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 http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease

 

 

§  General Assembly enacts 2025 state budget bill
The General Assembly approved the 2025 state budget bill (2024-H 7225Aaa). The $13.947 billion budget directs additional funding toward education and children, raises Medicaid reimbursement rates and includes a $120 million affordable housing bond. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
Click here to see news release.

§  Bill requiring safe storage of firearms is signed into law
Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation (2024-S 2202aa, 2024-H 7373A) sponsored by Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) to require safe storage of firearms in Rhode Island.
Click here to see news release.

  • LEOBOR reform legislation becomes law with governor’s signature

Gov. Dan McKee signed the Law Enforcement Officers’ Due Process, Accountability and Transparency Act (2024-H 7263Aaa, 2024-S 2096Aaa) which will bring significant and long-overdue reforms to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR). The law was introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) and Deputy House Speaker Raymond A. Hull (D-Dist. 6, Providence, North Providence). 

Click here to see news release.

 

§  General Assembly approves ADU legislation, other bills to ease housing crisis
Legislators approved and sent to the governor several bills included in the legislative package put forth by Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) to address the state’s housing crisis, including the bill to make it easier for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as in-law apartments and granny flats, on their property. The ADU legislation (2024-H 7062A2024-S 2998A) is sponsored by House Commission on Housing Affordability Chairwoman June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) and Sen. Victoria Gu (D-Dist. 38, Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown). The bills are headed to the governor.
Click here to see news release.

 

§  HEALTH Initiative bills headed to governor’s desk
Several bills that were included in the Senate leadership’s HEALTH (Holistic Enhancement and Access Legislation for Total Health) initiative cleared the General Assembly, including bills to join five interstate licensing compacts to make it easier for Rhode Islanders to access the care they need. Two bills sponsored by Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) aimed at addressing the primary care provider shortage by encouraging new providers to choose a career in primary care in Rhode Island were included in the 2025 state budget.
Click here to see news release.

§  Lawmakers OK bill for automatic disaffiliation of independent primary voters
The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-H 76622024-S 2894) introduced by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry) and Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich) making party disaffiliation automatic for registered independent voters who vote in primaries. Current law affiliates independents who vote in a party primary with that party unless they fill out a disaffiliation form after casting their vote. The bill goes to the governor.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  General Assembly approves Edwards, Euer Healthcare Provider Shield Act
The General Assembly approved the Healthcare Provider Shield Act (2024-S 2262A2024-H 7577) introduced by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to protect medical providers who provide transgender and reproductive health care services in Rhode Island from civil or criminal suits from other states or their residents. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
Click here to see news release.

 

  • Assembly OKs Renewable Ready bill
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2293A2024-H 7616A) from Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) to create the Rhode Island Renewable Ready program to aid the construction of renewable energy projects, such as solar farms, on former industrial sites. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.

 

  • Assembly passes bill to expand parental, caregiving leave
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2121Aaa2024-H 7171Aaa) sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) and Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) to expand Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregiver Insurance program from six weeks to eight, allowing new parents more time for parental leave and caregivers more time to care for a critically ill family member. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.

Click here to see news release.

 

  • General Assembly OKs bill to extend lookback period for repeat DUI offenses
    The General Assembly passed legislation (2024-S 2937aa2024-H 7631aa) introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown) and Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) that would extend the lookback period for repeat offenses of driving under the influence from five to 10 years. The measure now moves to the governor’s office.
    Click here to see news release.

 

VP Kamala Harris reportedly told major Democratic donors "we are going to win the election." The Times says Harris spoke briefly about Biden, then pivoted to attacks on Donald Trump. Earlier today, Biden said he looked forward to campaigning next week after he recovers from COVID.       A major I-T outage is doing a lot of damage around the globe. Airlines, hospitals, banks, shops are struggling to get back online. Microsoft says it's working with companies to get them back online. Meanwhile, a sea of stranded travelers are stuck in airports across the U.S. as airlines struggle with their systems.       Former President Trump will hold his first joint campaign rally with Vice Presidential candidate JD Vance on Saturday. The indoor event will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a week after Trump was shot in an assassination attempt at a rally. Trump formally accepted his party's presidential nomination on Thursday at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.       The director of the Secret Service will face Congress on Monday. Director Kimberly Cheatle will testify before lawmakers for the first time since the assassination attempt on former President Trump at his Pennsylvania rally. She will no doubt be grilled about reported failures by her agency at the event. Cheadle has refused calls to resign.        The lights are still coming back on in the Houston area after Hurricane Beryl made landfall on July 8th. The number of residents still without power has shrunk, but it's still in the thousands. As of last check, at least six thousand customers were still waiting for service to be restored. CenterPoint Energy says it expects all customers should have power back by end of day.        Prime Day 2024 was one for the record books. Adobe Analytics estimates consumers spent 14-point-two billion dollars over the course of the two-day Amazon Prime sales event. That's up eleven-percent from 2023.