NEWS

Back to School News from Deb Ruggiero

Rhode Island is in Phase 3 and that means schools can open on August 31st. Although students and teachers can return to the classroom, the governor is not mandating that students return to the classroom.  Whatever decisions you, as a parent, make regarding your children returning to school will be the right decisions for your family.

Each school district is required to have approved plans that include three options – a full in-person class, a hybrid return with both in-class and remote learning, and distance learning for everyone. 

Jamestown Superintendent Ken Duva set a good tone during his Q & A with parents about Going Back to School. If you missed it, his introduction is worth a listen.   The district cannot allocate teachers and resources until they know how many students will return in-person, stay for distance learning (DL), or be home-schooled by parents.  So, please take the time to do the survey. Your feedback is important for bus transportation and resources.

If you’re curious about what other districts are doing, visit Rhode Island Department of Education’s website www.Back2SchoolRI.com.

Are you a HAMILTON fan? Well, this HAMILTON BACK TO SCHOOL MASH UP is a great parody! Stay well,

JAMESTOWN DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE ENDORSES CANDIDATES FOR 2020

The Jamestown Democratic Town Committee is delighted to endorse a full slate of candidates for local offices for the November election.  We are proud to endorse incumbent State Senator Dawn Euer, representing Jamestown and Newport and Jamestown’s own incumbent State Representative, Deb Ruggiero, who also represents Middletown.  These two principled and progressive leaders have an unwavering commitment to their constituents, to honest and fair government and legislation that will promote environmental stewardship, social justice and reviving our economy.

Full Slate of Democrats Steps Up to Take on New Challenges

We enthusiastically support the candidacies of our three incumbent Democrats on the Town Council for re-election. Town Council President Mike White has led the Council with an even -handed friendliness, welcoming to all, while getting a lot done.  North Road is repaved and the bike path nearly completed, the Golf Course clubhouse is underway and East Ferry’s sidewalks and parking areas improved. And the Council hired a new Town Administrator.

Vice-President Mary Meagher has continued to demonstrate the leadership the town has come to expect over her eight years of service, leading the way on important issues such as affordable housing and capital improvements to town infrastructure.

Early in his first term, Councilor Randy White led a Charter Review Committee to develop a comprehensive revision of the procedures for initiative petitions that will be on the ballot for voters’ consideration in November. Randy’s thoughtful approach to issues has become an integral part of the council’s deliberations, and complements the work of his colleagues.

We are delighted to welcome Councilor Nancy Beye, who ran (and won) as an Independent two years ago.  As the owner of Jamestown’s Early Learning Center, Nancy has nurtured, guided, and cared for Jamestown’s children since 1995.  Recently, Nancy’s efforts to reopen safely from the COVID-19 crisis earned her the attention and support of the Small Business Advisory Council and Lt. Governor Dan McKee. Nancy has been on the Board of the Friends of the Jamestown Seniors since 2015 and for past 21 years, she has served  as an EMT for the Jamestown Fire Department.

We are thrilled to introduce Erik Brine, a new candidate for Town Council. Erik is a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, who has served our nation overseas in 56 countries, on several deployments and in several offices at the Pentagon.  In his civilian capacity, he has been an advisor to U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, held roles at the Departments of State and Defense, and served as a Defense budget and policy advisor at the White House in two administrations. These days, he is the Executive Director of the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology at URI and UConn.  Erik, and his wife, Kerry, love living in Jamestown and reside on Columbia Ave with their four children.

 

 “Three School Committee Candidates Vow to Continue Blue Ribbon Performance”

Our slate of School Committee candidates is equally impressive.

We are immensely proud to introduce Drew Allsopp as a new candidate. Drew has a background in education policy with a focus on urban schools and districts. He is currently Chief of Finance & Operations at a small Providence high school focusing on students who are pregnant or parenting. He began his career as a high school teacher in New York City,  worked as an executive in a non profit  and served as  a director in the Office of Innovation at the RI Department of Education.  From 2015-2016, Drew was Director of Policy for RI Lieutenant Governor Daniel J. McKee. Drew, his wife Lindsay, and their two boys (both at the Melrose school) live on Conanicus Avenue.

We are so fortunate that Sally Schott, currently the Vice Chair of the Jamestown School committee, is again seeking the opportunity to serve. Sally is the former President of the Jamestown Education Foundation and currently serves on the board of the Jamestown Community Food Pantry. This past term, Sally served as the liaison to the North Kingstown HS School Committee and previously served as a parent representative on the Jamestown School Improvement Team,  while her three children  attended  the Jamestown schools.  As the proud mother of twin boys who just   graduated from NKHS, and her daughter from college, Sally looks forward to continuing the work necessary to maintain the high standards for the next generation of Jamestown students.

We are pleased that Agnes Filkins is seeking another term.  Agnes has served as the liaison for both Melrose and Lawn School Improvement Teams. Through this experience Agnes has first hand information of the inner workings of both schools. Agnes makes fact-based decisions regarding policy, budget, and other school related issues. Agnes views her service on the School Committee as an extension of her longtime career in education including many years in the classroom

Sally and Agnes have been integral in leading Jamestown schools  to impressive accomplishments. Melrose School was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and Lawn Avenue School was awarded a five star rating by the RI Department of Education.  Combined with the new experiences of Drew, Jamestown Schools will continue to provide an excellent educational experience for our island’s youth.

“A Town Moderator Who Excels at Meeting New Challenges”

Last, but not least, the intrepid John Murphy is seeking another term as Town Moderator. John’s skills were never more evident than at the recent 2020 “Drive-In” Town Financial Meeting. We are honored to endorse John again.

We look forward to meeting you in every creative, socially-distanced, masked and safe way that we can during the upcoming months. Confirm, with Town Hall, that your voter registration is current, as it has never been more important to VOTE.

Executive Order to Shelter in Place

Jamestown Town Administrator Jamie Hainsworth has issued an order that all residents or visitors entering Jamestown from areas having a current self-quarantine directive shelter in place for 14 days after entering the area.  In addition, he requests those coming from an area that does not have such restrictions to follow the same  procedure.   See the complete order below and read the Covid-19 newsletter.here

Vote By Mail in Presidential Primary

RECOMMENDATION FROM REPRESENTATIVE DEB RUGGIERO

Rhode Island’s Presidential Primary is Tuesday April 28th; your Local Board of Canvasser will need your mail ballot application by APRIL 7th.

It’s very easy to do.  4 EASY STEPS that will keep you AWAY from a large crowd at the polling places on Election Day:

  1. FILL OUT BOX A and the ballot will be mailed to your home address
  2. CHECK OFF #4 in BOX C – no excuse – you cannot get to the poll
  3. SIGN the MAIL BALLOT APPLICATION
  4. MAIL it to your Local Board of Canvassers:

Town of Jamestown:
93 Narragansett Avenue Jamestown, RI 02835

Here is the link to vote Apply for your Mail Ballot 

Please stay safe, stay calm, and sanitize on!

PROTECTING YOURSELF & YOUR FAMILY:   
●   What You Should Know (here)
●   Travel Information (here)
●   Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities (here)
●   Higher Risk & Special Populations (here)Stay well,
Rep. Deborah Ruggiero

drjamestown@cox.net     423-0444

Resolution in Support of the Large Capacity Feeding Device Ban Act of 2020 H7264/S2130

WHEREAS: Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines, generally defined as magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds, are feeding devices that may hold as many as 100 rounds of ammunition; and

WHEREAS: Nine States and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning large capacity ammunition magazines including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Vermont; and

WHEREAS: Large capacity ammunition magazines have been used in most mass shootings of innocent civilians, including:

  • Dayton, Ohio, August 4, 2019: when a shooter killed 9 and wounded 17 at a local tavern with an AR-15-style assault pistol equipped with a 100-round magazine;
  • Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018: when a shooter killed 17 and wounded 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with an AR-15-style assault rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine;
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, October 1, 2017: when a shooter killed 58 and wounded 413 from the window of a suite on the 32nd floor of a hotel tower using weapons that included twelve AR-15-style assault rifles, all of which were equipped with bump stocks and eleven of which had 100-round magazines and one had a 40-round magazine, one AR-10 rifle equipped with a 25- round magazine, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver, and fired more than 1,050 rounds of ammunition;
  • Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016: when a shooter killed 49 and wounded 58 at the Pulse Nightclub with an AR-15-style assault rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine;
  • Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012: when a shooter killed 26 and wounded 2 at Sandy Hook Elementary School with an AR-15- style assault rifle equipped with a 30-round magazine;
  • Tucson, Arizona, January 8, 2011: when a shooter killed 6 people and wounded 13 outside a grocery store where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was hosting a constituent meeting with a semi-automatic pistol with a 33 round magazine, and

WHEREAS: In a review of 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012, large capacity ammunition magazines were recovered in 50% of them. Mother Jones, “A Killing Machine: Half of All Mass Shooters Used High-Capacity Magazines,” January 2013; and

WHEREAS: A recent study on mass shootings found that restrictions on large capacity ammunition magazines could potentially reduce mass shooting fatalities by 11% to 15% and total victims shot by 24% to 26%. Christopher S. Koper, Assessing the Potential to Reduce Deaths and Injuries from Mass Shootings Through Restrictions on Assault Weapons and Other High-Capacity Semiautomatic Firearms, Criminology & Public Policy, 2020, and

WHEREAS: Limiting ammunition magazines to a capacity of 10 rounds would require a shooter to pause to change out the magazine more frequently and could result in lives saved; and

WHEREAS: The Large Capacity Feeding Device Ban Act of 2020 would ban possession, manufacture, purchase, sale or transfer of any ammunition-feeding device capable of accepting more than 10 rounds, and

WHEREAS: Representative Justine Caldwell submitted this legislation in the House of Representatives with a record majority forty- two cosponsors and Senator Gayle Goldin submitted this legislation in the State Senate with a majority twenty-one cosponsors, and

WHEREAS: On January 29, 2020 the Rhode Island State Senate and the RI House Judiciary Committee passed common-sense gun violence prevention bills banning untraceable Ghost Guns and 3D-Printed Guns in Rhode Island showing momentum in the General Assembly to pass meaningful gun safety legislation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the Jamestown Democratic Town Committee respectfully requests that the Rhode Island General Assembly affirmatively vote for, and that Governor Gina Raimondo sign into law, the Large Capacity Feeding Device Ban Act of 2020, H7264 and S2130; and that a copy of this resolution be provided to Senator Dawn Euer and Representative Deb Ruggiero, the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the House Speaker, the Senate President, and the Governor.

 

WHERETO: The following bear witness:

        Anne Livingston                                                             Melody Drnach

Co-Chair   / Anne Livingston                                        Co-Chair / Melody Drnach

Introduced by:      Sydney Keen                                 Passed:      10 February 2020                     

REPRESENTATIVE DEB RUGGIERO’S 2020 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

As  the 2020 legislative session gets underway, I’d like to share my priorities and get your feedback:

  • Accessing fiber-optic so everyone in Rhode Island especially businesses and residents on Aquidneck Island are Jamestown can leverage economic opportunities
  • Stopping what are called ‘surprise’ medical bills that people don’t expect and can’t afford
  • Expanding composting to reduce the 100,000 tons of residential food waste that’s piling up in our landfill.

I’ll be keeping you informed of actions and soliciting feedback on these issues throughout the 2020 session, including bill introductions, committee hearings, media reports, and more.

Send Rep. Ruggiero Feedback on the Issues

Today we’ll take a deeper dive into Fiber-Optic/Broadband coverage in Rhode Island.

Many residents and business owners across our communities have mentioned to me that internet speed is slow and the cost of connecting to fiber optic is expensive. High speed internet, fiber-optic, is essential in doing business in the 21st century. It’s crucial for economic and workforce development, public safety, and government.

The fiber optic covering the state (the “Middle Mile”) was built in 2010 with $21.7 million of federal dollars and $10 million in state dollars to cover all schools, universities, and hospitals – the Meds and Eds. When federal funding ended five years ago, so did the state’s investment in Broadband.

The Broadband Joint Legislative Commission, which I co-chaired in 2015, made several recommendations that still have not been implemented.  That’s why I’ve submitted House Bill 7906. Read Rep. Ruggiero’s press release on Broadband access.

It’s 2020, and Rhode Island is one of only two states in the country that does not have a broadband coordinator or anyone dedicated to technology trends, accessing federal funds, broadband policy, and improving connectivity.

We need to expand access to fiber optic in Rhode Island to everyone – business, municipalities, and residents can access the Last Mile of fiber optic.  Right now, all hospitals, universities, and schools have LAST MILE fiber-optic connection from the Middle Mile, per federal law and funding.

Rhode Island can leverage economic development opportunities, access federal dollars, and improve connectivity for residents and businesses on Aquidneck Island and statewide.   Are you frustrated by poor fiber optic service? Is it slowing down your business or blocking your access to information?

Let me know, because the more we can demonstrate real-life impact, the more convincing our case for change and the better our chance for success. I’m looking forward to your input.

Thank you,

Rep. Deborah Ruggiero Constituent Meetings December 2019

State Rep. Deborah Ruggiero is hosting two constituent meetings on The Power of  Education, with special guest Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green: 
Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 6:30pm at the Middletown LIbrary with Middletown Superintendent Rosemarie Kraeger to provide the local Middletown perspective.

Monday, January 6, 2020, 6:30pm at the Jamestown Library with Jamestown Superintendent Ken Duva for local Jamestown perspective.

Please join us in the conversation.  Look forward to seeing you!

 

Contact Rep. Deb Ruggiero

District 74 – Jamestown/Middletown
78 Columbia Ave, Jametown, RI 02835
(401) 423-0444 / (401) 487-6415
rep-ruggiero@rilegislature.gov

Assault Weapon Ban

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.

2019 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

from Rep Deb Ruggiero

Rules Reform

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! 

Personal Rights

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.

Budget Highlights

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. 

A long overdue step to refine the 9-1-1 system is now law, with bipartisan support. Fees will be reduced from one dollar to fifty cents and the money will be directed into a restricted receipt account, complying with federal regulations.  Lost revenues will be recouped with a surcharge of 50 cents on landlines and 75 cents on mobile phones that will go into the general fund.  The state spends $100 million a year on public safety. This budget also includes $220,000 to train 911 call takers to respond to cardiac arrests and other medical emergencies.   

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

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.

URI will have a 17 member Board of Trustees instead of reporting to the Council on Post-Secondary Education, which oversees RIC and CCRI. The URI board will allow the state’s sole university to be nimble in its decision-making as a research institution and an economic driver for the state. 

Legalization of Marijuana

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!

Business Sustainability

My bill to help businesses in the state that wish to stand out as sustainable and practicing corporate responsibility passed. It was ten months of meetings and discussions with all the stakeholders including the RI Manufacturers, environmental groups, DEM, and Secretary of State.  

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.

Middletown and Jamestown

Local bills I put in on behalf of my two Town Councils passed. That includes the charter changes in Middletown’s last election and the tax exemption for Jamestown’s veterans. 

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!  

Stay well, 
Deb Ruggiero
Call – (401) 423-0444
Email – rep-ruggiero@rilegislature.gov