Welcome! Login | Register
 

Brown Throttles Columbia 41-7 In Season Finale—Bears dominate Lions from start to finish

Revolution-Red Bulls Prepare For Eastern Conference Finals—The Revolution and Red Bulls will kickoff the…

Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker to Return for 37th Annual Performance—Festival Ballet will perform their 37th annual production…

What To Watch For: Patriots vs. Lions—The Patriots and Lions are two of the…

5 Takeaways From The Friars 80-54 Win Over Florida State—Friars roll Florida State 80-54. Improve to 4-0…

Downcity Presents Holiday Social Lineup—InDowncity, Cornish Associates and Aurora are teaming up…

Rhode Island College Football Preview—All three local teams are home on Saturday,…

Fit For Life: Don’t be a turkey…—It's Thanksgiving, but I am going to stick…

Leonard Moorehead, The Urban Gardener: Wreaths Go Full Circle—Urban gardeners grow year round.

Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?—Who's Hot? Who's Not? Find out here

 
 

State Report: Lawmakers Take Aim at Revenge Porn+ Sexual Predators

Saturday, December 21, 2013

 

This week’s State Report centers on the General Assembly’s call to end revenge porn, which is when individuals post photos and/or videos on the Internet with intent to embarrass or harm another person. We’ll also examine another Internet-related bill, which looks to fortify Internet safety and child protection laws.

Also on the docket: a call to artists to help design autism license plates; a major expansion at Quonset Business Park; cleanup in Central Falls; and a measure to protect unemployment benefits.

Stopping the Disturbing Trend of Revenge Porn

Citing the ever growing problem of posting photos and videos on the Internet with intent to embarrass or harm another individual, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, Sen. Erin P. Lynch (D-Dist. 31, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. Donald J. Lally Jr. (D-Dist. 33, Narragansett, South Kingstown) announced on Monday plans to file legislation that would prohibit the posting of “revenge porn” without consent of the individual depicted in the images.

Revenge porn is sexually explicit media that is publicly shared online without the consent of the pictured individual. Revenge porn is uploaded by former lovers or hackers for the purpose of humiliation. The images or videos are often accompanied by personal information, including the pictured individual's full name and links to social media profiles.

“Posting explicit photos of a former partner without their consent is extremely hurtful and embarrassing,” said Senator Lynch. “Penalties need to be strong to ensure that people think twice before attempting to degrade an individual in this way. I am grateful to Attorney General Kilmartin for developing this legislation to address a new kind of virtual assault, which disproportionately targets women.”

“I, too, applaud Attorney General Kilmartin for seeking this strong legislation,” said Representative Lally. “Individuals posting explicit photos with the intent of embarrassing a former romantic partner must be punished, and this new law would give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools necessary to take decisive action. Once such a law is on the books, it will hopefully make those seeking revenge think twice before invading someone’s privacy in such a degrading manner.”

Attorney General Kilmartin has filed similar legislation for the past three years as one part of his Internet Safety legislation package.

“We have all been taught that once an image is posted on the Internet, there is a good chance it will be in cyberspace forever. But, the latest phenomenon of individuals posting intimate photos and videos on ‘revenge porn’ sites with the mission to embarrass exes takes the exploitation and degradation of people, especially women, to a new level of depravity,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “These private images go viral to the world leaving the victim no recourse to have the images removed. This legislation will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to hold these vengeful individuals accountable for this horrendous action.”

Proposed penalties

The legislation to be submitted during the 2013 General Assembly session would prohibit a person from electronically disseminating visual images of another engaged in sexually explicit conduct or the intimate parts of another, without that person’s consent and where the person had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Constitutionally protected activity is not subject to the provisions of this section. Those in violation would be guilty of a felony with a maximum penalty of three years in prison or a fine of not more than $3,000 or both. Although there have been reports of this disturbing conduct occurring, this activity is not currently addressed by Rhode Island law.

Laws in other states

Although forty states have anti-cyberharassment laws, only New Jersey and California have laws explicitly applicable to revenge porn. Earlier this week, California State Senator Anthony Cannella said that he would propose a bill that would extend the state's revenge porn law to include "selfies," selfies,” which are photographs that men or woman take of themselves.

Check out more news from the past week in the slides below.

 

Related Slideshow: RI State Report: More News of the Week - 12/21/13

Prev Next

Women in Government

Earlier this week, Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) has been elected a 2014 state director with Women In Government by her state legislative colleagues. State directors help ascertain important issues in their states so that Women In Government can tailor programming to these needs.

“Women In Government congratulates Senator Crowley in her position as a state director. State directors play a critical role in setting policy priorities for our organization,” said Marjorie Maginn, president and executive director of Women In Government. “Senator Crowley is a recognized leader in her state, and we are excited that she will now share her leadership skills with other women policymakers throughout the country.”

Women In Government provides conferences that feature expert speakers on a variety of public policy topics and their impact on states. Topics include health care reform, diabetes, emerging issues in energy policy, cervical cancer prevention, the current status of women in state legislatures, childhood obesity, public health, economic security and opportunities and many others. These meetings also provide attendees with the opportunity to network with colleagues from across state borders and share best practices and experiences to advance successful public policies.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to shape the work that we do in Women in Government to fit the ever-evolving issues that face state governments. I look forward to a busy and successful year,” said Senator Crowley.

Prev Next

Tax Breaks for Trucks

Sen. Edward J. O’Neill (I-Dist. 17, Lincoln, North Providence, North Smithfield) pre-filed a bill this week that would give pickup truck owners the same tax break as those who buy or trade in regular automobiles.

The bill exempts the trade-in value of pickup trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight from sales tax with the caveat that they are not used commercially.

“Pickup trucks have become just another family vehicle, and it has been that way for a long time,” Senator O’Neill said. “So to me, it doesn’t make sense that we aren’t offering the same deduction to someone who is exclusively using his or her vehicle for personal use just because it’s a truck and not a car. I believe the original idea behind the inequity is that there was a notion out there that most trucks are used for work or commercial purposes as opposed to a personal vehicle. That’s certainly not true. People may choose a truck over a car for a host of reasons. There’s no real explanation anymore as to why the sales tax is applied one way to cars and one way to pickup trucks, and this bill would restore fairness to our tax structure in this instance.”

When one purchases a car in Rhode Island and trades in his or her old one, the sales tax is calculated on the price of the new car, minus the value of the trade. But when purchasing a pickup truck, the same rules don’t apply. Sales tax on pickup trucks is currently based on the full price of the new truck without factoring in the trade value of the old vehicle.

Senator O’Neill introduced this bill last year.

Prev Next

Sexual Predator Bill

Citing a hole in the state’s Internet safety and child protection laws, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, along with Rep. Peter Martin (D–District 75, Newport) and Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D–District 26, Cranston), have announced they will introduce legislation making it a felony to electronically disseminate sexually explicit images to minors, including photos and videos, as well as live sex acts transmitted via webcam. The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association supports the bill.

“Sending sexually explicit material to a child online is no different than approaching a child at a playground. Make no mistake, people who engage in this type of deviant behavior are child predators, hiding behind their computer screens searching for victims, and they need to be treated as such,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.

“It is unfortunate that we need laws such as this, and unfortunate that there are individuals in our society involved in this kind of repugnant activity,” said Representative Martin. “The reality is, this stuff goes on and we need to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep up with advances in techno-crimes and to find and prosecute the people who perpetrate them. I am happy to work with the Attorney General’s office on this legislation, to further protect our children from predators.”

“I was shocked to learn that this loophole exists in current law. I will work closely with Attorney General Kilmartin and do all I can legislatively to ensure that this problem is addressed and corrected,” said Senator Frank S. Lombardi. “I know that one of the most important things for all of us who are parents is to keep our children safe, and closing this loophole in the internet and child protection laws is another important way to safeguard our children from this kind of horrible predatory activity.”

Although Rhode Island has strict child pornography and human trafficking laws, the law does not address adults sending lewd and sexually explicit photos and videos to children. The act of sending sexually explicit images and video to children is, among other things, a way for predators to “groom” the children to build a relationship that can lead to exploitation and further victimization, said the Attorney General.

The proposed legislation would amend current law to make it a felony to knowingly transmit electronically indecent material to minors. Those in violation would be guilty of a felony and subject to up to five years in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. In addition, persons found guilty would be subject to sex offender registration.

Prev Next

Blackjack For Charity

Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence), who took the top prize at a holiday blackjack tournament at Twin River last week, has issued a statement on the event's real winner— the Assumption Church Food Pantry, which is located in his district.

Representative Slater was one of several state legislators who participated in the casino’s inaugural Holiday Blackjack Tournament for Charity. His $10,000 top prize will be donated by the casino to the food pantry for which he was playing.

“I am really pleased that I was able to win the grand prize in the tourney because I know how much it will help the Assumption Church help the residents of the community who benefit from the charitable work of the food pantry,” said Representative Slater.

“The food pantry at the Assumption Church, like so many others around our state, is seeing a growing need for the service they provide, not only because of the time of year but also because of the continuing state of our economy,” he said. “I am pleased that my luck at the blackjack table is going to help more people who are facing really difficult times right now and I want to thank Twin River for its commitment to giving back to the community.”

According to a church official, the food pantry served 832 families, representing 2,183 individuals, during the month of November alone, and well over 5,000 families so far this year. Located at 791 Potters Avenue in Providence, the food pantry is open on the second and fourth Wednesday and Thursday of each month, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.

The legislators and other players who took part in the charity tournament played for the Rhode Island charity of their choice. Those top six qualifiers from a preliminary round earned a seat at the championship table. A total of $60,000 was donated by Twin River to the designated charities, with each organization receiving at least $1,000.

John F. Taylor Jr., Chairman of the Twin River Casino Board of Directors, said the tournament, which is to be an annual event, was scheduled during the holiday season as “a meaningful way to continue our philanthropic outreach.”

Prev Next

Autism License Plates

Sen. Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick) is calling for all local artists and members of the public to submit designs for a special license plate supporting the Autism Project of Rhode Island.

The senator, whose bill authorizing the creation of the special license plate passed the General Assembly this year, said he is excited to offer local artists a chance to compete for their own unique designs for a good cause.

“I’d like to encourage anyone who wants to contribute to submit a design to the panel,” Senator Satchell said. “The panel will then vote to pick the top three designs before submitting it for a public vote. We hope to have the new plate unveiled before April’s Autism Walk.”

In addition to the regular prescribed motor vehicle registration fee, the special plates will be subject to a $40 issuance charge, $20 of which will go directly to the Autism Project of Rhode Island. Those funds will be used to continue developing and delivering services to children, educators and families in the state.

The submission deadline is Jan. 1, 2014. All submissions can be sent to autismplatesri@gmail.com or posted on its Facebook page. Design specifications and other information can also be found on the Facebook page.

Prev Next

Expansion at Quonset

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced Wednesday that General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) and the Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) have reached a new 25-year lease agreement to extend and expand Electric Boat's footprint at Quonset Business Park. Approved by the QDC's Board of Directors at their December meeting, the expanded lease will give Electric Boat the flexibility it needs to construct new, specialized facilities for submarine programs.

"Today's announcement means more good paying jobs with excellent benefits for Rhode Island and will help boost our economy," Governor Chafee said. "Quonset has become one of the premier business complexes in the northeast, and it includes Electric Boat's facility where modular construction of submarines was pioneered and continues to be perfected."

The terms of the tentative agreement expand Electric Boat's footprint by about 42 acres, which includes more than 1 million square feet of building space. Currently Electric Boat leases 100 acres at the business park, and owns an additional 33 acres. The company performs a variety of activities at Quonset, including manufacturing, hull fabrication, modular construction, coating and steel processing. The 25 years will be the longest lease term that Electric Boat has held at the Quonset Business Park.

The new lease includes an incentive package, which provides a discount depending on the length of the lease and an additional discount for job creation. The incentive program is the standard offered by the QDC to all future tenants.

Electric Boat employs more than 2,500 people at Quonset, at an average wage in excess of $50,000, not including benefits. The decision by Congress to double production of the Virginia-class submarine has already resulted in the increase of several hundred jobs at Quonset. The company has also invested more than $900 million at Quonset since it established its manufacturing site there in 1973. In the last three years, Electric Boat has spent $112 million at 270 Rhode Island based suppliers.

Quonset Business Park is now home to more than 175 companies, employing approximately 9,500 people in full-time and part-time jobs in many industries. The Port of Davisville at Quonset is also one of the top 10 auto-importers in North America. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), and the largest employer at the business park.

Prev Next

Central Falls Cleanup

Earlier this week, the Central Falls’ Segue Institute of Learning scholars and Rep. Agostinho F. Silva (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) contributed $2,000 to complete the first successful city crowdfunding project in Rhode Island history. The $10,044 raised will now help fund the cleanup of the city’s historic Jenks Park with new recycling bins and trash cans that will double as artwork.

“This was a great initiative from the start, and I am proud to be a part of it,” Representative Silva said. “Money isn’t always readily available for projects like this, especially in the case of Central Falls. But the administration and the students really thought outside of the box. We must continue to make investments like this in our community so that our residents not only have pride in where they live, but a place where the quality of life attracts people, businesses and other building blocks of a successful city. It was a chance to really make a positive change, and I’m proud of everyone who came together for the cause.”

City officials said this is the first time a Rhode Island city has raised money for a project solely through crowdfunding. Students at Segue Institute raised $500 with a Dress Down Day. Representative Silva also presented the city – which used a crowdfunding platform called Citizinvestor – with a $1,500 legislative grant for the project.

Steel Yard, a local nonprofit, will be contracted to create five new trash and recycling containers that would also appear as public art in the park. The new bins will replace aging plastic trash cans, which frequently tip over and litter the grounds.

Jenks Park was built in 1890 and was donated as a gift to the city from Alvin Jenks. It is home to Cogswell Tower and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: From left, Central Falls Director of Planning and Economic Development Stephen Larrick, Parks and Recreation Director Joshua Giraldo, Mayor James Diossa and Rep. Agostinho F. Silva gathered Monday, Dec. 16, for the presentation of a $1,500 legislative grant for the Jenks Park cleanup effort.

Prev Next

Unemployment Insurance

In an effort to prevent more than 1.3 million long-term unemployed workers from losing their unemployment insurance after the holidays, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday to preserve federal unemployment insurance (UI) for three months while Congress works out a comprehensive plan.

With just 10 days before federal UI benefits are set to expire, the Senators are seeking to provide some much needed certainty to our economy and ensure vulnerable families will continue to have access to this vital lifeline. 

“I hope this sensible and bipartisan approach will provide a path forward to preserving the program through the entire 2014 calendar year, which will give families and our economy time to recover.  Because, frankly, this is a program designed to be there for every worker should the unfortunate happen and they find themselves without a job through no fault of their own,” stated Senator Jack Reed.  “This program has been, and continues to be, a crucial benefit to millions of American households all over the country and of nearly every conceivable demographic.  That is why it’s such a significant part of keeping this economic recovery going forward.  Its expiration will hurt families and set back our recovery and cost the economy 200,000 jobs in 2014. 

The unemployment insurance system is a partnership between the federal government and state governments that provides a temporary weekly benefit to qualified workers who lose their job and are seeking work. The amount of that benefit is based in part on a worker’s past earnings.  Rhode Island and Nevada are among 43 states that offer 26 weeks of UI coverage, while 7 states offer fewer weeks.

The extended federal UI program was signed into law in June 2008 by President George W. Bush, when the national unemployment rate was 5.6% and the average duration of jobless insurance was 17.1 weeks.  It has been reauthorized by Congress a number of times since as America seeks to emerge from the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression.  Today, the national unemployment rate is 7% and the average duration of UI benefits is 36.1 weeks, which is much longer than the 26 weeks of unemployment coverage that most states provide.

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.