Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly last week. For more information on any of these items visit www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.
Sen. Kettle resigns from office
Senate Minority Whip Nicholas D. Kettle (R-Dist. 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich) resigned from his seat in a letter sent to Senate members. Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) released a statement saying, “I believe that the decision Mr. Kettle made today is in the best interests of the Senate and the state. I am grateful that Mr. Kettle has chosen a path that avoids requiring his colleagues to consider expulsion.”
Sen. Sheehan, Rep. Craven legislation would ban bump stocks, trigger devices
Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) and Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) have introduced legislation (2018-S 2271, 2018-H 7075) that would make possession or use of semi-automatic weapon rapid fire devices including bump stocks, binary triggers or trigger cranks punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine. Similar legislation (2018-S 2292) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. James A. Seveney (D-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton).
Rep. Regunberg introduces legislation for electric utility accountability
Rep. Aaron Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence) has introduced two bills to create greater accountability in the electric utility system. One bill (2018-H 7661) would begin the process of establishing a public not-for-profit utility model in the state. That bill has also been introduced in the Senate (2018-S 2176) by Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick). Representative Regunberg’s other bill (2018-H 7674) would create transparency in private utilities companies’ advertising and public relations budgets. It would allow customers to see how much of their dollar is actually going to the services they receive.
Rep. McNamara bill would allow medical consent for pregnant minors
Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7193) that would provide that any person, including, but not limited to, a minor who is pregnant, could give effective consent for medical, dental, health and hospital services relating to prenatal, delivery, and post-delivery care.
Rep. Filippi calls for better public record keeping
House Minority Whip Blake A. Filippi (R-Dist. 36, New Shoreham, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly) has introduced a bill (2018-H 7465) that would require all electronic public records including emails to be kept readily available and easily searchable for government officials responding to public record requests.
Rep. Corvese bill would end double-taxation on state tax refunds
Rep. Arthur Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence) has introduced legislation (2018-H 7018) to end Rhode Island’s double taxation of state tax refunds by excluding them from being considered part of an individual taxpayer’s taxable income for state purposes the year they are issued.
Rep. Amore to introduce bills on school resource officers, security upgrades
Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) will be introducing two bills aimed at preventing violence in Rhode Island’s schools. The first would require that all public schools have a school resource officer on the premises. If a school has more than 1,200 students, two school resource officers would be required. The second bill would appropriate additional state school and housing reimbursement for renovation and construction in schools that follows national school security best practices.
Rep. Nardolillo calls for increase in counseling for students
Rep. Robert Nardolillo III (R-Dist. 28, Coventry) will introduce legislation to increase mental health and counseling resources in schools by implementing a tax on video games rated “M” or higher. The legislation would levy an additional 10 percent tax to video games sold in Rhode Island with a rating of “M” or higher. Revenue generated by this tax would then be placed in a special account for school districts to use to fund counseling, mental health programs, and other conflict resolution activities.