Rhode Island State House

Providence, RI – The Senate Democratic Policy Caucus is working in partnership with all Democratic members of the Senate to develop and introduce legislation that will secure into state law protections that many observers view as threatened under a conservative Supreme Court.

“Since the 2016 election, Rhode Islanders have been concerned that issues of great importance could be endangered by a conservative Supreme Court,” said Senator Joshua Miller, chairman of the Policy Caucus. “Senators have responded by introducing legislation that would secure into state law many of the protections of the Affordable Care Act and the principles of Roe v. Wade, would safeguard against offshore drilling, and would assure current rights for immigrants, religious groups and our LGBTQ community.”

Senator Miller continued, “With the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh this weekend, there is an urgent and increased interest in securing the rights of Rhode Islanders into state law.”

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The Senate Democratic Policy Caucus is working together with Senate leadership and committee chairpersons to identify areas of concern and reintroduce legislation or develop new legislation addressing those concerns.

The Caucus will work to strengthen Rhode Island’s position regarding:

  • Placing the protections of the Affordable Care Act into state law, such as: prohibiting exclusion of coverage based on pre-existing conditions; guaranteeing dependents up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ plans; ensuring issue and renewal so no one can be denied a policy, even if sick; and prohibiting annual limits and lifetime dollar caps on coverage for essential benefits;
  • Codifying into law the principles of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision;
  • Providing wage protections and protecting worker rights, including ensuring equal pay for comparable work regardless of gender;
  • Ensuring net neutrality, so that internet service providers cannot interfere with a consumer’s ability to access content on the internet;
  • Providing important environmental protections, including protections against offshore drilling off of Rhode Island’s coast;
  • Guaranteeing civil rights, particularly for the LGBTQ community;
  • Providing consumer protections in areas such as credit card rates, predatory mortgage lending, and student loans;
  • Preserving and strengthening Rhode Island’s efforts to slow down the effects of climate change, by encouraging more renewable energy efforts, by maintaining specific greenhouse gas reduction targets, and by seeking to ensure that all state agencies consider the impacts of climate change; and
  • Continuing adequate funding for education.

Policy Caucus member Gayle L. Goldin said, “Rhode Islanders, particularly women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, are rightfully alarmed about potential threats to their liberties and dignity under this reshaped Supreme Court. In our state, women should have the right to control our own bodies and to receive a comparable paycheck to our male counterparts. Health care is a human right, and everyone should be able to get the care they need. I look forward to working on these issues to ensure that these protections exist for all Rhode Islanders.”

The Caucus has reached out to all Democratic members of the Senate, and they are working collaboratively to develop legislation for introduction in the 2019 legislative session.

The members of the Democratic Policy Caucus are Senators Joshua Miller, Cynthia A. Coyne, Louis P. DiPalma, and Gayle L. Goldin.

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