I hope you enjoyed your Independence Day weekend. This week’s letter discusses the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act and tonight’s “meet the candidates” gathering.
The General Assembly recently adjourned without considering the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (“EACA”), a bill that would guarantee State employees insurance coverage for abortions, and similar coverage for Medicaid recipients. This was a missed opportunity, as the Governor failed to include the Act’s provisions in his budget but later said he supported the Act. The General Assembly adjourned on Friday, June 24 at 1:00 a.m. Hours later, the United States Supreme Court decided Dobbs v. Jackson Womens’ Health Organization, which overruled Roe v. Wade. Had the General Assembly not adjourned, the Court’s decision might have spurred it into action. After the Dobbs decision came out, the pro-choice community advocated for the General Assembly to return in special session to review and pass the EACA. Special sessions to consider a single bill are rare; however, the Speaker of the House of Representatives stated he would poll his membership to consider this possibility. I support EACA, and I informed my colleagues I support its fastest possible review and passage. The best chance for Senate consideration may arise in the fall, when the Senate is expected to return to session to review judicial appointments. With that said, I would be surprised if the Senate took the first step on this initiative, and I believe the better hope is that the House of Representatives brings up the matter soon, creating momentum that will carry it over to and through the Rhode Island Senate.
I am grateful to all of you who came to a “Signing Party” my house last Wednesday to sign my nominating papers to allow me to appear on the ballot for September’s Democratic Party primary. Thanks to your efforts, I was able to submit 101 verified signatures on Thursday to qualify me for the ballot (and 25 more on Friday to provide a margin of safety against a possible ballot challenge by my opponent). My colleagues in office Helen Anthony (City Council) and Edie Ajello (Rhode Island House of Representatives) were also successful in meeting their ballot requirements. As a result, we are changing the previously scheduled “Signing Party” that will take place this Sunday, July 10 at 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Helen Anthony’s home, 654 Angell Street to an Open House where will be happy to discuss issues that interest you, fueled by modest refreshments. I also plan to bring lawn signs to Helen’s home to hand out to any of you who would like one. If you cannot attend but would like a sign installed on your lawn, please fill out this form and we will get one to you.