rhode island state house under cloudy skies
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The Rhode Island General Assembly had a busy week, with several important bills passing through both the House and Senate. Here are some highlights of what happened:

The Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Alana DiMario to establish a new state program called Renewable Ready that would help offset the costs to prepare certain sites for renewable energy development. The bill would include rooftops of large buildings, properties adjacent to major roads and so-called brownfield sites.

The House passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Teresa Tanzi that would forbid any employer from requiring an employee to execute a nondisclosure agreement or non-disparagement agreement regarding alleged violations of civil rights or criminal conduct as a condition of employment.

The House also approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Terri Cortvriend to establish a more practical and recognizable boundary for the area of the shore to which the public is entitled access. The legislation sets the line at six feet landward from the recognizable high tide line.

The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Melissa A. Murray to limit insured patients’ copays for supplies and equipment used to treat diabetes to $25 for a 30-day supply.

The House passed legislation introduced by Rep. Karen Alzate that would reduce the fee for an original driver privilege card from $50 to $25 in order to bring the fee in line with the cost charged for renewing a driver’s license.

Sen. Sandra Cano, Rep. David Morales, Rep. Leonela Felix, and advocates from the Coalition for a Multilingual RI held a press conference advocating for two bills that would increase investments in multilingual education for all Rhode Island students.

Rep. Tina L. Spears and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma introduced legislation that will help individuals keep some access to crucial human services programs and benefits, even if their incomes rise above eligibility standards.

Sen. Thomas J. Paolino and Rep. Brian C. Newberry introduced legislation that would reform campaign finance reporting. It would raise the minimum aggregate reporting amount to $200 per year and exempt the candidate from the minimum aggregate reporting requirement. It would also raise the contribution limit for individuals and political action committees to $2,000 per year.

Rep. Joseph M. McNamara introduced legislation that would require carriers offering dental benefit plans to annually submit information that includes the current and projected medical loss ratio for claims for their plans.

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio joined other state officials to highlight progress made toward replacement of all lead pipes in Rhode Island’s water supply. President Ruggerio and Rep. William W. O’Brien have introduced the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act to augment federal resources. The bill would create a lead water supply replacement program for both public and private service lines, with a requirement that all affected lines are replaced within 10 years.

All of these bills now move to the opposite chamber for further consideration.

Read more about each item here.

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