Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The full Senate could hold a vote as early as next week.
The Rhode Island House voted 73-0 Wednesday in favor of a bill that would abolish the East Greenwich Fire District, allowing for the establishment of a Town of East Greenwich fire department. Two members abstained. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-E.G.). It came at the request of the Town Council following a two-thirds majority vote on a referendum last November that asked EG voters if they thought the Fire District should become part of the town. As it stands, the Fire District is a completely separate municipal entity, with its own taxing authority. An identical bill is before the state Senate. The Senate Finance Committee approved that bill Tuesday; a vote before the full Senate could happen next week. If that bill …
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The bill was introduced by Rep. Joseph McNamara of Cranston.
The House of Representatives today approved legislation to ban the use, manufacture and sale of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones in Rhode Island. Proposed by Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) and Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), the bill would specifically add chemical classes of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones to the state’s Schedule I drug list. Items on Schedule I are regulated by the Department of Health because they are considered to have a high potential for abuse and/or no accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. “Kids are using synthetic drugs and expecting to get high, but in reality they’re …
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
News from the General Assembly as it relates to East Greenwich.
The state Senate approved legislation last Tuesday to amend a new reporting requirement on alcohol sales in the state. The bill was introduced by Sen. Leonidas Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry) and now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Raptakis represents part of western East Greenwich as well as part of West Greenwich. Raptakis decried the reporting requirement – which was passed last session. He said restaurant and bar owners received notification from the Division of Taxation early in January that they had until Feb. 1 to provide this new report, a detailed two-page form that requires businesses to compile their total alcoholic beverage sales for the previous year. Currently, restaurants and bars have to file a …
Sunday, February 3, 2013
He decries the Senate's "lack of urgency"; Rep. Giarrusso says these early days are for getting bills written and, in general, tackling smaller issues.
One month into the General Assembly's 2013 session, things haven't changed very much from this point two years ago, according to Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35). "We’re about a month in, we’ve only had one or two calendars since inauguration day," Hodgson said, referring to days in which there's formal action on a bill. "This is the time of year when we show up and there’s no bill pending, there’s no votes ... on state business." Hodgson said inaction on same-sex marriage is one reason for the Senate's seeming "lack of urgency." "Whether you support same sex marriage or oppose it … these are deeply held motiviations and they are profound on both sides. For my colleagues who are deeply engaged on this issue on both sides, they deserve to…
Thursday, January 31, 2013
This time of year, Healey spends most afternoons at the State House, lobbying on issues important to the Catholic Church.
Father Bernard Healey took over as pastor at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church last September, but he's been the diocese's lobbyist at the State House for the past 12 years. He's the executive director of the R.I. Catholic Conference. During the legislative session (January to June), that makes for busy weekdays, with Healey traveling most afternoons from OLM in East Greenwich to the State House in Providence to meet with lawmakers and testify on bills that matter to the Diocese of Providence. "I advocate and educate on behalf of the Catholic Church," he said, ticking off the important issues: "poverty, sanctity of life, immigration, education, same-sex marriage, abortion." WPRI's Ted Nesi called Healey "an influential State House …
Monday, January 28, 2013
Both EG state senators say the real business of the General Assembly should be the economy.
Now that the state House of Representatives has passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage, the question has become when will the Senate Judiciary Committee – on which Sen. Lou Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry) serves – take it up. Raptakis, of Coventry, represents a small portion of East Greenwich. He has said he is against same-sex marraige. On Sunday he said it's up to the head of the committee, Sen. Michael McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), to decide when to take up the bill. When asked if he thought the Senate should act quickly, he said, "Why did the Speaker of the House push it through now? Aren’t there more pressing business concerns?" Alternatively, Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-Dist. 35, North Kingstown) would like to see a vote on same-…
Thursday, January 24, 2013
East Greenwich Rep. Anthony Giarrusso votes nay.
In an historic 51-19 vote, the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage Thursday afternoon. The bill now goes to the state Senate, where leadership has said no action will be taken on it until spring. Rep. Anthony Giarrusso (R-Dist. 30) of East Greenwich voted no. "I ran on my traditional beliefs of a marriage being one woman and one man. I ran on that and I kept my word as I voted 'Nay' when the vote came up," Giarrusso said via email. "I'm overwhelmed with the intensity of the debate on both sides in and out of the statehouse. In my opinion, the issue although it's important to many Rhode Islanders is off the radar in terms of the real issues that we face with unemployment, education, roads, …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The state House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on the controversial measure for this afternoon.
Tuesday, January 22
A vote by the State House Judiciary committee on a bill allowing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is scheduled for a vote tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m., the General Assembly Press Bureau announced. The "Equal Access to Marriage" bill — submitted in the House by Cranston Rep. Arthur Handy and co-sponsored by Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) — would make Rhode Island the last state in New England to allow same-sex marriages, and would recognize any civil unions as marriages. According to a release from the General Assembly Press Bureau, "no further testimony will be taken at this hearing." Passage in the House would then move the bill to the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which may or may not decide to take it up …
Monday, January 21, 2013
Gov. Lincoln Chafee presented his budget last week. Now it's the General Assembly's turn.
EG Patch asked our state legislators what they thought of Gov. Lincoln Chafee's 2013 budget, presented on Jan. 16. Here are their responses: Rep. Anthony Giarrusso, R-Dist. 30: I haven't seen the nuts and bolts of Governor Chaffee's budget but I was inspired with what I heard and left the House Chamber with optimism. I was thrilled to hear that there were no proposals of tax or fee increases. I like the commitment to cut corporate income taxes and property taxes to make us more business friendly. I like his commitment to the increase in state aid for the school funding formula. I also like the fact that he's paying more attention to our infrastructure; our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repairs and maintenance to bring us on …
Friday, January 18, 2013
Two weeks in, our newest state representative communicates with residents of District 30.
Friday, January 18
This is my first communication with District 30 residents since the election. I hope to keep you informed of activities at the General Assembly, but I want to avoid sending you meaningless emails that clog up the system. Look for periodic emails from me, but I promise to keep them to a minimum. In the meantime, we'll work to keep our Facebook page up to date, and you can always tune in to Capitol TV (Channel 15 on Cox, Channel 34 on Verizon) or the House of Representative's Facebook page if you want to keep a closer eye on things. After a break over the Christmas holidays, the General Assembly got down to work January 1. All 75 State Representatives and 38 State Senators were sworn in, and the House and Senate elected leadership for the …