Rhode Island General Assembly: Highlights of the Week (March 25-29)

In a week of legislative action, the Rhode Island General Assembly saw significant advancements in healthcare and workers’ rights. Here are the highlights:

Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson’s bill aiming to expand Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program from six weeks to 12 has passed the Senate. The legislation, 2024-S 2121, now moves to the House for consideration. Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo has introduced a companion bill, 2024-H 7171, in the House. The move is poised to provide extended support for parental and caregiving leave.

Another notable Senate-approved bill, sponsored by Sen. Robert Britto, focuses on improving prescription drug affordability, particularly for cancer patients and individuals with chronic diseases. The legislation, 2024-S 2720, is part of the Senate’s Rhode Island HEALTH Initiative, aiming at enhancing healthcare access and affordability. It now heads to the House, where Rep. Mia Ackerman has introduced a similar bill, 2024-H 8041.

Additionally, the Senate passed a bill introduced by Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain, which would prohibit noncompetition agreements, except those between a seller and buyer of a business. This move, outlined in legislation 2024-S 2436, aims to enhance employee mobility and fairness in the labor market. Rep. Jacquelyn M. Baginski has introduced a parallel bill, 2024-H 8059, in the House.

Moreover, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario, ensuring continued funding for a psychiatric resource network for providers treating children and new parents. The bill, 2024-S 2072, now awaits consideration in the House, where Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith has introduced a companion bill, 2024-H 7204.

Other Legislative Developments

In other legislative news, Rep. William W. O’Brien and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio have introduced a bill aimed at stiffening penalties for dog abuse. The proposed legislation, 2024-H 8095 and 2024-S 2744, would escalate fines for violations of dog care statutes.

Furthermore, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer introduced legislation, 2024-S 2027, allowing Rhode Islanders to transfer their homes to beneficiaries upon death without the need for probate or a trust.

Rep. David Morales’s bill, 2024-H 7579, aiming to increase the state minimum wage to $20 by 2029, was heard in committee.

Additionally, Rep. Jennifer Boylan introduced legislation, 2024-H 8102, to modernize school safety drill laws, ensuring preparedness while minimizing disruption and trauma.

The Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander Caucus (RIBLIA) announced its 2024 legislative policy agenda, highlighting a commitment to equity and social justice.

Lastly, the House of Representatives honored actress Kali Reis for her advocacy work on behalf of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.




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