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Senate President Paiva Weed’s and Rep. David A. Coughlin Jr.’s’ legislation that would make Rhode Island residents who are victims of a domestic terrorist attack outside of Rhode Island, but still within the United States, eligible to receive victim’s compensation payments from RI’s Crime Victim Compensation Fund was signed into law yesterday by Governor Gina M. Raimondo.
Newport resident Heather Abbott, whose case the legislation was based upon, was in attendance at the bill signing.
“Domestic terrorism is now an ever-present danger to our citizens and their livelihoods and this new law will offer a modicum of relief should the worst happen to one of our Rhode Island residents,” said Representative Coughlin (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket). “The purpose of terrorism is to destroy lives, physically and psychologically. My hope is that this new law will afford unfortunate Rhode Island victims of these heinous acts the help they need to overcome the terror and piece back together their disrupted lives.”
“Rhode Islanders who are victims of terrorism outside of the United States are eligible for compensation through the fund,” Paiva Weed said. “This legislation ensures the language of the law is consistent with the intent. It makes it absolutely clear that Rhode Islanders who are victims of terrorism outside of the state but within the United States would be eligible for compensation.”
Representative Coughlin worked with RI General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, who administers the fund, on the legislation in response to the case of Newport native, and Boston Marathon Bombing victim, Heather Abbott, after Abbott was denied victim’s compensation payments by then General Treasurer Gina Raimondo after the terrorist attack. It was determined that clarifying language was needed in order to include individuals who were victims of domestic terrorist attacks on United States soil. Previously, only victims of terrorist attacks on foreign soil are deemed eligible to receive the victim compensation payments.