The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee will meet todayw for hearings on numerous bills, including the legislation to ban disposable plastic checkout bags.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in the House Lounge. It will be livestreamed by Capitol Television at

Among the bills to be heard are:

  • 2021-H 5358 — Sponsored by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett), this bill known as the Plastic Waste Reduction Act would reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.
  • 2021-H 5525 — This bill sponsored by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) requires that any manufacturer or installer of solar module systems in Rhode Island establish a program as set up by the Department of Environmental Management, for the safe disposal of those systems.
  • 2021-H 5760 — Sponsored by Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) this bill would create a forest conservation commission, to be coordinated with the Department of Environmental Management, to seek new funding and identify incentives for landowners to maintain their land as forest.

The State House remains closed to the public. In addition to livestreaming, the meeting will be televised on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox Channels 15, and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1061, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers.

A press release from the General Assembly, says that written testimony is encouraged and may be emailed to Please indicate your name, bill number, and whether your position on the bill (for, against or neither) at the top of message. For faster processing, please submit testimony as a PDF file if possible. Written testimony must be received by 2:30 p.m. Thursday to be provided to the committee. Late testimony will be provided to members after the meeting.

All written testimony will be made publicly available at To request a call to provide verbal testimony, please submit the form at this link by 11 a.m. Thursday. Do not email verbal testimony requests, please.

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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.

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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.