This week at the

General Assembly

 

STATE HOUSE — 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 http://www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease

 

§  Legislators approve spending portion of ARPA funds

The General Assembly approved and the governor immediately signed into law a plan (2021-H 6494A2021-S 1006A) for using $119 million of Rhode Island’s $1.13 billion American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal Recovery Funds to help children, families, small businesses and the tourism industry, and boost affordable housing and broadband planning. Legislators added $6 million to further enhance support for child care needs, as well as safeguards and specifics, to the plan that was originally proposed by Gov. Dan McKee.
Click here to see news release.

§  General Assembly overrides veto of bill to register short-term rentals
The General Assembly voted to override the governor’s veto of legislation (2021-H 5505A2021-S 0501B) sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to require every short-term rental property listed for rent in Rhode Island on the website of any third-party hosting platform to be registered with the Department of Business Regulation. The bill, which now becomes law, is meant to furnish basic information to ensure compliance with safety and tax regulations and owners’ contact information in case of an emergency.
Click here to see news release.

§  Speaker Shekarchi says affordable housing will top legislative priorities

Speaker of the House K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) opened the 2022 session by announcing that affordable housing will continue to be his top legislative priority. He also indicated that a good deal of the chamber’s work will focus on the health and economic issues related to the pandemic, and that the House would begin a robust hearing process on the legalization of marijuana.

Click here to see news release.

§  President Ruggerio lays out legislative priorities for 2022
Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) convened the Senate for its 2022 legislative session, laying out the agenda for the year including a goal of 100 percent renewable energy for Rhode Island by the end of the decade, universal access to pre-kindergarten within five years, tuition forgiveness for nurses and teachers, addressing climate change and water infrastructure, building a girls’ residential psychiatric treatment facility, and the legalization of marijuana.

Click here to see news release.

 

§  Senate confirms several judges and magistrates
The Senate confirmed several new judges and magistrates who were appointed by the governor on the opening day of the 2022 legislative session.  The judicial appointments, which require the advice and consent of the Senate, were confirmed to posts within the Rhode Island Superior Court, the Rhode Island Family Court, the Rhode Island District Court and the Rhode Island Worker’s Compensation Court.  The Senate also approved two magistrate appointments to the Rhode Island Superior Court.

 

§  Legislation seeks to expand investment in Rhode Island school buildings
Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) and Rep. Brandon Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston) joined General Treasurer Seth Magaziner in announcing that they will sponsor legislation seeking voter approval this year to expand the ongoing investment in school construction by $300 million, with incentives for energy efficiency or renewable energy use and the use of Rhode Island based and minority contractors.
Click here to see news release.

 

A timeline of a deadly shooting at a South Texas elementary school is being released. Governor Greg Abbott says the 18-year-old shot his grandmother in the face yesterday morning and fled before getting into a shootout with Consolidated Independent School District police. He was able to get into the backdoor of the school and killed 19 students and two teachers.       Beto O'Rourke is disrupting Texas Governor Greg Abbott's briefing on a South Texas deadly school shooting. The Democrat walked toward the dais in Uvalde [[ yoo-VAHL-dee ]] this afternoon to blame the Republican for the attack. He was escorted out after being cursed at by those on stage.        President Biden is signing a new executive order on national police reform. Speaking at the White House, Biden said the order aims to boost police accountability. He called it the most extensive police reform in decades. Biden said it's a new start, advancing public trust and public safety.        Natural gas prices are hitting their highest level in nearly 14 years. It was nearly nine-dollars and 40 cents at one point today. That's the highest mark since August 2008. It's just the latest pain as Americans deal with higher prices for many things like gas and groceries.       The intersection in Minneapolis where George Floyd was killed two years ago is being renamed in his honor. Floyd was killed at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago two years ago today. His death happened after white police officer Derek Chauvin [[ SHO-vin ]] pinned Floyd's neck with his knee as Floyd was handcuffed and pleaded that he couldn't breathe.        "American Pie" singer Don McLean will no longer perform at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Texas on Friday. McLean told TMZ it would be "disrespectful and hurtful" to perform after 19 children were murdered in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde [[ yoo-VAHL-dee ]], Texas on Tuesday. However, he added he's sure "all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans."