Smoking Bans, Narcan, & Betting Pools: This Week At The State House
Saturday, January 31, 2015
Sen. DiPalma, Rep. Ucci introduce Identity Theft Protection Act of 2015
Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Middletown, Little Compton, Tiverton) and Rep. Stephen R. Ucci (D-Johnston, Cranston) are introducing the Identity Theft Protection Act of 2015 to bring the state’s decade-old cybersecurity law up to date. Under it, those with access to personal information about Rhode Island residents will be required to implement reasonable security procedures and to provide swift notification whenever there is a breach in a security system protecting personal information that poses a risk of identity theft to any Rhode Islander.
Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation to require public schools with students in grades 6 through 12 to be equipped with opioid antagonists, known by the trade name Narcan, to treat overdoses of heroin and commonly abused prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. The measure is aimed at protecting teens and the general public during a regional overdose epidemic.
Rep. Solomon bill would prohibit keeping dogs outside in extreme temperatures
Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Warwick) has introduced legislation that would regulate the treatment of dogs kept outside in extreme temperatures. The bill would make it a violation to keep any dog outside when the ambient temperature is beyond the industry standard for the weather safety scale as set forth in the most recent adopted version of the Tufts Animal Care and Condition Weather Safety Scale if the dog is showing signs of poor health due to the weather conditions.
Rep. Picard, Sen. Kettle introduce tax exemptions for financially vulnerable
Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Woonsocket, Cumberland) has introduced legislation to exempt from state income taxes the wages of working Rhode Islanders 21 and younger and 62 and older. Meanwhile, Sen. Nicholas D. Kettle (R-Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich) has introduced legislation to exempt military pensions from Rhode Island state income tax.
Rep. Amore bill would legalize ‘social gaming’
Legislation to allow “social gaming” in Rhode Island, such as office football pools, has been introduced by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-East Providence). The legislation allows a group of friends or co-workers, a liquor license holder or a nonprofit organization to conduct a social game, defined as one where no person other than those participating in the game derives a profit. Liquor license holders could operate games by paying a $100 annual fee to the state, and nonprofits would be allowed to use up to 25 percent of a pool for charitable purposes.
Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Narragansett, North Kingstown) has again introduced legislation to put a constitutional amendment question before Rhode Island voters to reestablish the authority of the Ethics Commission over core legislative acts, such as voting and proposing legislation, while preserving the tradition of unfettered free speech for members of the legislature. If approved, the constitutional question would be before voters on the 2016 election ballot.
Sen. Lynch bill calls for beach smoking ban
Smoking would not be allowed on or within 20 feet of Rhode Island’s public beaches, under legislation introduced by Sen. Erin P. Lynch (D-Warwick, Cranston). The bill would make smoking or depositing smoking products on or near state beaches punishable by a fine of between $150 and $1,000, with the minimum fine escalating for subsequent offenses. The bill, said its sponsor, addresses concerns about dangers of smoking products to humans and to beach and ocean wildlife.
Sen. Metts proposes ‘micro-zones’ in distressed communities
Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Providence) has introduced legislation to allow communities to create “micro-zones” in exceptionally distressed areas and to encourage revitalization of those areas through a combination of expedited permitting and tax and fee waivers for refurbishing dilapidated, abandoned structures. The bill would require local community ordinances to establish the zones. Building owners wanting to participate in the program would need certification from the Commerce Corporation.
Bill makes dyslexia assistance part of state’s literacy program for early grades
Sen. Crowley calls for regulations, standards for homeless shelters
Legislation introduced by Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Central Falls, Pawtucket) would require regulations and standards to be established for the safe, effective and proper operation of homeless shelters for individuals and families. The standards would be proposed by a committee appointed by the Housing Resources Commission and cover areas such as admission and discharge policies and health and safety issues. The committee proposal would be subject to the state’s regulatory approval process. A companion bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. John J. Lombardi (D-Providence).
Related Slideshow: 15 to Watch in RI in 2015
Take a look at the 15 for 2015.
Ogie's Trailer Park
The new addition to the West Side drinking-and-dining scene will be one to watch in the coming year.
The bar slash restaurant slash beer garden, which just opened (with a clean inspection bill from the Department of Health) will feature late night fare into the wee hours, for those looking for a midnight snack -- or brew or two.
The head of the Wolf School in East Providence, Anna Johnson is a product -- and success story -- of the best Rhode Island's colleges have to offer. After getting her BA in Psychology from Brown, Johnson went on to get her Master's in Elementary Education at Brown, followed by a Master's in School Administration from Providence College.
Carolyn Thomas-Davis, who heads up OneVoice RI (which bills itself as "mobilizing, empowering and engaging communities throughout the State of Rhode Island...encouraging political awareness and involvement, on all levels of government") was an active force in Providence in 2014, and will no doubt be at the forefront of community issues in 2015.
After losing in 2012 to incumbent Representative William San Bento, Tobon emerged victorious this past election cycle in Pawtucket, besting independent opponent Jonathan Vallecilla with over 80% of the vote to represent the 58th House District in the General Assembly.
There are a lot of changes taking place at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, as it is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion -- and 2015 will mark the first full year with its new CEO, former world #4 Todd Martin, at the helm.
Individually, they would take up four out of the 15 to Watch list, but we're keeping an eye on the group as a whole. On November 6, the number of women on the Providence City Council increased by 100%. In the span of 24 hours, women on the City Council went from 2 out of 15 members last term, to four of the 15 members this term.
The Hassenfeld Institute for Public leadership at Bryant University provides public officials and others involved in the development, management, and execution of public policy with the "tools and skills needed to make informed decisions and manage responsive organizations in order to govern and lead public sector and non-profit organizations effectively" -- and according to Founder and Director (and GoLocal MINDSETTER) Gary Sasse, is about to step up its presence advising in policy matters in the state.
Since being elected Rhode Island's first female Governor in November, Governor-elect Gina Raimondo has made a number of key staffing announcements leading up to her inauguration on January 6 -- including two staffers from Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's Administration.