At their September meeting, the Jamestown Democratic Town Committee unanimously voted to support a resolution calling upon all elected officials at the local, state, and national levels to work toward a ban on the sale and use of assault type weapons.
Assault type weapons with high capacity magazines have been responsible for the carnage in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Parkland and Orlando, Florida; and Newtown, Connecticut. The committee cited these cases, the legal precedent of the 2008 ruling of the Supreme Court that “dangerous and unusual weapons” may be banned, and the political precedent of the seven states and the District of Columbia that have already enacted legislation restricting assault weapons in support of their resolution.
The resolution has been forwarded to the Jamestown Town Council, state elected officials, and members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation. To read the complete resolution, click here.
from Rep Deb Ruggiero
This legislative session has been one of the more productive in my service as your State Representative. In part, thanks to the recommendations and vigilance from Democratic members of the Reform Caucus. Early in the session we championed a change in the House Rules that any bill amended must be posted 24 hours prior to a vote. For the first time in decades the House Rules were not suspended so that meant bills had to be posted for 48 hours on the House Calendar. It meant we ran out of time for some good bills that didn’t pass this session like the parentage adoption bill, but it also meant a slew of ‘bad bills’ didn’t get passed!
Some major accomplishments include passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act, codifying Roe v. Wade and ensuring a woman has a choice around her body, her health, and her reproductive rights. It passed the House and Senate on June 19th, the Governor signed into Rhode Island law that night.
Rhode Island’s statute of limitations on sexual abuse was extended to 35 years, a major victory for victims of childhood sexual abuse.
After years of debate, the bill to remove the sales tax on feminine hygiene products passed in the budget. Even though half the population must buy tampons and pads each month as a medical necessity, they were not considered ‘necessary items’ like lip balm and condoms, which are not taxed. As of July 1st, there’s no sales tax on menstrual products. Period.
The Speaker removed the $1.3 million he put into the state budget for a Cranston chiropractor following the controversy around taxpayer dollars funding a private business. The money was used, in part, for pay raises to the direct service providers who care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I lobbied very hard to restore the $200,000 funding to the Nonviolence Institute after it was removed from the budget; I was pleased to see that it had been restored in the budget.
Education aid increased $33 million with $2.9 to fund pre-kindergarten. Several education reform bills passed including reforms to school curriculum, fast-tracking the principal certification process, and greater management of schools at the local school level.
The legislature did not agree with the Governor’s proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. That means the debate will continue next legislative session.
Article 15 of the budget added 6 more medical marijuana centers in the state. I spoke on the House floor of my deep concerns of putting the cultivators, many small businesses, out of business. The state created the cultivator industry two years ago by licensing 46 cultivators and there are 35 licenses pending. By law, cultivators can only sell to medical marijuana centers. If these 9 compassion centers can grow and cultivate their own product, then there’s no incentive to buy from the 46 licensed cultivators who employ over 200 people in the state and have invested millions to establish this industry.
There may also be a separation of powers issue since the Article states the legislature shall approve the Rules and Regulations. The jury is still out on this issue!
Sustainability and corporate responsibility aren’t just buzz words. They’re business practices in the 21st century if companies want to attract young employees, investors, and customers. The company’s board of directors must create standards and metrics to measure the changes in the company and they must be approved by DEM’s Green Certification Program.
It was a very successful legislative session. I’m spending the summer writing legislation suggested by several different constituents that I’ll submit in January of 2020. If you have any suggestions or questions, please call or email me. I love hearing your input. I’m honored to serve as your State Representative. Have a great summer!
Call – (401) 423-0444
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rooftop solar arrays have been popping up all over Rhode Island, bringing clean energy and decentralizing generation to enrich the state’s electric resources, all while creating thousands of new jobs with dozens of solar installation companies. But like in any other rapidly expanding industry, there have been some complaints from customers who say their experiences have not been all sunshine and lower electric bills.
Rep. Deborah Ruggiero — a strong proponent of renewable energy who has sponsored laws that helped pave the way for the industry’s rise — is urging state regulators to implement consumer protection measures to ensure that Rhode Island solar customers are getting what they’re promised.
“While there are excellent opportunities and incentives that can make residential solar projects very rewarding, there are many installers doing the work now, and they are not all equal. Consumers need some assurance that the installer is offering them a product that will work for their site. They deserve an honest representation of the energy and savings their system is likely to produce. They need to know the risks, too. If companies want to benefit from our state’s incentive programs, they must be willing to adhere to good business practices that protect consumers,” said Representative Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown).
She has proposed legislation (2019-H 5991) seeking to have the Office of Energy Resources adopt greater consumer protection measures for homeowners who invest in solar. She is optimistic that the adoption of a disclosure form will protect Rhode Islanders from unfair practices by installers. If not, she plans to introduce more stringent requirements, she said.
Deck Work on Newport Pell Bridge begins Sunday May 12th. In my meetings with RITBA they say there will NOT be any lane closures during rush hours for initial phase of the work (work will be done mostly at night). During non-rush hours 9am to 3pm and overnight from 7pm to 5:30am there WILL be lane closures.
There are two public hearings next week for more details and if you’d like to ask specific questions:
TUES. MAY 14th 6pm at CCRI Newport Auditorium
WED. MAY 15th 6pm at RITBA headquarters in Jamestown
Please call or email me anytime.
Rep. Deborah Ruggiero
After a week long winter break, the General Assembly is back to work. Committee hearings are vitally important to the process and are scheduled for each evening after the floor session on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The committee hearings typically begin at the ‘rise’ of the Senate. The rise is defined as when the floor session ends (usually around 5 pm depending on the length of the floor schedule). Floor and committee calendars, including links to bills that are being discussed and voted upon, are posted to the General Assembly homepage: http://www.
This page is updated regularly as new committees are scheduled
Social Enterprise Greenhouse is hiring a Program Director for Newport. This is a great opportunity to work for a nonprofit supporting small businesses and social enterprises. Applications are due March 7 and more information can be found at their website: http://segreenhouse.
Additional job opportunities around the state are posted online at the following website: