February 25, 2013
Coming up in Committee: Twenty-One Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, February 26 - February 28, Part 2
10. S0330: Independent voters would not need to become a member of a political party, to vote in that party's primary. (S Judiciary; Thu, Feb 28)
9. H5389: Spencer Dickinson's proposal for a binding arbitration process for teacher contracts. In the Dickinson process, only the school committee could choose to go to binding arbitration, but the bill also implies that teachers would be given the right to strike, if a contract expired, without the school committee requesting arbitration. Also, the 3rd arbitrator would be a retired judge chosen by "the presiding justice of the Rhode Island superior court". (H Labor; Tue, Feb 26)
8. Most of the time in Rhode Island's legislative committees is spent on standalone bills and individual budget articles. However, the finance committees also have the responsibility for holding hearings on individual department budgets, where most of the money is actually spent each year. On Wednesday, February 27, the Senate Finance Committee will hold its hearing on the "Office of Health and Human Services" budget which by itself is a 1.86 billion dollar line item.
7. H5251: Mandates "constant" electronic surveillance in all individual resident rooms and public areas of licensed nursing homes. (H House, Education and Welfare; Wed, Feb 27). This line from the proposed law strikes me as particularly creepy: "Electronic monitoring in residents' rooms, bathrooms, and bathing areas shall be constant", even if the surveillance in the bathrooms and bathing areas is only required to be audio.
6A. H5150: (H Corporations; Tue, Feb 26) The most extensive of the automobile insurance compliance bills, authorizing...
- "A system to make both interstate and intrastate vehicle insurance and registration status available to law enforcement for automated query at any time",
- "A system to provide automobile and commercial vehicle insurance information to emergency medical service providers",
- "A verification system to provide courts with financial responsibility status for the court date, the citation date, the day prior to the citation date, and a history of the vehicle's periods of coverage, regarding...vehicles identified as non-compliant",
- "An automatic license plate recognition system to electronically capture license plate images in two (2) seconds or less and non-invasively attempt verification of the insurance and when possible, the registration status of the vehicle", and
- "A system that provides a help desk service with live operators but also a fax service and internet-based response service so that citations can be challenged and any errors corrected in support of the public".
5. S0346: Joins Rhode Island to an interstate compact where the RI legislature would disregard the choice for President made by Rhode Island voters and allocate RI's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote instead. (S Judiciary; Thu, Feb 28)
4. H5441: Limits "student growth and achievement" to one-third of what can considered in a teacher evaluation. (H Labor; Tue, Feb 26)
3. H5277: Bans "standardized testing program[s] or assessment[s]" from being used as a high-school graduation requirement. (H House, Education and Welfare; Wed, Feb 27)
2. H5342: Repeal of the Caruolo act, and the addition of a requirement that town/city councils ratify school department contracts. (H Labor; Tue, Feb 26)
1. S0359: Repeal of Rhode Island's voter ID law. (S Judiciary; Thu, Feb 28)