State House view from the southThis 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



§  Senate passes Lawson bill to expand parental, caregiving leave

The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2121) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) that would expand Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program from six weeks to 12. The bill now heads to the House for consideration, where Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7171).

Click here to see news release.


§  Senate approves Britto legislation to improve prescription drug affordability
The Senate approved legislation (2024-S 2720) sponsored by Sen. Robert Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that would improve prescription drug affordability for cancer patients and others with chronic diseases. The bill is part of the Senate’s Rhode Island HEALTH (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) Initiative, a 25-bill legislative package aimed at improving health care access and affordability in Rhode Island. The measure now moves to the House where similar legislation (2024-H 8041) has been introduced by Rep. Mia Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln).
Click here to see news release.


§  Senate OKs LaMountain bill that would prohibit noncompetition agreements
The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2436) introduced by Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) that would ban noncompetition agreements except for those between a seller and buyer of a business. A noncompetition agreement is a legal accord or clause in a contract specifying that an employee must not enter into competition with an employer after the employment period is over. The measure now moves to the House, where similar legislation (2024-H 8059) has been introduced by Rep. Jacquelyn M. Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).
Click here to see news release.


§  Senate passes DiMario bill to continue funding Psychiatry Resource Network

The Senate passed legislation (2024-S 2072) sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) that would provide a stable funding mechanism for a psychiatric resource network for providers treating children and new parents. The bill now heads to the House for consideration where Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) has introduced companion legislation (2024-H 7204).

Click here to see news release.


§  O’Brien, President Ruggerio introduce bill to stiffen penalties for dog abuse

Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) have introduced legislation (2024-H 8095, 2024-S 2744) that would increase the penalty for violations of the care of dogs statute to a minimum fine of $100 and a maximum fine of $1,000 per violation. The care of dogs statute includes regulations on tethering dogs, leaving them outside and providing proper care and nutrition.

Click here to see news release.


§  Euer bill would help Rhode Islanders pass on their homes without probate

Legislation (2024-S 2027) from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) would allow Rhode Islanders to leave their home to a beneficiary upon their death without the necessity of probate or a trust.

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§  Morales bill increasing the minimum wage toward $20 heard in committee

Rep. David Morales’s (D-Dist. 7, Providence) legislation (2024-H 7579) to increase the state minimum wage to $20 by 2029 and make future increases automatically linked to inflation was heard in committee Wednesday.

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§  Rep. Boylan aims to modernize school safety drill laws

Rep. Jennifer Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) introduced legislation (2024-H 8102) to clarify the gaps in Rhode Island law regarding school safety drills in order to ensure students and staff are prepared for emergencies while minimizing the interruption to instruction and the traumatic effects of training drills on staff and students.

Click here to see news release.


§  RIBLIA Caucus announces 2024 policy agenda

The Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus (RIBLIA) released its 2024 legislative policy agenda at a press conference in the Senate Lounge. The caucus is chaired by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket).  The 24-bill legislative package represents RIBLIA’s continued commitment to lifting up the downtrodden, defending the marginalized and ensuring a fair and equitable society for all Rhode Islanders.

Click here to see news release.


§  House of Representatives honors actress Kali Reis

A panel of state representatives led by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) honored actress and East Providence native Kali Reis with a community hero award for her support and advocacy on behalf of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, a grassroots movement to raise awareness through organizing marches, building databases of the missing, and conducting domestic violence trainings and other informational sessions for police.

Click here to see news release.                                                      



President Biden is continuing to push for a bipartisan border security bill in the Senate. Biden met with Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday, with the White House saying he "reiterated that Congressional Republicans should stop playing politics and act quickly." Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Sunday that the Senate is planning to take up the border deal as a stand-alone measure this week.       Former President Trump's defense team is expected to rest its case today in his criminal hush money trial. Also, it's unclear if Trump will testify in his own defense. Attorneys for Trump reportedly told Judge Juan Merchan they were calling only three witnesses, but that was subject to change.       Dozens of tornadoes are possible throughout the day today and into the night, particularly across Iowa and into northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. It's part of a severe weather outbreak forecast across the Plains and Midwest, bringing the risk of dangerous thunderstorms from northern Missouri into Wisconsin.       The cargo ship that brought down the Francis Scott Key Bridge is now safely docked at the Port of Baltimore. It was refloated during high tide Monday morning and five tugboats helped to guide the massive vessel the two-and-a-half miles to the Seagirt Marine Terminal. That's where the ship, which still has a portion of roadway from the bridge on its bow, will remain for weeks.       A granddaughter of Elvis Presley is suing to stop the sale of "The King's" Graceland mansion. Attorneys representing Riley Keough [[ KEE-oh ]] say a temporary restraining order has been issued for the auction, which was scheduled to be held this Thursday. Keough inherited the Memphis home after her mother, Lisa Marie Presley, died last year. Lisa Marie had owned the estate since her father's death in 1977.        A new lawsuit claims a Pennsylvania teen had to be resuscitated in March when he went into cardiac arrest after drinking Panera Bread's Charged Lemonade. The suit comes just two weeks after the restaurant announced it would discontinue the drink. It's at least the fourth lawsuit filed against Panera over the beverage.