Bills Introduced in the Rhode Island House, January 11-13

This is the first in what is intended to be a regular series of posts on legislation submitted to the Rhode Island House of Representatives in the prior week.

Initially, bills will be broken down into three categories…

  1. Bills that have a statewide impact that involve a significant rewriting of sections of the law (“significant” being measured in terms the volume of verbiage that’s changed),
  2. Bills that have a statewide impact that involve very targeted changes to the law, and
  3. Bills that have an impact in one Rhode Island community (community including a particular school district, fire district, etc.)

As a general rule of thumb, when a bill is classified as “targeted”, it should be very easy to determine what the proposed change to the law is and discussion can move immediately to the question of whether it’s a good idea or not. For bills classified as “significant rewrites”, multiple sections of the law are potentially being changed and the scope and meaning of the complete set of changes needs to be understood, before the discussion of whether they are a good idea or not can begin. The line between categories is fuzzy, with final placement being at the sole discretion of the author of the post. Commenters should of course feel free to point out when there may be more to a change in a “targeted” bill than there appears to be.

Several types of bills will be excluded from the lists to keep things focused on public policy changes; 1) the “solemnization of marriage” bills common in the Rhode Island legislature, 2) bills pertaining to charters of private organizations, 3) ceremonial resolutions and bills pertaining to the naming of public property.

This series will be a straight-up report of everything officially introduced in a given week, with no attempt to determine which bills are favored by leadership, which are going to get committee hearings, etc. made at this stage.

My hope is that this can become not just a one-way or even a two-way street for discussions on pending legislation, but one of those five-way Rhode Island intersections, navigable without major damage on regular basis with a little bit of practice, even when the rest of the drivers are other Rhode Islanders. Think of this as the opportunity to help crowdsource the equivalent of a staff position or two that could be an aid to your legislator (though I can’t offer you a state pension for contributing to the crowdsourcing effort). Citizens can make their cases for why the rest of Rhode Island should be concerned about certain bills, either why they should not be relegated to the black hole of “being held for further study” or, alternatively, why some of the bills introduced are terrible ideas that should not passed into law.

The floor will also always be open for advocates of bills, inside and outside of the legislature, to explain the meaning and rationale of particular legislation, to explain which matters are active in the backroom legislative processes that often determine which bills actually make it to the floor and possibly to suggest when citizen voices, at legislative hearings or through other means, could have a significant impact.

This series of posts will be regularly pushed out to the Anchor Rising Facebook site, so individuals who want to comment on the legislation in a less-anonymous forum will have the opportunity to do so.

The first raft of House bills is immediately below…

Significant Rewrites with Statewide Impact

H5008Changes regulations for “Burglar and Hold-up Alarm businesses”.
H5012Same sex marriage bill. (Comment: The official explanation of the bill includes this sentence: “This act would also provide that members of the clergy would not be required to officiate at any particular marriage”. I’m not sure how that would change current practice. )
H5017From the official explanation: This act would establish a “Blue Alert” system to assist in the apprehension of criminal suspects who are involved in the murder or serious injury of law enforcement personnel.

Targeted Changes with Statewide Impact

H5010Increases fee for a weapons permit from $40 to $100.
H5011“Notwithstanding any law or regulation to the contrary, no sales or use tax shall be imposed on the excise tax paid to the cities and towns by purchasers or lessees of motor vehicles.”
H5013Requires six hours of drivers’ school, to get an RI drivers’ license.
H50163-year imprisonment for trespassing on a utility (Comment: Wouldn’t trespassing on a utility be covered by the usual trespass laws?)
H50191-year imprisonment for trespassing at a public school (Comment: Trespassing at a school isn’t considered as bad as trespassing at a utility?)

Changes with Local Impact

H5020 (Charlestown) Gives the Charlestown Town Council greater control over the jurisdiction of the Charlestown traffic and parking court.
H5021 (Richmond) Allows Richmond to license door to door salesmen, with a maximum price of $500 per license. (Comment: Why is Peter Petrarca from Smithfield/Lincoln/Johnston a sponsor of a local-impact bill for Richmond?)

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About Time
About Time
13 years ago

Regarding House Bill H5011, it’s about time this bill was introduced. What took so long? I lease my verhicle and gave to pay 7% sales tax on top of my car taxes when I reimburse my lease company. When I questioned being taxed on a tax I was told “your state allows it”. When I called the Division of Taxation, the gentleman I spoke with quoted me the regulation that allows this practice. Amazing. I paid $300 to have a car (ridiculous) and then I had to pay a $21.00 tax on top of my tax. I hope this passes.

13 years ago

5013 actually requires six hours of “on-the-road” training in addition to the classroom instruction that is required under current law.

13 years ago

Thank you, Andrew. This will surely be very helpful for everyone interested in
keeping up to date on legislation.

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