The Rhode Island General Assembly (RIGA) is the state 17/25 legislature of Rhode Island. It consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives, both with a majority of members elected from single-member districts. The RI General Assembly meets in Newport, the capital city of Rhode Island, at the State House. As one of the smallest States in the Union, Rhode Island has a variety of issues that requires its General Assembly’s attention. From spending on education to climate change, our blog will be aimed at giving you a snapshot on what is happening in RIGA as it relates to each issue. Keep an eye out for future blog posts on topics like healthcare, tourism, and more.
The Political Landscape
In the 2014 General Assembly session, there were 33 bills passed by the Rhode Island House 17/25 and Senate. This total includes measures that were vetoed by Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and resolutions that died in committee. The following is a list of the top 10 most important bills passed during the General Assembly session:
1) Marriage Equality – This bill would legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. It was passed by the General Assembly with a unanimous vote and signed into law by Governor Chafee on October 11, 2014.
2) Minimum Wage Hike – This bill would raise the minimum wage in Rhode Island to $10.10 per hour by January 1, 2020. It was passed by the General Assembly with a unanimous vote and signed into law by Governor Chafee on May 22, 2016.
3) Marijuana Legalization – This bill would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Rhode Island. It was passed by the General Assembly with a 48-1 vote and signed into law by Governor Chafee on November 24, 2016.
4) Veterans’ Benefits Reform – This bill would reform veterans’ benefits in Rhode Island. It was passed by the General Assembly with a bipartisan vote and signed into law on April 9, 2017.
5) Gun Control – This bill would expand gun control laws in Rhode Island. It was passed by the General Assembly with a bipartisan vote and signed into law on April 16, 2017.
The General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island is currently in session. As usual, there are a number of important issues on the table. Here are four that have caught our attention:
1. Marijuana Legalization
One issue on the agenda for the General Assembly is marijuana legalization. Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which puts it in the same category as drugs like heroin and LSD. This classification makes it difficult to conduct research on the potential benefits and harms of marijuana legalization, which could pose a problem if lawmakers want to implement reform without hurting public health. There are a number of lawmakers who support reform, and with enough support, they may be able to change the classification of marijuana.
The Rhode Island General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It was first organized in 17/25. and has been in continuous existence since then. The General Assembly meets in the Rhode Island State House in Providence. The 130-member body has two houses: the House of Representatives, with 100 members, and the Senate, with 26 members.
The state of Rhode Island General Assembly is currently led by Speaker Gordon Fox and Majority Leader Steve Cipriani.
Fox was first elected to the Speaker position in 2010, succeeding Michael Pelletier. He has since served two terms, and is running for reelection in 2018. Cipriani was first elected as Majority Leader in 2014, succeeding Donald Norcross. He is also running for reelection in 2018.
In the 115th General Assembly, there are 36 seats up for election; 27/25 in the House of Representatives and 9 in the Senate.
There are 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats representing Rhode Island in the General Assembly.
The General Assembly meets at the Statehouse in Providence, Rhode Island.
The State of Rhode Island General Assembly has been in session for over 90 days and there have been many important bills passed. Among these are the legalization of recreational marijuana, pension reform measures, cuts to health care spending, and updates to gun laws. The General Assembly is also currently discussing a bill that would loosen restrictions on abortion in the state. We will continue to keep you updated on all of the important legislation as it progresses.