Monday, May 6, 2013
Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week.
Senate OKs major component of ‘Rhode Back Home’ legislative package The Senate has approved legislation (2013-S 0479A) creating a 13-member advisory committee that will establish a statewide Veterans’ Services Strategic Plan (VSSP). Sponsored by Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), the bill is a major component of the “Pave the Rhode Back Home” legislative package to address the needs of the state’s veterans and their families. The VSSP to be developed will be a regularly updated five-year plan that includes goals and measurable outcomes to ensure all departments of state government deliver comprehensive services for veterans in areas such as benefits, employment and education. The House version of the bill (2013-H 5860…
Monday, April 29, 2013
Two of the bills were sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston).
Monday, April 29
The House of Representatives has approved bills developed by the General Assembly and the governor’s office in the wake of the Newtown, CT, shootings that are expected to markedly improve safety in Rhode Island’s schools. Passed this week by the House were three bills that comprised the school safety legislative package announced at a State House news conference earlier this month – 2013-H 5941, sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), and 2013-H 5940 , introduced by Representative McNamara on behalf of Gov. Lincoln Chafee; 2013 H-5152A, sponsored by Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth). The bills will require a comprehensive safety assessment by schools in conjunction with local …
Recent goings on at the Rhode Island State House.
Monday, April 29
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.rilin.state.ri.us/News/ Senate approves same-sex marriage bill In a 26-to-12 vote, the Senate approved legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in Rhode Island, effective Aug. 1. The bills (2013-S 0038A, 2013-H 5015B), sponsored by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), still have to clear an additional House vote before they can be sent to the governor. That vote is tentatively expected Thursday, following a Judiciary Committee vote on Tuesday. House leaders unveil economic development package At a news …
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The RI Senate Judiciary Committee votes 7-4 today to move marriage-equality legislation to the full Senate on Wednesday; East Providence Sen. William Conley among those in favor.
The full RI Senate will vote on the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow afternoon after it was sent to the floor by the Senate Judiciary Committee today, April 23. The vote was 7-4. Among those voting in support of the bill was Sen. William J. Conley Jr. of East Providence, according to the Providence Journal. The committee rejected by a 6-5 vote a bill that would have put the marriage-equality legislation before Rhode Island voters in a referendum next year. The victory on Tuesday gives gay marriage supporters much hope in a debate that has been fierce at times. Dozens of same-sex marriage supporters packed the third floor State House hearing room and the hallway outside, according to the newspaper. Voting for the bill besides Conley were …
State Senate GOP Caucus becomes first in the nation to stand united for marriage equality. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote today.
All five Republicans in the 38-member Rhode Island Senate have committed to support the same-sex marriage bill being voted on today by State Senate Judiciary Committee. On Tuesday morning, the Rhode Island Senate Republican Caucus announced its support for a bill that would grant marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, becoming the first unanimous decision by a legislative caucus of either party in the nation to back marriage equality legislation. The State Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes Sen. Lou Raptakis of Coventry, is expected to approve the legislation at 3 p.m. today. “This is a game changer,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). “Never before has an entire legislative caucus — much less a…
Friday, April 12, 2013
The bill heads to hearing this Wednesday.
A state representative is working to protect circus animals from potential abuse. Rep. Raymond Gallison (D-Portsmouth and Bristol) introduced a bill recently to make mistreatment of circus elephants a felony, reports The Associated Press. The bill would also prohibit animal handlers from using such training devices as bullhooks on the animals. The bill, H-5853, heads for a hearing this Wednesday. If passed, violations of the bill could result in fines of $5,000. To read the full bill, click here.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Smithfield Rep. Brian Newberry said Rhode Island should welcome jobs from gun manufacturers.
House Minority Leader Rep. Brian C. Newberry is urging Connecticut and Maryland-based gun manufacturers to relocate to Rhode Island on the heels of legislation impacting the firearms industry in those states. Newberry told the Providence Journal Tuesday Rhode Island should welcome firearms manufacturers and the jobs that would accompany a relocation. In a statement on Monday, Newberry urged Colt's Manufacturing, a West Hartford Connecticut firearms manufacturer, to consider the ocean state for its future operations. "Rhode Island, like other states, has significant firearms regulation on its books, but our approach so far has been sensible and responsible, and respectful of the rights of gun owners as well as the community at large," said…
State senator asks whether Education Commissioner Deborah Gist can tell school districts not to consider seniority when laying off teachers.
I write to express my concerns with the recent directive issued on Jan. 31 by Education Commissioner Deborah Gist to school superintendents throughout the state. Commissioner Gist warned superintendents that she would take “severe action against any district that is using seniority, job fairs or bumping to assign, keep or lay off teachers." In a four-page letter, Commissioner Gist further threatened to impose sanctions "up to and including loss of certification," taking districts to court or withholding state education aid unless they comply with her interpretation of a key education regulation called the Basic Education Program. Taken aback by the substance and tone of her letter, I wrote to Commissioner Gist on Feb. 5 to request …
Monday, April 8, 2013
Recent goings on at the Rhode Island State House.
Monday, April 8
Bill clears way for gender-specific school events Schools would no longer need to be concerned that father-daughter or mother-son dances are contrary to the state’s gender discrimination laws as a result of legislation passed by the Senate. Sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick), the bill (2013-S 0012Aaa) will amend state law to provide that activities for students of one sex are permissible if reasonably comparable activities are provided for students of the other sex. Legislation introduced to improve safety in R.I. schools Three bills addressing school safety issues have been introduced in both chambers. Developed by the legislature and the governor’s office, the bills will, among other things, require …
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Schools would no longer need to be concerned that father-daughter or mother-son dances are contrary to the state’s gender discrimination laws as a result of legislation approved today by the Rhode Island Senate on a vote of 33 to 3.
Sunday, April 7
Schools would no longer need to be concerned that father-daughter or mother-son dances are contrary to the state’s gender discrimination laws as a result of legislation approved Friday by the Rhode Island Senate on a vote of 33 to 3. Sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Cranston, West Warwick), the legislation, 2013-S 0012Aaa, will amend state law to provide that activities for students of one sex are permissible if reasonably comparable activities are provided for students of the other sex. The bill will make the language in state law comparable to the gender-specific exemption provided in the federal Title IX law concerning “reasonably comparable activities.” The legislation will also require that schools notify students they may bring …