This Week at the General Assembly

This roundup was provided by General Assembly staff.

"Rep. Petrarca to introduce bill recognizing civil unions
Rep. Peter J. Petrarca (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Johnston, Smithfield) next week will introduce legislation to allow civil unions for same-sex couples in Rhode Island. The bill, which is modeled after laws recently approved in Delaware, Illinois and Hawaii, would grant same-sex couples equal rights to those afforded to married couples in Rhode Island. 

Senate OKs bill to create ‘renewable energy coordinating board’
The Senate passed legislation that will create a renewable energy coordinating board, to develop and recommend a strategic renewable energy implementation plan for the state, focusing on the potential of renewable energy development to create new businesses and jobs. The Senate bill (2011-S 0722) was introduced by President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). A House version (2011-H 5938), sponsored by Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown), is before the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Bill seeks to recoup revenue from firms getting tax credits that move out of RI
Sen. John J. Tassoni Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Smithfield) has introduced legislation that would protect the state and its taxpayers if a company receiving tax credits relocates out of the state during the terms of its contract. Under the bill (2011-S 0853), a company earning tax credits that relocates would be required to repay the entirety of the tax liability on the credit the company received during the respective tax year.

Senate passes bill to develop policies for recording interrogations
The Senate voted to approve a bill (2011-S 0331 A) sponsored by Sen. Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence) to establish a task force to investigate and develop policies and procedures for electronically recording custodial interrogations. Rep. Donna M. Walsh (D-Dist. 36, Charlestown, Westerly, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) is sponsoring legislation (2011-H 5366) identical to this bill in its original form.

Port study commission receives consultant’s report
A consultant brought encouraging news to the special legislative commission that has been studying economic opportunities in the development of port facilities in Rhode Island. Martin Associates, retained by the study commission to assess potential market opportunities, told the commission this week that as many as 1,000 new jobs and $70 million in wages and $8 million in new tax revenue could result from port growth. Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick) and Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) co-chair the commission.

House committee hears bill banning those under 21 from clubs serving alcohol
The House Committee on Judiciary heard legislation (2011-H 5254) sponsored by Rep. Joy Hearn (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) that would ban anyone under the age of 21 from nightclubs that serve alcohol.

Blazejewski bill would aid investment in social ventures
Legislation (2011-H 5279) sponsored by Rep. Christopher Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence, East Providence) would amend the state’s limited liability company statute to allow the creation of low-profit limited liability companies, which are corporations created to further charitable or education purposes. The special designation would enable private foundations to make program-related investments in the corporations and could help Rhode Island become a center for the emerging sector of social ventures. Sen. Paul V. Jabour (D-Dist. 5, Providence) is sponsoring the bill (2011-S 0353) in the Senate.

Bill proposes commission to study legislative pay classification plan.
The Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affairs has voted to recommend full Senate passage of legislation to establish a commission to study a legislative position and pay classification plan. The commission would also be directed to recommend a formal performance evaluation system for classified employees. The bill (2011-S 0702) was sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence)."




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