House approves compassion centers amendments
The House approved legislation developed to address concerns about Rhode Island’s medical marijuana compassion centers, moving the state one step closer to allowing patients to safely purchase the drug. The Senate bill (2012-S 2555A) sponsored by Sen. Rhoda E. Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence) has passed both chambers and has been sent to the governor, who, after halting the opening of the centers last year amid concerns about federal prosecution, has indicated he will sign it. The House bill (2012-H 7888A), sponsored by Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence), will now go to the Senate. Click here to see news release.
Assembly OKs bill for collection of unwanted, expired drugs
Legislation has been approved by the General Assembly and transmitted to the governor calling for containers to be made available at local police departments for the disposal of unused, expired or unwanted drug products, other than controlled substances. The Senate bill (2012-S 2635) was sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and the House bill (2012-H 7827) was introduced by Rep. Michael J. Marcello (D-Dist. 41, Scituate, Cranston). Click here to see news release.
Sosnowski secondhand smoke bill receives Senate approval
The Senate passed legislation (2012-S 2204A) authorizing police officers to provide a verbal warning to an individual who is smoking in a vehicle containing a child requiring a car seat. The bill, sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), does not allow an officer to stop or search a vehicle based solely on the individual’s decision to smoke with a child in the car. Click here to see news release.
Senate passes bill to protect those with food allergies
The Senate approved legislation (2012-S 2127Aaa) sponsored by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Little Compton, Tiverton) to require food-service establishments to have a food-protection manager trained and certified in food-allergy awareness, and to have allergy-awareness posters in staff areas to make all food-service workers cognizant of the importance of their roles in protecting food-allergic customers. The bill, which is modeled after a recently enacted Massachusetts program, was proposed by 17-year-old Danielle Mongeau of Middletown, whose family rarely dines out due to her and her sister’s severe food allergies. Rep. J. Russell Jackson (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) has introduced the bill (2012-H 7595) in the House. Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs bill requiring electric utilities to check for stray voltage
The Senate passed legislation to require National Grid to conduct voltage detection surveys and complete timely repairs of faults. The legislation (2012-S 2387A) sponsored by Sen. Rhoda E. Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence) was prompted by an incident last year in Providence during which a puppy died after stepping on an electrified manhole cover. Rep. Michael A. Tarro (D-Dist. 8, Providence) has introduced the bill (2012-H 7532) in the House. Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs expansion of promotional points for Twin River, Newport Grand
The Senate passed a bill (2012-S 2905) allowing the state lottery to amend its Master Video Terminal Contracts with both Twin River and Newport Grand to provide additional promotional points, or free play rewarded to frequent customers for the current fiscal year. Sponsored by Sen. Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence), the legislation authorizes additional promotional points not to exceed $250,000 per facility. Rep. William San Bento Jr. (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket, North Providence) is sponsoring the legislation (2012-H 8084) in the House.
Senate approves addition of gender identity to hate crimes law
The Senate voted to include gender identity and expression in the definition of hate crimes tracked by state law under a bill (2012-S 2488) sponsored by Sen. Rhoda E. Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence). The House has approved identical legislation (2012-H 7111) sponsored by Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Dist. 3, Providence). Click here to see news release.
House Judiciary hears testimony on DNA collection bill
The House Committee on Judiciary heard testimony from Jayann Sepich, whose daughter Katie was murdered in New Mexico in 2003 when she was a 22-year-old graduate student, on legislation to allow the collection of DNA samples from individuals arrested for crimes of violence. The so-called “Katie’s Law” bill (2012-H 7056) was introduced in the House by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly). A Senate version of the bill (2012-S 2061), sponsored by Sen. David E. Bates (R-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol), has already passed the Senate.
Closed-captioning access legislation heads to governor
Legislation to make public places with TV sets more accommodating to the state’s deaf and hard-of-hearing has been passed by the General Assembly and transmitted to the governor. The legislation – (2012-S 2321) sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston) and (2012-H 7445) sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) – requires any place of public accommodation that provides a TV for public viewing to keep closed-captioning activated upon request of any guest or patron. Click here to see news release.
House approves bill for osteopathic medicine school
Legislation enabling a new for-profit school of osteopathic medicine to apply for the approvals needed to open a campus and grant degrees in Rhode Island has been approved by the House. The bill (2012-H 7649) is sponsored by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly). An identical Senate bill (2012-S 2751) is sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston). Click here to see news release.