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 the General Assembly website.
Bill OK’d in Senate, bars foreclosures on property of active duty military
The Senate has approved legislation (2011-S 0703Aaa) to prohibit the foreclosure on property owned by active duty members of the military. Sponsored by Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), the bill allows the courts, upon application by the service member, to stay any foreclosure proceedings or adjust the obligation to preserve the interests of all parties. An identical House bill (2011-H 5824) has been introduced by Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth).
Click here to see news release.
House OKs bill to help police fight Internet child pornography
The House has approved legislation (2011-H 5093A) to give law enforcement agencies administrative subpoena power to obtain information from Internet service providers relative to the distribution or storage of child pornography. Sponsored by Rep. Peter Martin (D-Dist. 75, Newport), the bill will require ISPs to provide certain information to assist investigations of suspected violations of the state’s anti-pornography laws. An identical Senate bill (2011-S 0781A) was introduced by Sen. Beatrice A. Lanzi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston).
Click here to see news release.
House bill gives adult adoptees access to birth certificates
The House has approved a bill (2011-H 5453A) to allow adult adoptees born in Rhode Island to obtain non-certified copies of their original birth certificates. Sponsored by Rep. John M. Carnevale (D-Dist. 13, Providence, Johnston), the bill includes a “no release” option for birth parents. An identical Senate bill (2011-S 0361) has been introduced by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket). Click here to see news release.
Assembly passes genocide education bill
Legislation has passed the Assembly instructing the Department of Education to help local schools teach students about genocide as a critical component of civic education. The legislation (2011-S 0290A, 2011-H 5732A), sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Warwick) and Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence), directs the state Department of Education to post on its website materials to help schools teach students about genocides including the Holocaust and those in Armenia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda and Darfur. Click here to see news release.
Senate OKs bill promoting AP courses in RI schools
The Senate has passed legislation (2011-S 0436A) designed to promote access to advanced placement courses for all students in Rhode Island public schools. Sponsored by Sen. Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston), the bill establishes an advanced placement teacher training program in four core academic subjects – English, math, science and social sciences. Click here to see news release.
Senate passes I-195 land use legislation
The Senate approved legislation (2011-S 0114Aaa) that will create a redevelopment district and a redevelopment district commission to be responsible for the use of land becoming available in Providence as a result of the relocation of I-195. The bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, Providence, North Providence) and co-sponsored by the other members of the Providence Senate delegation. Click here to see news release.
Senate votes to create Family Engagement Advisory Council
To promote family involvement in the education process, the Senate passed legislation (2011-S 0720A) sponsored by Sen. Frank A. DeVall Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence) to create the Rhode Island Family Engagement Advisory Council. The 21-member council would bring together teachers, administrators and parents to make recommendations on how to develop family engagement policies and to better welcome all families to be active participants in the life of the school. Rep. Frank G. Ferri (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) has introduced similar legislation (2011-H 5995) in the House. Click here to see news release.
House OKs Naughton bill calling for patient-centered ‘medical homes’
The House approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Eileen S. Naughton (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) creating the “Rhode Island All-Payer Patient-Centered Medical Home Act.” A patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is a model of care where individuals use physician practices as the basis for accessible, continuous, comprehensive and integrated care. Under the bill (2011-H 5276A), the state health insurance commissioner would create a PCMH advisory council to develop statewide standards and payment mechanisms. Click here to see news release.
Governor signs bill allowing physician assistants to aid in disaster care
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee signed into law legislation allowing physician assistants to participate in disaster and emergency care. Sponsored by Sen. Christopher S. Ottiano (R-Dist. 11, Bristol, Portsmouth) and Rep. Frank G. Ferri (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), the legislation (2011-S 0303A, 2011-H 5672A) permits physician assistants to provide care without physician supervision if a doctor is not available.