Editor's Note:  Readers are reminded that the following reports were written by people who work for the General Assembly.

 

Feb. 1, 2019

 

           

 

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 Conley bill to protect furloughed workers during shutdowns
The Senate has passed legislation (2019-S 0065aa) introduced by Sen. William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) that enables city and town councils to grant relief from the payment of taxes during periods where federal or state government cease governmental operations for employees of the state or federal government. The measure moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5191) has been introduced by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket).
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Lima reintroduces legislation to ban the renting or leasing of ‘forever pets'

Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence) has reintroduced legislation (2019-H 5246) to prohibit any business or individual in Rhode Island from renting, leasing, or in any other way offering a live animal for sale as a “forever pet” other than by a full outright sale.  A “forever pet” is defined as any dog or cat purchased from a business or individual which purchase does not vest permanent ownership in the buyer.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Amore reintroduces bill to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections

Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) has reintroduced legislation (2019-H 5139) that would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections as long as the individual will be 18 years old by the date of the general or special election. Sen. Gayle L. Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence) is introducing the bill in the Senate.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Shanley legislation would create office of inspector general
Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick) has introduced legislation that would create the office of inspector general. The bill (2019-H 5236) would establish the office as an independent administrative agency charged with the responsibility to investigate, detect, and prevent fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in the expenditure of public funds.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. McLaughlin bill would authorize $20 million to capital plan funds
Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) has introduced legislation that would authorize $20 million to the Rhode Island Capital Plan Funds, which allows certain funds to be allocated to agencies for the purpose of completing preliminary planning studies for proposed projects. The bill (2019-H 5148) would make an appropriation for transportation projects.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Raptakis to reintroduce bill tying minimum wage increases to CPI

Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich, East Greenwich) will be reintroducing legislation that ties any future increase in the hourly minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index of the Northeast Region. Senator Raptakis introduced the same bill (2018-S 2246) last session.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Sen. Lawson, Sen. Archambault bills would aid furloughed workers

Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-S 0175) that would allow federal employees who are working during a government shutdown to receive unemployment benefits while they are working but not being paid.  Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston) has submitted legislation (2019-S 0192) that would establish a new program to assist federal employees who have been affected by a shutdown by making available state-backed loans not to exceed $5,000.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Rep. Corvese files bill to create animal abuse registry
Rep. Arthur Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence) has introduced legislation (2019-H 5113) to create a statewide animal abuser registry aimed at preventing those with a history of mistreating animals from obtaining other animals. The registry would be available online for anyone transferring a pet, and pet sellers and shelters would be required to check all those to whom they provide pets.
Click here to see news release.

§  Sen. Miller bill aims to expand support after overdose, mental health ER visits
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on legislation (2019-S 0139) sponsored by its chairman, Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence) to expand the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act on hospital discharge planning to allow hospitals to contact patients’ emergency contact and recovery coach in certain situations, in accordance with federal HIPAA guidance. The bill is meant to help ensure that those hospitalized for drug overdoses and mental health emergencies have personal support when they are discharged.
Click here to see news release.

§  Study commission on effects of wind turbines on marine life forms
Rep. Justin K. Price (R-Dist. 39, Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter) was elected chairman at the first meeting of a legislative commission that will study the effects of wind turbines on all marine wildlife.
Click here to see news release.

 

 

 

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For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our Web site at www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The White House is putting together plans in case of a recession, including a possible payroll tax cut. Economists in the administration are also looking at other tax breaks to keep the economy moving. Tax breaks would have to be approved by Congress. One White House official denied the reports Monday and the President has rejected the idea that the country could be headed for recession.       Jeffrey Epstein signed a will shortly before his death, according to reports. The New York Post says the wealthy financier put his signature on it just two days before he took his own life in a federal jail in Manhattan. The will, dated August 8th, describes assets of nearly 580-million-dollars including 56-million in cash.        The nation's biggest bank says President Trump's tariffs on Chinese imports will cost U.S. families a thousand dollars per year. JPMorgan Chase released an analysis Monday that found the tariffs already in place are costing families 400 dollars a year. The bank says new tariffs scheduled to take effect on September 1st and December 15th will add another 600 dollars in annual costs to American households.        Jury deliberations are back to square one in the trial of a man accused of involuntary manslaughter in Northern California warehouse fire. An Alameda County judge kicked three women off the jury deliberating the fate of Derek Almena yesterday without explanation. The new jurors are from a group of alternate jurors. Prosecutors say Almena failed to secure the right permits for the Ghost Ship Warehouse which went up in flames in 2016. Three dozen people died in the fire.       NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he's thankful after he and his family survived a plane crash last week. In a statement, Earnhardt said he's blessed that everyone on board, including his wife, daughter, two pilots and even his dog, walked away from the plane. The private jet bounced off the runway in East Tennessee after a hard landing and burst into flames.        It looks like it's splitsville for Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes. Page Six reports the celebrity couple has broken up after six years together. Pictures emerged over the weekend showing Foxx with another woman partying in Los Angeles.