§ Bill introduced to clarify constitutionally guaranteed public shore access
After months of hearings, the chairwoman of a commission studying the issue of shoreline access, Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown), introduced legislation (2022-H 8055) to define the publicly accessible shoreline as the area beginning 10 feet landward of the highest point reached by the water during high tide, as indicated by the line of seaweed, scum and other debris left by the water on the land. The state constitution guarantees the public access to the shore, but there has never been a clear legal answer to where the line is between the publicly accessible shore and abutting private property.
§ Bill would create response team for cybersecurity breaches at state agencies
House Innovation, Internet and Technology Committee Chairwoman Deborah Ruggiero has introduced legislation (2022-H 7883) to create a cybersecurity incident response group that would develop communication protocols for when there is a cybersecurity breach at a public agency or body and make long-term plans for coordinating such reporting. The need for better cybersecurity incident response policies was made apparent by an incident at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority last year.
§ Peace groups support bills to reconsider investments in weapons, nuclear arsenal
Local peace and nonviolence groups gathered at a State House event to support two bills sponsored by Rep. David Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence) and Sen. Tiara Mack (D-Dist. 6, Providence) to require the State Investment Commission to issue a report detailing the extent to which the state pension fund is invested in military weapons manufacturing (2022-H 7482, 2022-S 2589) and encourage the federal government to pursue nuclear disarmament for the United States and worldwide (2022-H 7518 , 2022-S 2423).
§ Clean Water Association honors Shekarchi, Ruggerio, Carson, Euer
The Rhode Island Clean Water Association honored House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick), Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) as its 2022 Legislators of the Year for their leadership in passing the Act on Climate last year.
§ Judiciary committees hear testimony on firearms bills
The House and Senate Judiciary committees met this week to hear testimony on several bills related to firearms, including legislation that would prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition to those under 21 years of age, one that would make it a felony to store a firearm unlocked, a bill prohibiting high-capacity magazines, a bill that would permit Rhode Islanders age 21 and up to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, and a bill that would mandate that police officers qualify in the use of firearms in both daylight and nighttime conditions two times per year and that correctional officers qualify every year instead of once every two years.
§ Rep. Place, Sen. Bell sponsor bill to phase out corporate incentive giveaways
Rep. David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester) and Sen. Samuel W. Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) have introduced legislation (2022-H 7642, 2022-S 2053) to enlist Rhode Island in an interstate compact that protects public investments now, and in the future. The legislation would be a first step in the phase-out of corporate giveaways, with an anti-poaching agreement among state governments that would prohibit state company-specific tax incentives and state company-specific grants as an inducement for entities to relocate existing facilities.
§ Assembly passes legislation to allow URI trustee meetings to be held virtually
The General Assembly passed legislation sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown) that would allow University of Rhode Island trustee members to remotely participate in meetings. The legislation (2022-S 2372, 2022-H 7817) amends the General Laws by striking the provision that meeting virtually is only allowed if trustee members are unable to be physically present at the meeting location.
§ Rep. Tobon named secretary of National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators
Rep. Carlos E. Tobon (D-Dist. 58, Pawtucket) was named the Secretary of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, which was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving and representing the interests of Hispanic state legislators.