With the 2023 legislative underway, hundreds, maybe thousands of bills will be introduced with the intention of solving some of the state’s most pressing issues. 

What’sUpNewp reached out to legislators from the Newport County area and on the South Shore, asking for their vision for this upcoming legislative session. There are clearly similarities in the two areas, with waterfront and tourism critical concerns.

We have heard from most of the legislators and have promises of responses from a couple of others. We began publishing responses earlier this week, with some very thoughtful observations from state Rep. Terri-Denise Cortvriend. Today, we’ll share responses from state Rep. Lauren Carson, D-Dist. 75 (Newport) and Rep. Alex Finkelman, D-Dist. 74 (Jamestown/Middletown).

Carson, who serves as the House’s Deputy Majority Leader, was first elected in November 2014. Finkelman ran for the seat that was being vacated by Deb Ruggiero, who ran unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor. 

Carson, who said we were early in asking our question, nonetheless provided a significant list of issues she expects to address in the legislative session.

  • Implementation of the Act on Climate, specifically more engaged participation from municipalities and the private sector.
  • Creation of the RI Department of Aging.
  • Also, the creation of the Office of Special Education Ombudsman.
  • Municipal guidance for the regulation of short-term rentals.
  • Support for the arts and tourism.
  • Banning of Pesticides on school properties.
  • Support further recommendations to realign and support the Coastal Resource Management Council.
  • Continued oversight and community participation in the Pell Bridge realignment work.
  • Support municipal initiatives from the Newport City Council and School committee that require state participation and intervention.
  • Continued Aquidneck Island Climate Caucus meetings for engagement with local residents.

Finkelman, who like many newly elected legislators, will be feeling their way in the early days of the session, listed four areas he considers his priorities.

  • School construction and improving education.
  • Making it easier for businesses to thrive and compete in Rhode Island
  • Preparing for a transition to clean energy.
  • Support for seniors.

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Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal....