Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the Rhode island General Assembly this week.
Ruggerio introduces ‘Harold M. Metts School Safety Act’
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) has introduced legislation (2021-S 0073) to prohibit the possession of firearms on school grounds. Named in honor of its longtime champion in the Senate, The Harold M. Metts School Safety Act of 2021 would allow only peace officers, retired law enforcement officers, and persons under contract to provide school security to carry a firearm on school grounds. Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) will introduce similar legislation in the House. Click here to see news release.
Senate Finance Committee meets to hear pandemic response funding updates
The Senate Finance Committee met virtually to hear updates on federal funding for pandemic response. The committee heard from the Department of Administration on funding updates regarding the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act; December 2020 stimulus changes to CARES funding and deadlines; and additional federal aid passed in December and new budget options available to the state.
Rep. McNamara introduces resolution asking AG to investigate water authority
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and other members of the Kent County House delegation introduced a resolution (2021-H 5030) urging the attorney general to investigate the billing procedures of the Kent County Water Authority. Beginning in October 2020, several water authority customers began receiving bills that were far in excess of what they usually pay. In one incident, customers received a bill that was 455 percent higher than usual, with no explanation provided for the increase. Click here to see news release.
Rep. O’Brien resolution calls for an end to COVID-19 restaurant time closures
Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) will be introducing a resolution calling for the end to COVID-19 mandated restaurant closing times. Currently, restaurants and other social businesses are required to close by 10 p.m. during the week and 10:30 p.m. on the weekends. Small business owners have called the closing times arbitrary and devastating to their small businesses.
Martin Luther King Commission’s annual celebration broadcast on Capitol TV
The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission’s annual celebration of the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was held virtually and broadcast on Capitol Television featuring pre-taped segments from Rhode Island dignitaries explaining what the legacy of Dr. King means to them. The commission and celebration are chaired by Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence).