This week at the

General Assembly

 

STATE HOUSE — Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week. For more information on any of these items visit http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease

 

 

  • Senate OKs Picard bill seeking constitutional right to adequate education
    The Senate passed legislation (2023-S 0072) sponsored by Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) to place a question on the next statewide ballot asking voters to amend the state constitution to guarantee “an equitable, adequate and meaningful education to each child.” Such a constitutional guarantee would ensure that systems that are failing children are addressed because the guarantee would be legally enforceable. The bill now goes to the House, where Rep. Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist. 62, Pawtucket) is sponsoring companion legislation (2023-H 5771).
    Click here to see news release.
     
  • House OKs McEntee bill extending outdoor dining at restaurants

The House of Representatives passed legislation (2023-H 5264A) introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) that would extend the law that allows restaurants to continue outdoor dining. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) has introduced similar legislation (2023-S 0300).

Click here to see news release

  • Senate approves bill to limit kindergarten-Grade 2 class sizes
    The Senate approved legislation (2023-S 0177) sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) to set a limit of 20 students for kindergarten through Grade 2 classes in public schools. The bill now goes to the House, where Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) is sponsoring companion legislation (2023-H 5085).

Click here to see news release.

 

  • Senate OKs bill naming CCRI Newport for Paiva Weed
    The Senate approved legislation (2023-S 0442) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) to rename the Community College of Rhode Island’s Newport campus in honor of former Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, who was the Senate’s first female president and its first female majority leader. She was a champion for CCRI’s Newport campus, among many other things during a legislative career that spanned nearly 25 years. The bill goes to the House.
    Click here to see news release.

 

  • Rep. Alzate introduces bill to turn commercial buildings into housing

Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket, Central Falls) has introduced legislation (2023-H 6090) that would make it easier to convert commercial structures such as hospitals or mills into housing. The bill would allow, as a permitted use, the adaptive reuse of commercial structures, such as mills, factories, hospitals, malls, churches and schools, into high density residential developments without the need to go before a municipal planning board for a zone change.

Click here to see news release

 

  • Rep. Cruz introduces bill to eliminate rental application fees

Rep. Cherie L. Cruz (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) has introduced legislation (2023-H 6087) that would eliminate housing rental application fees. ​The bill states that a landlord, lessor, sub-lessor, real estate broker, property management company, or designee shall not be allowed to require or demand any prospective tenant to pay a rental application fee. Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) has introduced similar legislation (2023-S 0311) in the Senate.

Click here to see news release

 

§  Rep. Felix and Sen. Acosta introduce bill to reform solitary confinement

Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Rep. Leo Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) have introduced legislation (2023-S 0617) that would establish an oversight committee to monitor the use of solitary confinement, lay out clear guidelines for when solitary confinement could be used and restrict its use to punishment for violent offenses. The bill would also prohibit solitary confinement, except in emergencies, for inmates with developmental or psychiatric disabilities. No one could be kept in solitary confinement for more than 22 hours each day.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Lawson bill would protect seniors on Medicare from discrimination

Sen. Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) has introduced legislation (2023-S 0583) that would prohibit insurers providing Medigap coverage from subjecting seniors to an underwriting process, denying them coverage or charging higher rates due to pre-existing conditions.

Click here to see news release.
 

§  Rep. Felix bill would promote transit-oriented development 

Rep. Leo Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) has introduced a bill (2023-H 6084) that would create a pilot program to fund projects that build dense, mixed-use development around transit centers such as train stations and bus hubs.
Click here to see news release.

 

A mass shooting on Memorial Day in Hollywood, Florida has left nine people injured, including a one-year-old child. Investigators believe two groups were arguing when shots were fired. One person was detained, but the search is still on for a second suspect. The incident was just one in a series of Memorial Day weekend shootings across the U.S. that left at least 16 people dead and dozens injured.        President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy will be working the phones today in a bid to sell the debt ceiling deal they struck to holdouts within their respective parties. The House is expected to vote Wednesday on the bipartisan deal that raises the nation's debt limit for the next two years.       A detention hearing is set for today in federal court in Washington, DC for a 19-year-old from Missouri charged for ramming a U-Haul truck into a barrier near the White House earlier this month. Sai Kandula [[ sy kan-doo-lah ]] reportedly told police his goal was to get into the White House, seize power and be put in charge of the nation.        Nearly five years after eleven people were shot to death in the Pittsburgh-area Tree of Life synagogue, the trial of their accused killer starts today. With 12 jurors and six alternates officially seated late last week, proceedings are set to begin in the trial of Robert Bowers. Federal prosecutors are looking for convictions on 63 separate counts in connection with the October 2018 mass shooting.        An Iowa apartment complex that partially collapsed Sunday night is set to be demolished today. This, after a ninth person was pulled from the rubble of the historic six-story building in Davenport yesterday. No deaths have been reported and there's no word yet on what may have caused the collapse.        The Golden Knights are moving on to the Stanley Cup Final. Las Vegas blew out the Stars 6-0 in the Western Conference Finals from Dallas. They'll face off against the Panthers in the Cup final after Florida swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance.