July 3, 2019

Legislative Press Bureau at (401) 528-1743

           

This year at the

General Assembly

 

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

 

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

·         The General Assembly approved a $9.97 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year that largely avoids new taxes while strengthening education, continuing the car-tax phase-out and maintaining municipal aid, while also closing a $200 million budget gap.

·         Lawmakers passed a bill to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.

·         The legislature established a process for creating Special Economic Development Districts on large state-owned properties and designated the former Route 195 land in Providence as one.

 

 

PERSONAL RIGHTS

·         The General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, codifying the decisions of Roe v. Wade.

·         Lawmakers amended the state’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.

·         Lawmakers passed a bill that would consider general discharges that were given to veterans based solely on their sexual orientation to have all the benefits of an honorable discharge.

 

EDUCATION

 

·            The Assembly passed legislation that brings a comprehensive reform to curriculum, fast tracks the principal certification process and provides for greater school-based management at the school level.

·            The budget increased aid to education by $33.4 million, added $2.9 million to increase pre-kindergarten seats and increased funding for English language learning by $2.3 million.

·            The General Assembly created a separate Board of Trustees for the University of Rhode Island.

 

 

TAXPAYER/WORKER/CONSUMER PROTECTION

 

·         The state budget includes language eliminating the “tampon tax” in Rhode Island.

·         Legislators passed a law to protect student loan borrowers and establish oversight of student loan servicers operating in Rhode Island.

·         The Assembly approved a law to require religious organizations to provide pension fund updates.

 

OPIOID CRISIS

 

·         The state budget includes language for the creation of a state Opioid Stewardship Fund.

·         Lawmakers limited first-time opioid prescriptions and expanded the Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Act.

·         The legislature approved a bill to post opioid warning signs at all pharmacies in Rhode Island.

 

 

HEALTH

 

·         The budget included a Shared Responsibility Payment penalty for individuals who do not have health insurance, with exceptions.

·         The General Assembly approved legislation aimed at providing stronger oversight for hospitals being acquired by nonprofit entities.

·         The budget expanded the number of medical marijuana compassion center licenses from three to nine.

 

CHILD PROTECTION

 

·         Lawmakers passed legislation expanding domestic violence protective orders to help more children.

·         The General Assembly approved legislation to increase school safety by creating threat assessment teams in schools.

 

SENIORS

·         The Assembly passed several bills addressing Alzheimer’s disease and elder abuse.

·         Lawmakers passed a bill making it easier for homeowners to build onto their houses to provide space for relatives.

·         The General Assembly passed a bill to establish a formal process recognizing “supported decision making,” a structure of support for disabled or aging individuals.

 

SMALL BUSINESS

·         The budget incorporates legislation to help the many Rhode Island small business owners who will be hit by higher federal taxes under new federal tax laws.

·         The General Assembly passed legislation to provide a process for collecting sales tax from out-of-state sellers — removing the unfair advantage online retailers have in competing against Rhode Island businesses.

·         Lawmakers passed legislation to increase the amount of beer sold directly to customers by breweries.

 

TRANSPORTATION

·         The budget includes up to $200 million in GARVEE bonds to fund the reconstruction of the viaduct that carries Route 95 north though downtown Providence.

·         The General Assembly passed the Rhode Island Utility Fair Share Roadway Repair Act, which requires public utilities to repave and repair roadways that have been altered or excavated by the public utility.

·         The General Assembly passed legislation cracking down on bridge toll violators.

 

 

ANIMALS

 

·         Lawmakers passed legislation requiring all pet shops to provide records to the Department of Environmental Management including breeder information, health certification, license and inspection information for each dog or cat offered for sale.

·         The legislature passed a bill that prevents owners from misrepresenting a pet as a service animal in order to gain access to rights or privileges reserved for disabled individuals with service animals.

·         The General Assembly approved a law that adds pets to domestic violence protective orders.

 

 

 

-30-

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Trump says that Jewish people who vote Democrat are either have "a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." The President made the remark Tuesday as he criticized Democrats for supporting Congresswomen Ilhan [[ ILL-han ]] Omar and Rashida Tlaib [[ rah-SHEE-duh tah-LEEB ]] after Israel blocked them from traveling to the country last week. He said Michigan's Tlaib has badmouthed Israel, adding that Minnesota's Omar is "a disaster for Jewish people."        President Trump says the U.S. economy isn't close to recession. Speaking at the White House Tuesday, Trump says he thinks the word recession is "inappropriate." Trump continued his attacks on the Federal Reserve Board and said if it would do its job, the economy would see "growth like never before."        The U.S. troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border will be given the Armed Forces Service Medal. That honor is awarded to service members who take part in a military operation with significant activity, but in which they encounter no foreign armed threats. Soldiers were first deployed to the border in April 2018 to assist border agents.       A federal judge in Chicago is delaying a decision on the city's lawsuit against former "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett until October. The City of Chicago is suing Smollett for 130-thousand-dollars in police overtime and other expenses after state prosecutors made the decision to drop charges against Smollett for filing a false police report. The actor was initially charged with staging a racist and homophobic attack against himself earlier this year.       At least three people are injured after a shooting yesterday near Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. Police say two people were shot and another has a graze wound. All were taken to the hospital alert and breathing.        Charges are being dismissed against the man who allegedly tried stealing an Oscar. Terry Bryant was caught on camera stealing Frances McDormand's Oscar for Best Actress after the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony wrapped up. TMZ is reporting that McDormand didn't want to cooperate with investigators, so a judge dismissed the case.