Providence — Here are selected highlights from news and events that took place in the Rhode Island General Assembly last week. All lawmakers listed below are Democrats. For more information on any of these items visit

Extending statute of limitations for sexual abuse

The House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, of South Kingstown, (2019-H 5171A), that would extend civil statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven years to 35 years. The legislation would also extend to 35 years the statute of limitations for entities, individuals or organizations that caused or contributed to childhood sexual abuse through negligent supervision, conduct, concealment or other factors that enabled the abuse to occur.

Compensation for the wrongfully imprisoned

The Housepassed legislation (2019-H 5329A) introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa, of West Warwick, that would compensate innocent people who have spent time behind bars but were later released when new evidence shows they were not guilty. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 0701) has been introduced by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne, of Barrington.

Reducing staff turnover at nursing homes

The Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Gayle L. Goldin, of Providence, to help reduce staff turnover at nursing homes. The legislation (2019-S 0144), which will now go to the House, directs managed care organizations to consult with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to develop incentives for nursing homes that demonstrate lower direct-care staff turnover.

Addressing a drug barrier to life insurance

The Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, of North Providence, to remove a barrier to anti-overdose medication. The bill (2019-S 0799 Sub Aaa) addresses a situation experienced by some individuals who obtained naloxone in Rhode Island, then had trouble getting life insurance.

Requiring kennel licenses for trainers

The House approved legislation (2019-H 5436Aaa) requiring for-profit animal trainers who keep animals overnight to obtain a kennel license. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Stephen R. Ucci, of Johnston, does not apply to nonprofits or government agencies, and is meant to improve accountability and animal welfare.

Banning gender ratings in health premiums

The Senate passed legislation (2019-S 0445A) introduced by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski, of South Kingstown, that would ban health insurers from practicing gender rating — routinely charging women and men different premiums for individual insurance. The measure now heads to the House, where similar legislation (2019-H 5364) has been introduced by Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian, of East Providence.

Tracking academic performance of foster care youth

The House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Julie A. Casimiro, of North Kingstown, that directs school superintendents to create an annual report on the academic progress of children in foster care. If the superintendent determines that foster care youth are disproportionately failing to meet academic standards or are subject to discipline at a rate more than the overall student population, a remediation plan shall be included within the submitted annual report.

Marijuana equity programs

Rep. Anastasia P. Williams, of Providence, has introduced bills (2019-H 6069, 2019-H 6070, 2019-H 6073) that seek to remove barriers to persons of color or persons found to be disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition from entering into the cannabis industries. The acts would ensure that a policy is implemented to promote an equitable distribution of licenses and certificates. Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, of Providence, introduced similar legislation (2019-H 5795) that would establish a board and appropriate funds to create a local cannabis equity program to help people who want to enter legal marijuana industries with state funding and technical assistance.

Renaming the airport

Rep. Charlene M. Lima, of Cranston, has introduced a bill (2019-H 6149) that would rename T.F. Green State Airport to the Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport.  Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, of Warwick, has introduced the companion legislation (2019-S 0855) in the Senate.

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