Raimondo Signs Good Samaritan Act Into Law

Thursday, January 28, 2016


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Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Good Samaritan Act of 2016 into law on Wednesday at Anchor Recovery Community Center in Pawtucket. 

The good Samaritan Act

The law reinstates and expands important legal protections for those who seek medical assistance for individuals experiencing a drug overdose. 

 "We deeply appreciate the swift passage of the Good Samaritan law and commend the General Assembly members and the many community advocates who contributed to advancing this legislation. This law is an essential component of the great work happening in Rhode Island to address substance use disorders and reduce overdose deaths, and we look forward to building on these efforts through the work of the Governor's Overdose Task Force," said Maria Montanaro, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Development Disabilities and Hospitals. 

What This Bill Means 

The good Samaritan Act provides immunity against arrest to any individual who calls for medical assistance when someone is experiencing an overdose. The Good Samaritan act was originally passed in 2012 with a three year sunset provision that expired last year. 

"With the passage of this bill, no one has to think twice about making the 911 call. More importantly, it validates the important fact that every life is worth saving," said Jonathon Goyer, a recovery advocate. 

Added representative Robert Craven, "Saving a life is much more important than a drug arrest. Ultimately, nothing should ever discourage someone from trying to provide assistance to someone who is dying."

Raimondo plans to work with the General Assembly to secure funding for overdose prevention, addiction treatment and recover support, and Medicaid funding to support and expand peer recovery coach programs. 

"Drug overdose is a public health crisis that cuts across every community in Rhode Island. I applaud the General Assembly for passing these bills quickly. Their focus reflects my top priority on this issue: Save lives. By removing barriers to contacting emergency services during overdose situations, this law is an important part of our efforts to reduce opioid overdose deaths and help more people make it in Rhode Island," said Raimondo. 

Raimondo also announced that the state will send over $40,000 in Google settlement funds to be used by the Rhode Island State Police and local police departments to purchase and distribute Naloxone in the communities hardest hit by drug overdose. 


Related Slideshow: 5 Economic Projects - Can Raimondo Get Them Done?

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#5 Wexford-CV Properties

The Raimondo administration continues to work with the 195 Commission to seal the deal with the Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology for development of prime real estate on the former highway land.  While a proposal was made back in June for a mixed-use project, the negotiations between the state and the life sciences have been mostly behind the scenes, with a key vote taken on the proposal taking place Monday night -- in closed session.  

"It is important to note that a P&S while an important milestone, is still just a step in the development process," said Commission spokesperson Dyana Koelsch.  You can see the plan as presented on the Jewelry District's website HERE.   Will we see shovels shortly?

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#4 General Electric

Reports that the Connecticut giant is eyeing a move elsewhere — with Rhode Island on that short list — has many a Ocean Stater excited at the possibility.  The Boston Globe not surprisingly made the case that their state should top the list (taking a dig at the others), saying that the "Boston area is on the short list of contenders for the headquarters and its 800 people, as GE’s search focuses on high-cost states in the Northeast. In relation to those states, Massachusetts compares favorably on its business tax climate."

However a Connecticut State Rep told the Hartford Courant a month earlier that Rhode Island as an option “wouldn’t surprise him.” Said State Rep John Frey in November, “It's been expressed to me by a couple of people at GE that they've been impressed by what the governor has done with state employee liabilities." To say a GE coup by Raimondo would be monumental for Rhode Island would be an understatement.

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#3 Citizens' Campus

The Rhode Island-based banking powerhouse has indicated that is looking for a vacant location state as a potential new campus for 4,000 + of its employees — while maintaining its headquarters downtown at One Citizens Plaza.  There is little indication at this time however of consideration of a vacant parcel of prime Providence real estate just to its HQ's south (that being the Industrial National Bank “Superman” building); the bank is indicating that keeping its support facility in Cranston is still an option.  

“The lease for our service and support facility in Cranston expires in 2018. We are exploring several opportunities ranging from renewal to potentially consolidating some of our staff and back office functions at a new location in Rhode Island," said Citizens spokesperson Jim Hughes.  Watch to see how Citizens moves forward -- and what, if any, role Raimondo has in the process -- and outcome.

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#2 Superman Building

The arguably most iconic building in Providence — and Rhode Island’s - skyline lost its last tenant in 2013, and a year later an appraiser deemed it to have “zero value.”  A failed effort to utilized tax credits and public investment by High Rock Development has left watchers asking if and when anything is going to move into the historic (if slightly aging) building.

Former Mayor and real estate developer Joseph Paolino, who has been a vocal supporter of trying to get Citizens Bank into Superman, told GoLocal, “I think the biggest problem [in the city] is Superman, because it depresses everything around it. Paolino, who bought three properties nearby downtown back in 2014 — said the revelation that the Industrial National Bank building was empty had cost him a mortgage with a major lender.

Whether there is an opportunity for a Citizens Bank move, or a new developer to re-package a viable mixed-use proposal, if the Superman building is still empty in several years' time, that is not a win for anyone -- not the city, not the state, and not the Governor.

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#1 195 Rollout

When Raimondo took office, she understandably made a number of changes on the 195 Commission. A tax stabilization agreement (TSA) structure was finalized this past summer, and the Commission has the Wexford biotech proposal moving forward — but how much more development, and how soon, will the Raimondo administration be able to accomplish what it pledged it would do?

Raimondo called for the 195 land to be a manufacturing hub during her campaign — and while year one might have been setting the stage, the next years are critical for the state — and Governor.  Will she usher through her proposed Innovation Institute?  


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