April 17, 2022 Letter

This has been a busy week in Providence, as officials gathered to announce a potential renewal of the Superman Building, while the Mayor officially opened the City’s campaign to educate voters concerning the pension obligation bond.  The first City-wide forum will take place this Thursday, April 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Nathan Bishop Middle School.  I will be joining City officials to describe the proposal and answer our questions.  Given the magnitude and the complexity of this proposal (which requires voter approval to go forward), I encourage you to join us if your schedule permits.  Turning to the General Assembly, this letter will describe the legislation I have filed this year in the areas of education, the environment, public safety and voting rights.

  1. Education

Bill S-2177 would reform the charter school lottery system by causing all children to participate unless they “opt out” (changing the current process that requires children to “opt in”).

Bill S-2439 would reform the charter school lottery system by causing all children to participate unless they “opt out” (changing the current process that requires children to “opt in”) while also providing that certain categories of educationally disadvantaged students would receive a preferential weight in the lottery.

Bill S-2838 would reform the Crowley Act, which governs State takeovers of individual schools and school districts, while also containing additional structures to increase engagement and accountability in the State’s takeover of the Providence Public Schools.

  1. The Environment

Bill S-2168 proposes a ban on the sale of gasoline powered leaf blowers in Rhode Island beginning July 1, 2023 and a ban on the use of these machines beginning July 1, 2024.

  1. Public Safety

Bill S-2362 would create a misdemeanor offense for riding an all-terrain vehicle on city streets (in those cities where such use is illegal).  It also would impose escalating misdemeanor penalties for violators who ride “in formation with” or illegal ATV riders.

  1. Voting Rights

Resolution S-2232 would establish a commission to review voting systems that can better reflect the majority’s will in multi-candidate primaries or elections, including (but not limited to) ranked-choice voting systems.

Bill S-2555 would introduce ranked-choice voting for General Assembly primaries beginning in 2023. 

  1. Other

Bill S-2505 (which I introduced at the request of Brown University) would reform the requirement of informed consent for doctors and scientists to gain access to (anonymous) patient information for research purposes.

Bill S-2513 (which I introduced at the request of the City’s Planning Department) would clarify that municipalities retain the authority to regulate the use of dwellings as short-term rentals as part of a zoning ordinance notwithstanding certain non-discrimination requirements in State law regarding the imposition of sales and hotel taxes.

Bill S-2850 would reduce the minimum corporate income tax from $400 to $200 and “pay for” this reduction by increasing the tax rate from 7% to 7.5%.