved a resolution (2019-H 5539) sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) calling for the Department of Health to develop protocols to help detect and treat sepsis, a fast-moving and potentially fatal complication that occurs when a person’s body has an extreme response to an infection. 
    Click here to see news release.

 

  • House OKs Rep. Caldwell’s bill to post opioid warning signs at R.I. pharmacies
    The House approved legislation (2019-H 5184) sponsored by Rep. Justine A. Caldwell  (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) to require signs at pharmacies warning customers about dangers associated with opioids, similar to those required where tobacco products are sold. The bill will now go to the Senate, where Sen. Bridget G. Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-S 0291).
    Click here to see news release.
  • House OKs bill to provide info on workers’ co-ops when companies are closing
    The House approved legislation (2019-H 5769aa) sponsored by House Deputy Majority Whip Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence) to notify workers of their opportunity to organize a cooperative and make a bid to buy out their company in the event of a mass layoff or plant closing. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) is sponsoring companion legislation (2019-S 0253).
    Click here to see news release.
  • House OKs Hawkins bill that prohibits misrepresenting pets as service animals

The House of Representatives passed legislation (2019-H 5299aa) sponsored by Rep. Bernard A. Hawkins (D-Dist. 53, Smithfield, Glocester) that prohibits the misrepresentation of pets as service animals in order to acquire any rights or privileges afforded to disabled. According to the legislation, if a person is found to have misrepresented a pet as a service animal, the person would be guilty of a civil violation, punishable with up to 30 hours of community service for an organization that serves people with disabilities. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 0308) has been introduced by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland).

Click here to see news release.

 

  • House OKs Marszalkowski bill that amends law to encourage food donation

Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski’s (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) legislation (2019-H 5322aa) which establishes comprehensive immunity provisions for individuals donating food to food banks passed the House of Representatives.  The purpose of the legislation is to provide incentives and protections to implement and increase food recovery and donations in Rhode Island. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 0027) has been introduced by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston).

Click here to see news release.

 

  • Rep. Morin bill would require coverage of non-opioid pain treatments
    The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare heard testimony on legislation (2019-H 5120) sponsored by Rep. Michael Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) that would require health insurance contract plans or policies to provide coverage for certain licensed practices including physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and oriental medicine. Similar legislation (2019-S 0068) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland).
    Click here to see news release.
  • Sen. DiPalma bill would protect families with parents that have disabilities

The Senate Judiciary Committee  heard legislation (2019-S 0702) introduced by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) that precludes the disability of a parent from serving as a basis for denial or restriction in matters involving a child’s welfare, foster care, family law, guardianship and adoption. The purpose of the legislation is to protect the best interests of children who have parents with disabilities by establishing procedural safeguards that require adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) is the sponsor of the companion legislation (2019-H 5562) in the House of Representatives.

Click here to see news release.

 

  • Commission recommends moving adult education programs to DLT
    A Senate commission that studied the issue has issued its final report and determined that adult learners in Rhode Island would be better served by moving the administration of adult education programs from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to the Governor’s Workforce Board within the Department of Labor and Training. The commission was led by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence).
    Click here to see news release.

 

  • Sen. Coyne sponsors three bills to support Alzheimer’s care
    Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne  (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) has introduced three bills aimed at better supporting Rhode Islanders affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The bills establish a state program dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and an Alzheimer’s advisory council (2019-S 0223), allow the spouses or partners of patients residing in Alzheimer’s or dementia special care unit to live with them (2019-S 0302), and support a new five-year update to the state plan for Alzheimer’s disease (2019-S 0310). Companion bills (2019-H 51782019-H 5141,2019-H 5569) have been filed in the House by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), respectively.
    Click here to seen news release. 

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