STATE HOUSE — Here are selected highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly last week. All lawmakers named below are Democrats.

Requiring pension fund updates

The House approved legislation (2019-H 5287Aaa) sponsored by House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi, of Warwick, to require pension plans managed by religious organizations in Rhode Island to send regular updates on the financial health of the pensions to their plan participants. The bill is a response to the St. Joseph pension plan insolvency. The bill now goes to the Senate, which voted May 7 to approve companion legislation (2019-S 0431Aaa) sponsored by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, of North Providence.

Creating animal abuse registry

The House approved legislation (2019-H 5113) sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese, of North Providence, to create a statewide animal abuser registry aimed at preventing those with a history of mistreating animals from obtaining other animals. link to DOH website

The House of Representatives passed legislation (2019-H 5540A) sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, of Warwick, that would require the state Department of Health to post and maintain on its website a link to, a free, web-based resource that provides patients, their family members, health care professionals, researchers and the public with easy access to information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Goodbye to wave plate

Middletown Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s legislation (2019-S 0715) that changes the way in which new, fully reflective registration plates would be issued, starting Dec.1, 2019, passed the Senate last week. The legislation would replace the wave-design license plates upon the renewal of the registration so that, over the course of a two year period, all wave plates would be phased out.

Airport air quality monitoring

The House of Representatives has passed legislation (2019-H 5672A) introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara that would extend the required air quality monitoring program at T.F. Green Airport for two years to July 31, 2021. The act would be dependent upon the airport corporation undertaking specific actions regarding the collection and reporting of air quality data. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation (2019-S 90906) has been introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey, also of  Warwick.

Ban on polystyrene, plastic

House Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman David A. Bennett, of Warwick, has introduced legislation 2019-H 6126) to ban Rhode Island food service establishments from using disposable polystyrene foam containers and plastic stirrers.

Humane Society honors lawmakers

The Humane Society of the United States honored four legislators last week during its annual Humane Lobby Day at the Statehouse. Speaker of the House Nicholas A. Mattiello, of Cranston, Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima, of Cranston, Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata, of Warwick, and Sen. Stephen R. Archambault, of Smithfield, were each presented with the Humane State Legislator Award due to their groundbreaking advances and advocacy for animal welfare in Rhode Island.

Womazetta Jones confirmed

The Senate confirmed Gov. Gina Raimondo’s appointment of Womazetta Jones to the position of Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.  Secretary Jones, a native of Illinois, came to Rhode Island after directing social services in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

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