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On September 19, 2017, the Rhode Island House and Senate will be coming back for a short session to review the bills they left unfinished in June. This is great news! It means that we have a chance to make sure some of our priority bills become law. The agenda for the session is being determined now - your voice is needed to ensure that critical legislation will be considered!

The House and Senate both passed versions of the Protect RI Families Act, which disarms dangerous abusers, and the Earned Sick and Safe Days Bill, which provides guaranteed sick leave to RI employees. However, the different versions of the bills must be reconciled before they can be moved forward. We urge the General Assembly to finish its commendable work on these bills and agree on final legislation for Governor Raimondo to sign into law.

Disarming Dangerous Abusers: S0405 (Metts) / H5510 (Tanzi)
This act would prohibit gun possession by domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and those subject to court-issued final protective orders, and ensure that these abusers actually turn in their guns once they become prohibited from possessing them.

The good news is that both the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to disarm known dangerous abusers during the 2017 legislative session. In the Senate, the act was approved, 33-2, on June 30. In the House, a version of the bill passed earlier the same week, showing broad support for this life-saving legislation. The bad news is that the legislature adjourned before the final version of the bill was passed by both chambers, so there is still work to be done. 

Guaranteeing Earned Sick and Safe Days: S0290 (Goodwin) / H5413 (Regunberg)
This act would require employers to provide their employees with a minimum of paid sick and safe days, including time to take care of family members or to address issues related to domestic violence.

Make sure your legislators know that this is a priority for you: Email them a letter now.

In June, both the House and the Senate passed paid sick days bills. Now, we need to make sure our legislators know we expect them to work together in September to pass the strongest possible bill, one that covers the most workers and makes sure workers in small businesses can get job-protected time off to care for themselves or their families.


We are also urging the General Assembly to finish their work on the following legislation:

Requiring Lethality Risk Assessments, Justice Reinvestment Bills: S0010 (McCaffrey)
This life-saving legislation would allow courts to screen and identify the most dangerous domestic violence cases before they turn deadly.

We strongly support the Senate version of this bill and the broader package of criminal justice reform legislation known as the Justice Reinvestment bills that passed in the Senate early in the session. We urge the House to pass the bills as they were negotiated and drafted by the Senate.

Prohibiting Revenge Porn
This bill would prohibit non-consensual sharing of private sexual images. 

This bill passed in the House earlier in the session. A Senate hearing to vote this bill out of committee was planned for the last day of the session, but a final vote still needs to take place. We urge the Senate to pass this legislation and both chambers to agree on a final version of the bill for the Governor to sign in September.


For more information, please contact RICADV Policy Director John Wesley at jwesley@ricadv.org.



Below, learn about some of the important legislation that passed in 2017, as well as some of our priority bills that were held for further study:

Passed in 2017


Although there is much work left to be done, we are encouraged that the following legislation passed in 2017:

PASSED: Expanding Crime Victim Compensation for Children who Witness: H5452 (Shekarchi) / (Gallo)
A bill that makes assistance from RI's Crime Victim Compensation Program available to minors who witness homicides or domestic violence

This legislation, supported by General Treasurer Magaziner, allows parents and guardians to apply to the Crime Victim Compensation Program for reimbursement for expenses related to mental health treatment for children who witness violence.

PASSED: A bill that better protects minor victims of sexual exploitation (Rep. Craven and Sen. McCaffrey)

This legislation allows parents, guardians, and DCYF to seek domestic violence protective orders in Family Court to protect youth from harmful exploitation.

PASSED: A bill to prevent human trafficking and apprehend perpetrators (Rep. Maldonado and Sen. Coyne)

The "Uniform Act on the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking" will align Rhode Island's human trafficking laws with national standards to help authorities prevent this underground crime. It enacts a three-pronged approach: strong penalties, protecting and assisting victims, and improving public awareness and prevention.

Held for further study

HELD FOR FURTHER STUDY:

Recognizing Canadian Protective Orders: H5438 (Keable)
This act would establish uniform recognition and enforcement of Canadian domestic violence protective orders and violations within the State of Rhode Island.

Updating the Felony Stalking Law: S0340 (Nesselbush)
This act would update Rhode Island’s stalking law to align with the most current national model code, defining stalking as a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person emotional distress or cause them to fear for their own safety or that of another.