In single day, Raimondo signs 183 bills into law
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a single day, Gov. Gina Raimondo signed 183 of the bills approved by state lawmakers in the final, hectic hours of the 2018 legislative session, and they cover a wide array of topics from new mental health, mastectomy and contraception insurance coverage to the potential altering of boundaries within the I-195 redevelopment district for a proposed 46-story tower in Providence.
Raimondo’s aides say the legislature has shipped over to her all the bills passed this year. She is now done signing, vetoing or allowing them to become law without her signature.
A couple of newly signed laws plug holes in existing law that made headlines over the last year. For example, one would give the attorney general and the state’s health director the authority to require a stenographic record of statements made by hospital executives seeking approval to buy or sell a hospital.
The legislation was in response to the recent pension collapse at St. Joseph and Our Lady of Fatima hospitals, and subsequent filing of two mammoth class-action lawsuits in state and federal court. The suits accuse Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, the operators of St. Joseph and Our Lady of Fatima hospitals, and others of under-funding the hospitals’ pension plan over the last decade and then conspiring to conceal that fact to regulators and to the beneficiaries themselves.
That collapse came three years after Prospect Medical Holdings purchased CharterCARE Health Partners.
Another bill emanated from the discovery of a “loophole” in state law that hindered the filing of charges, after police found a “pressure cooker bomb” off Hopkins Hill Road in West Greenwich in April. The new law expands the definition of explosive devices and adds “possession” as an offense punishable by 3 to 20 years in prison