Rhode Island State House

Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week, March 28 to April 1, 2022.

This recap was provided by the Rhode Island General Assembly’s Legislative Press Bureau.

Bill introduced to clarify constitutionally guaranteed public shore access

After months of hearings, the chairwoman of a commission studying the issue of
shoreline access, Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown),
introduced legislation (2022-H 8055) to define the publicly accessible shoreline as the
area beginning 10 feet landward of the highest point reached by the water during high
tide, as indicated by the line of seaweed, scum and other debris left by the water on
the land. The state constitution guarantees the public access to the shore, but there has
never been a clear legal answer to where the line is between the publicly accessible
shore and abutting private property.Click here to see news release.

Bill would create response team for cybersecurity breaches at state agencies

House Innovation, Internet and Technology Committee Chairwoman Deborah
Ruggiero has introduced legislation (2022-H 7883) to create a cybersecurity incident
response group that would develop communication protocols for when there is a
cybersecurity breach at a public agency or body and make long-term plans for
coordinating such reporting. The need for better cybersecurity incident response
policies was made apparent by an incident at the Rhode Island Public Transit
Authority last year. Click here to see news release.

Peace groups support bills to reconsider investments in weapons, nuclear arsenal

Local peace and nonviolence groups gathered at a State House event to support two
bills sponsored by Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence) and Sen. Tiara Mack
(D-Dist. 6, Providence) to require the State Investment Commission to issue a report

detailing the extent to which the state pension fund is invested in military weapons
manufacturing (2022-H 7482, 2022-S 2589) and encourage the federal government to
pursue nuclear disarmament for the United States and worldwide (2022-H
, 2022-S 2423). Click here to see news release.

Clean Water Association honors Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Carson, Euer

The Rhode Island Clean Water Association honored House Speaker K. Joseph
Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4,
North Providence, Providence), Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and
Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) as its 2022 Legislators of the
Year for their leadership in passing the Act on Climate last year. Click here to see news release.

Judiciary committees hear testimony on firearms bills

The House and Senate Judiciary committees met this week to hear testimony on
several bills related to firearms, including legislation that would prohibit the sale of
firearms and ammunition to those under 21 years of age, one that would make it a
felony to store a firearm unlocked, a bill prohibiting high-capacity magazines, a bill
that would permit Rhode Islanders age 21 and up to carry a concealed handgun
without a permit, and a bill that would mandate that police officers qualify in the use
of firearms in both daylight and nighttime conditions two times per year and that
correctional officers qualify every year instead of once every two years.

Rep. Place, Sen. Bell sponsor bill to phase out corporate incentive giveaways

Rep. David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) and Sen. Samuel W. Bell (DDist. 5, Providence) have introduced legislation (2022-H 7642, 2022-S 2053) to enlist
Rhode Island in an interstate compact that protects public investments now, and in the
future. The legislation would be a first step in the phase-out of corporate giveaways,
with an anti-poaching agreement among state governments that would prohibit state
company-specific tax incentives and state company-specific grants as an inducement
for entities to relocate existing facilities. Click here to see news release.

Assembly passes legislation to allow URI trustee meetings to be held virtually

The General Assembly passed legislation sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (DDist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist.
35, South Kingstown) that would allow University of Rhode Island trustee members
to remotely participate in meetings. The legislation (2022-S 2372, 2022-H 7817)
amends the General Laws by striking the provision that meeting virtually is only
allowed if trustee members are unable to be physically present at the meeting
location. Click here to see news release

Rep. Tobon named secretary of National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators

Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) was named the Secretary of the
National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, which was founded in 1989 as a
3 – 3 -nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving and representing the interests of Hispanic state legislators. Click here to see news release.