The Rhode Island General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 5, for the purpose of opening their 2021 session.

Due to the need for social distance necessitated by COVID-19, the Assembly will not be meeting at the State House, which remains closed to the public.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. In accordance with the state constitution, the senior representative from Newport, Rep. Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown), will preside until the election of a new speaker, which is scheduled after Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea administers the oath of office to the members. Supreme Court Justice Francis X. Flaherty will administer the oath to the elected speaker. In November, the House Democratic Caucus endorsed Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) for speaker. Gov. Gina M. Raimondo is also scheduled to offer remarks.

The Senate is scheduled to convene at 4 p.m. in Sapinsley Hall at Rhode Island College in Providence. Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) will preside over its organization, which will include the formal election of president as well as a new president pro tempore and a new deputy president pro tempore. The Senate Democratic Caucus has endorsed President Dominick J. Ruggerio for another term as president. Secretary of State Gorbea will administer the oath of office to members and Governor Raimondo is scheduled to offer remarks to the Senate.

Due to the pandemic, the sessions will not be open to the public. They will be broadcast live by Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox and Full Channel on Channel 15, in high definition on Cox Channel 1013, and on Channel 34 by Verizon and subscribers. The sessions will also be live streamed at www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).