Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the Rhode Island General Assembly this week.
General Assembly approves new agreement with Bally’s, IGT
The General Assembly approved amended legislation introduced by House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) to strengthen the agreement between the State of Rhode Island and IGT and Bally’s Corporation, which operates Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino Hotel. The legislation (2021-H 5223A, 2021-S 0040A) will be sent to Gov. Dan McKee, who intends to sign it. Click here to see news release.
General Assembly passes legislation that bans child marriages in Rhode Island
The General Assembly passed Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) and Sen. John P. Burke’s (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) legislation (2021-H 5387A, 2021-S 0398aa) that bans child marriages in Rhode Island. The legislation eliminates all language in state law that allowed persons under the age of 18 to obtain a marriage license with parental consent.
Measures to limit insulin copays to $40 advance in both chambers Both the House and the Senate approved bills to limit insured patients’ copays for insulin used to treat diabetes to $40 for a 30-day supply. The Senate approved its bill (2021-S 0170A), sponsored by Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), and the House approved a companion measure (2021-H 5196Aaa) sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly). Each bill now goes to the other chamber. Click here to see Senate news release. Click here to see House news release.
Senate OKs bill requiring 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 The Senate passed legislation (2021-S 0629A) introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) to require by 2030 that 100 percent of electricity sold in Rhode Island be generated from renewable sources. It would codify a similar executive order from former Gov. Gina Raimondo in January 2020. The bill now goes to the House. Click here to see news release.
House OKs bill aimed at expanding broadband availability, affordability The House approved legislation sponsored by House Innovation, Internet and Technology Committee Chairwoman Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) to strategically cultivate expanded broadband service statewide. The legislation (2021-H 5148A) would create a Broadband Council and establish a broadband coordinator within the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to better position Rhode Island to access federal funding, address issues of high-speed internet access, and leverage economic development opportunities. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) is sponsoring a companion measure (2021-S 0896). Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs bill to give family caregivers access to residents in nursing homes
The Senate passed legislation (2021- S 0006A) introduced by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston) that would allow nursing home residents to be visited by certain family members or caregivers during a state of emergency. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2021-H 5543) has been introduced by Rep. June Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Bristol Warren). Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs bill barring insurers from charging copays for COVID treatments
The Senate passed legislation (2021-S 0877A) introduced by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) that would prohibit health insurance companies from charging copays for COVID-related treatments. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2021-H 6208) has been introduced by Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). Click here to see news release.
House passes bill that streamlines ESL and ELL teacher certifications
The House of Representatives passed Rep. Nathan W. Biah’s (D-Dist. 3, Providence) legislation (2021-H 5829A) that would streamline the English as a second language (ESL) and/or English language learner (ELL) teaching certification process. The purpose of the legislation is to increase the number and percentage of teachers in the state that are certified as ESL and/or ELL teachers. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Senate passes Sosnowski legislation allowing for the direct dockside sale of fish
The Senate passed legislation (2021-S 0206A) introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown) that would allow for the direct dockside sale of fish. The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2021-H 5921) has been introduced by Rep. Justin K. Price (R-Dist. 39, Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter). Click here to see news release.
House OKs bill requiring officials to publish data on school resource officers
The House of Representatives passed legislation (2021-H 5827A) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would require the Department of Education in coordination with the attorney general to collect and publish data concerning school resource officers in each district, including use of force against students, arrests, and referrals to law enforcement or courts. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration. Click here to see news release.
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!