Two Newport City Councilor members are hoping to make civics classes a requirement for graduation.

Councilor Kate Leonard and Councilor Lynn Ceglie will introduce a resolution on Wednesday, January 8th that would request legislation be introduced which would require civics class for graduation.

“So few students know about citizenship—- why voting is important, how to learn about candidates, why government taxes, the rights of living in a democracy (equality, citizen responsibilities, patriotism, diversity etc),” Councilor Kate Leonard wrote to What’s Up Newp. “Only 23% of R.I. students knew about the operation of government branches etc. Most states require civics classes, but not R.I”.

Ceglie, in an email, agreed with Leonard’s thoughts.

” There is a resolution requesting that our state legislators sponsor legislation to make civics lessons a requirement for graduation from RI public schools. Civics education has been a big topic of conversation nation wide, and last year a group of Rhode Island students actually sued the state for not providing them with civics education”, Mayor Jamie Bova wrote in a newsletter on Tuesday evening.

The resolution states that many other states across the United States already make such a class mandatory.

If approved by the City Council on Wednesday night, the City Council would be requesting that our Rhode Island legislators sponsor legislation for a requirement of civics classes for graduation.

The resolution would also be forward to other cities and towns across the state asking that they too be supportive of this effort.

The full resolutions states;

Also being introduced by Ceglie and Leonard on Wednesday night is a resolution regarding transfer upon death deeds.

That resolution, if approved by Council, would request Representatives Lauren Carson and Joseph Shekari to co-sponsor the House Bill to create a Transfer On Death Deed Provision for residents of Rhode Island.

” The other resolution on Transfer on Death deeds is also important because the biggest asset that a family usually has is its house. If the owner — or one owner dies — this asset requires family members or beneficiaries to go to Probate Court to settle the estate. It is usually a stressful time, it costs money to hire a lawyer etc. This would help the Beneficiary receiving the house —-usually a family member or spouse—-to turn the deed over without going to Probate,” Leonard wrote to What’s Up Newp.

The full resolution states;

Newport City Council will consider both of these resolutions at their regular council meeting on Wednesday, January 8th at 6:30 pm. The meeting takes place in the Council Chambers at City Hall and is open to the public.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and 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 -

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 and 401-662-1653.