Rhode Island State House

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario’s (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) legislation on fining drivers for using the far-left lane on three lane highways when not passing another vehicle and establishing a 15-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island were passed out of House Committee on Judiciary last night, according to a press release from Rhode Island’s Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.

The first bill (2017-H 5398) would fine drivers $85 if they are caught driving in the far-left lane without passing cars in the other lanes.  Representative Canario also plans to contact the Department of Transportation about using highway signs to better educate drivers on common courtesy practices concerning use of the left lane on the state’s highways.

“This bill is about highway safety first and foremost.  When the left lane of the highway is backed up due to drivers using it for non-passing means, it leads to aggressive driving and weaving between lanes with is dangerous for everyone on the road.  Hopefully this legislation will make people remember what we are all taught in driver’s education classes, the left-hand lane is meant for passing,” said Representative Canario.

The second bill (2017-H 5551) that passed out of the Judiciary Committee would create a 15-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island.  The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.

“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” said Representative Canario.  “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so.  This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”

Both pieces of legislation now head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.