Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the Rhode Island General Assembly this week.
§ Senate passes bill that grants driving privileges to undocumented residents
The Senate passed legislation (2022-S 2006Aaa) sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) which allows the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue driving privileges to undocumented residents in the state. Neither the driving permit nor license would be usable for federal or state identification or voting purposes. The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) has introduced similar legislation (2022-H 7708).
§ House OKs bill to provide injured police dogs ambulance transport, EMT care
The House approved legislation (2022-H 7021A) sponsored by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston) to allow police dogs injured in the line of duty to get emergency first aid from EMTs and be transported by ambulance to veterinary hospitals. The legislation now heads to the Senate.
§ House OKs McNamara bill to redistribute unused prescription medications
The House of Representatives approved legislation (2022-H 7133A) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would create a way to redistribute unused medication to aid people who cannot access or afford their prescriptions. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2022-S 2207) has been introduced by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).
§ House, Senate pass bills to address child abuse in military families
The Senate and House of Representatives approved legislation (2022-S 2105, 2022-H 6617) introduced by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) and Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter) respectively that would require the Department of Children, Youth and Families to determine the military status of the parents of any abused child and report the matter to the appropriate military authorities, including the Military Family Advocacy Program. Each measure now moves to the other chamber.
§ House passes Azzinaro ‘stolen valor’ bill
The House of Representatives approved legislation (2022-H 7714A) sponsored by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly) that would make “stolen valor” a crime. The bill would make it a crime to fraudulently represent oneself as an active or veteran member of the military or armed forces for the purpose of obtaining money, property or other tangible benefits. The crime would be a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than a year, or a fine of $1000, or both. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) has introduced similar legislation (2022-S 2425).
§ Senate approves measure to control bird flu
The Senate legislation sponsored by Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to control potential outbreaks of bird flu and other animal diseases. The bill (2022-S 2751) provides the Department of Environmental Management authority to set up a quarantine area to prevent the movement of domestic animals or products when there is a suspected case of a contagious animal disease such as bird flu. The legislation now goes to the House, which has passed identical legislation (2022-H 7785) sponsored by Rep. Brandon Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston).
§ House OKs bill to protect donors of feminine hygiene products from liability
The House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) to provide legal protection to those who donate feminine hygiene products. The protection would open the door for large corporate donations of the much-needed products to food banks and other charities. The bill now goes to the Senate, where similar legislation (2022-S 2531) is sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown).
§ House passes bill naming trilobite RI’s state fossil
The House approved a measure (2022-H 7908) sponsored by Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) to designate the trilobite as Rhode Island’s state fossil. The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Alana DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) is sponsoring its Senate companion (2022-S 2497). The legislation is the brainchild of Narragansett High School student Gary Jennison, who wants to address Rhode Island’s status as one of only four states without an official state fossil.
§ Rep. Morales, Sen. Bell call for passage of ‘Medicare for All’
Joined by advocates, Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence) and Sen. Samuel W. Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) called for passage of their legislation (2022-H 8119, 2022-S 2769) to establish a statewide universal, comprehensive, affordable single-payer health care insurance program.
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