Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the Rhode Island General Assembly this week.
Governor signs bill requiring full coverage of colorectal cancer screening
Governor Dan McKee signed legislation (2021-S 0383A, 2021-H 5432A) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and House Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) to require full insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screenings during a ceremony at Miriam Hospital. The Maryellen Goodwin Colorectal Screening Act will require health insurers to cover preventive colorectal cancer screening, including all colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests in accordance with American Cancer Society Guidelines. Click here to see news release.
Senate approves McCaffrey legislation to rename T.F. Green airport
The Senate passed legislation (2021-S 0519) introduced by Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) that would rename the state airport “Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.” The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where companion legislation (2021-H 6051) has been introduced by Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly). Click here to see news release.
House OKs bill to require report on students applying for federal aid
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2021-H 5076A) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would require schools to report on the total number of students completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form and the total number of students eligible to fill out and submit a FAFSA form, and would provide data on the race, ethnicity, and gender of the students. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration. Click here to see news release.
House OKs O’Brien bill that allows liquor stores to open on New Year’s Day
The House of Representatives has passed legislation (2021-H 5504) introduced by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) that would allow liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages on New Year’s Day. Under current law, liquor stores are not permitted to be open on Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day. The measure now moves to the Senate, which has passed similar legislation (2021-S 0142) introduced by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick).
The Senate passed a joint resolution (2021-S 0810) introduced by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) that would create the Rhode Island Semiquincentennial Commission to help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the United States’ founding. The commission would consist of 30 members including the Secretary of State, the executive director of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission and 24 members of the public. The measure now moves to the House, where Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) has introduced a companion resolution (2021-H 6002).
Senate passes Ciccone and Quezada dual language immersion bills
The Senate passed two bills sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) and Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), relating to dual language immersion programs for Rhode Island’s public school students. Senator Ciccone’s bill (2021-S 0457) would establish and require funding for a world language and dual language immersion program for public school students and it would also create a specialist position at the Rhode Island Department of Education to spearhead the initiative. Senator Quezada’s bill (2021-S 0355) would require the Department of Education to create a model policy and timeline to assist local education agencies in implementing the program. Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) has introduced companion legislation (2021-H 5239) to Senator Ciccone’s bill in the House.
House passes Cortvriend bill protecting disabled parents
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2021-H 5394) introduced by Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown) that protects disabled parents’ rights. The legislation 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. Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) has introduced the bill (2021-S 0056) in the Senate.
Sen. Kallman, Rep. Felix bill would make RIPTA buses free for Rhode Islanders
Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Rep. Leonela “Leo” Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) plan to introduce legislation that would provide free transportation on Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses. The proposal, which was announced at a press conference at Kennedy Plaza in Providence, also sets up the funding structure to support the initiative financially. Click here to see news release.
Rep. McGaw bill would extend the amount of time to transfer car registrations
Rep. Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton) has introduced legislation (2021-H 6274) that would extend the period of time that a newly purchased motor vehicle may be temporarily operated from 20 to 30 days, using the purchaser’s current license plates. Cars bought in the private market, which are currently given only two business days to transfer the plate, would have 30 days for the transfer under the legislation. Click here to see news release.
R.I. Legislative Black and Latino Caucus unveils legislative priorities
The Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus unveiled its 2021 legislative priority list at a press conference held at the State House. The caucus is chaired by Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket). The Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus represents and advocates for the interests of disadvantaged people throughout the State of Rhode Island. It seeks to increase a diverse participation and representation in all levels of government.