Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week.
House passes bill to ban 3-D printed guns, untraceable firearms
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2020-H 7102Aaa) introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would prohibit the manufacturing, importation, sale, shipment, delivery, possession, or transfer of any ghost gun or firearm that is undetectable by metal detectors commonly used at airports and public buildings, including 3-D printed firearms. The measure now moves to the Senate, which has passed similar legislation (2020-S 2004Aaa) introduced by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence). Click here to see news release.
House supports increase to minimum wage The House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) to raise the state’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour on Oct. 1.
The bill (2020-H 7157A) now goes to the Senate, which last week approved identical legislation (2020-S 2147A) sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston). Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs bill to prohibit discrimination against housing assistance recipients The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts to prohibit housing discrimination against those who receive government assistance to pay their rent. The legislation (2020-S 2134) adds “lawful source of income” to the list of statuses — such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and marital status — that landlords may not use as a basis for their decisions about to whom they will rent, or which units they will rent to them. The bill now goes to the House, where Rep. Anastasia P. Williams plans to introduce companion legislation.
House OKs bill to compensate those who have been wrongfully imprisoned
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2020-H 7086) introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would give compensation to innocent people who spent time behind bars but later were released when new evidence showed they were not guilty. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration. Click here to see news release.
Sen. Lynch Prata’s ‘Rhode Island Parentage Act’ passes Senate
The Senate passed legislation to update Rhode Island’s laws regarding parentage so that they are fair to all types of parents, including those in the LGBTQ community. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) sponsored the legislation (2020-S 2136A), which would repeal outdated and discriminatory state law regarding parentage and replace it with a uniform act that provides procedures establishing parentage, genetic testing, surrogacy agreements and assisted reproduction. The measure now moves to the House, where similar legislation (2020-H 7541) has been introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, South Kingstown).
House passes bill to amend motion picture tax credit program
The House passed legislation (2020-H 7247A) introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) that would amend the state’s motion picture tax credit program. The legislation would allow productions to utilize tax credits, even if the majority of production is not done within the state, as long as the production spends a minimum of $10 million within Rhode Island during a 12-month span. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2020-S 2326) has been introduced by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton).
House passes bill to allow school districts to raise funds for field trips
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2020-H 7069A) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would allow a school district to request a contribution of money from a student or the student’s parent or legal guardian to pay, in whole or in part, for the cost of district sponsored field trips, dances, clubs, and other district sponsored or based programs of extracurricular activities, provided that the district would pay the costs to meet any deficit. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2020-S 2327) has been introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick).
Senate passes bill to tow cars illegally parked in handicapped parking spaces
The Senate passed legislation introduced by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) that would mandate the towing of cars that are illegally parked in handicapped parking spaces. The bill (2020-S 2090) specifies that any vehicle parked illegally in a properly marked handicapped space would be towed at the owner’s expense. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs bill to ban gender discrimination in health insurance premiums
The Senate passed legislation (2020-S 2125) introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would ban health insurers from utilizing the discriminatory practice known as gender rating, or routinely charging women and men different premiums for individual insurance. The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2020-H 7440) has been introduced by Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence). Click here to see news release.
Rep. Canario bill would allow municipalities to ban vaping in public spaces
Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) has introduced legislation (2020-H 7488) that authorizes municipalities to adopt ordinances restricting vaping in public places and areas near schools, daycare centers and hospitals. The bill has been referred to the House Municipal Government Committee.