Tuesday, April 17, 2018

(L to R) Sen. Ruggerio, Gov. Raimondo, and Speaker Mattiello

Guns, immigration, transparency and the budget are some of the biggest pieces of legislation now facing the Rhode Island General Assembly when they return from recess next week.  

In addition, bills to authorize taxpayer-backed funding for the Pawtucket Red Sox, and major healthcare legislation under the Hospital Conversion Act — with Partners eyeing Care New England and now CharterCare looking at Memorial Hospital — could potentially be tackled before lawmakers look to adjourn quickly. 

SLIDES BELOW: See 7 Big Bills Facing the RI General Assembly 

The complexities that are influencing this session of the legislature are a looming $220 million budget deficit and it is an election year. 

Add to the mix the both Governor Gina Raimondo and Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello are both likely to face difficult re-elections. Raimondo could have more than a half-dozen opponents between the Democratic primary and the General Election.

Mattiello was re-elected in 2016 by fewer than 100 votes. And, the relationship between Raimondo, Mattiello, and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has often been strained.

A number of issues that were supposed to be the big battle zones are now on life support.  The legalization of marijuana and the line-item veto have been held up in study committees; “fair wage” and legislation to increase the minimum wage are among the bills that similarly have uphill battles. 

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Prior to recess, the House approved legislation to continue to allow Dreamers to have Rhode Island driver’s licenses even if their federal DACA protections go away under the Trump Administration. 

“We are elated to hear that HB7982 passed

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