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



§  Senate names new committee chairs
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) announced the new committee chairs for the 2023-24 term. They are Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton), Finance Committee; Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Judiciary Committee; Sen. Alana DiMario (D-Dist. 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett, New Shoreham), Environment and Agriculture Committee; and Sen. Mark P. McKenney (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee.
Click here to see DiPalma release.

Click here to see Euer release.

Click here to see DiMario release.

Click here to see McKenney release.


§  New senators given committee assignments
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) announced the committee assignments for the new senators who were elected in November. They include Sen. Robert Britto (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket), Sen. Anthony P. DeLuca II (R-Dist. 29, Warwick), Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Charlestown, Westerly, South Kingstown), Sen. Matthew L. LaMountain (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston), Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), Sen. Mark P. McKenney (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), Sen. David P. Tikoian (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, Lincoln, North Providence) and Sen. Linda L. Ujifusa (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol).

§  Senators elected, appointed to leadership positions
Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) was elected president pro tempore of the Senate, where she will be responsible for presiding over the Senate in the absence of the president. Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) was elected deputy president pro tempore. Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) appointed Sen. John Burke (D-Dist. 9 West Warwick) to serve as a deputy majority leader.
Click here to see Gallo release.

Click here to see Picard release.

Click here to see Burke release.


  • Sen. Valverde introduces Equality in Abortion Coverage Act
    Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown) has introduced the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act to ensure that individuals on Medicaid and state health insurance plans have coverage for abortion procedures. The House companion bill (2023-H 5006) was introduced by House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence).
    Click here to see news release.
  • Rep. O’Brien, President Ruggerio introduce lead pipe replacement bill

Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) introduced legislation (2023-H 5007, 2023-S 0002) to address lead pipes in Rhode Island’s water supply system. The Lead Poisoning Prevention Act would create a lead water supply replacement program for both public and private service lines, with a requirement that all affected lines are replaced within 10 years.

Click here to see O’Brien release.

Click here to see Ruggerio release.


  • Senate Finance Committee reviews ARPA spending

The Senate Finance Committee received an update from the governor’s administration on previously authorized federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Recovery Fund (SFRF) programs and appropriations.  The committee heard testimony from the R.I. Pandemic Recovery Office and the Executive Office of Commerce.


§  Pell Bridge ramp signs improve following Rep. Carson’s request
One day after Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) hand-delivered a letter to the Department of Transportation seeking better signage and communication about the ongoing Pell Bridge ramp realignment project, new signs went up clarifying the temporary traffic patterns. When the ramps were rerouted for the major construction project in December, a lack of signs resulted in many drivers accidentally crossing the bridge and others struggling to find their way to it, snarling traffic on the main route connecting Newport to the mainland.
Click here to see news release.

§  Housing panel hears United Way plan to speed affordable housing creation
The same week that the state’s first Housing Secretary Josh Saal resigned amid criticism of slow implementation of new housing programs, the Special Commission to Study the Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, led by Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), met with United Way of Rhode Island leaders to hear their proposals to encourage swifter affordable housing development.
Click here to see Speaker Shekarchi’s statement on Secretary Saal’s resignation.
Click here to see news advisory on commission meeting.


§  Ackerman, Goodwin honored by Cancer Action Network, Brown Cancer Center
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network and Brown University’s Legoretta Cancer Center have honored Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) and House Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) for their legislative contributions to cancer prevention and treatment.
Click here to see Ackerman release.
Click here to see Goodwin release.

§  Representatives join together to condemn antisemitism, racism
House Deputy Majority Whip Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln) introduced a resolution (2023-H 5031) urging all Rhode Islanders to join together to strongly condemn antisemitism. Rep. Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6 Providence, North Providence) introduced a resolution (2023-H 5066) commemorating the life and work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The resolutions come as incidents of antisemitism are on the rise in Rhode Island and nationally, and as the country is set to celebrate King’s birthday on Monday.

Click here to see media release.


The Israel-Hamas war is in its 61st day. Israel says its forces are operating in the heart of southern Gaza's main city as it's believed Hamas leaders are being housed in the area. The United Nations said Israel's ground invasion is creating an "increasingly apocalyptic situation" for Palestinians in the southern part of the region as food, water and medicine are running very low.        Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said he will resign from Congress at year end. This comes after McCarthy was the first speaker of the house to be ousted from power in the middle of their congressional term. He was ousted by a small majority of conservative Republicans. In an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, McCarthy said he's decided to leave the house to serve America in new ways.        President Biden's approval rating is stuck near record lows. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, it's been lingering at about 40-percent. That's compared to 39-percent in November. Americans said the economy, crime and immigration are the biggest problems that they face in the new poll.        Four Russian soldiers are being charged with war crimes against an American living in Ukraine during Russia's invasion of the country. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the charges on Wednesday and said the charges include conspiracy to commit war crimes and torture. Garland said the American victim was abducted from their home by three of those charged and was stripped naked and beaten.        Americans expect to spend at least 100-dollars more on holiday shopping this year than last year. A Gallup survey found that Americans say they'll probably spend an average of 975-dollars on gifts this season. That's the highest holiday shopping estimate since Gallup began tracking it in 1999.        SAG-AFTRA members have voted to ratify their contract. The move means that the longest labor battle in Hollywood history is now officially over, following a 118-day strike that was suspended after a tentative agreement was reached in early November. It was approved with 78-percent voting in favor, with turnout at 38-percent. If it were to have been voted down, the strike would have likely continued.