April 8, 2013

Coming up in Committee: Forty-Five Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, April 9 - April 11, Part 3

Carroll Andrew Morse

19. H5285: "The Comprehensive Racial Profiling Prevention Act of 2013", including such provisions as requiring police officers to document the grounds of their "reasonable suspicion" or "probable cause" searches and to contact a dispatcher or supervising officer where practicable before such searches, and requiring traffic stops to be recorded when a police vehicle is equipped to do so. (H Judiciary; Thu, Apr 11)

18. S0312: Requires the school committee and town/city council of every community that would send students to a proposed mayoral academy to approve the mayoral academy's charter school application. (S Education; Wed, Apr 10)

17. S0393: Creates a tax-credit of 10% of a student loan balance (with caps based on type of degree) for the first 10 years after a student's graduation "so long as the person remains a legal resident of and employed in Rhode Island". (S Finance; Tue, Apr 9)

16. S0360: "Notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, any person serving as a member of the pension board of the city of Pawtucket shall be immune from any civil liability in that capacity so long as that person acts in good faith, without malice, and not for improper personal enrichment in the performance of any duty or prerogative in connection with the administration of the pension system". (S Judiciary; Thu, Apr 11) What'd they do in Pawtucket that's worse than in the average "distressed" Rhode Island community?

15. S0154: "Each chamber of the legislature shall keep, for a period of three (3) years, an audio or video recording of debate and testimony occurring in committee and shall place the recording on the general assembly's website within twenty-four (24) hours of the debate and hearing". (S Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs; Wed, Apr 10)

14. S0414: Introduces four criteria that must be present to establish criminal intent in cases where the law does not specify "the criminal intent required to establish an element of the offense". The four elements are 1) a conscious object to engage in conduct of the nature constituting the element; 2) a conscious object to cause such a result required by the element; 3) an awareness of the existence of any attendant circumstances required by the element or with the belief or hope that such circumstances exist; and 4) specific intent to violate the law or with knowledge that the person’s conduct is unlawful. (S Judiciary; Thu, Apr 9). Doesn't criteria #4 introduce a potentially major loophole into the law, and run counter to centuries of common law holding that ignorance of the law is not a defense?

13. S0682: Creates a six-person "joint committee of the repealer" within the legislature that would "compile suggestions for repeal of statutes, regulations, and executive orders received from citizens, businesses, and government agencies". (S Judiciary; Thu, Apr 11)

12. H5743/S0605: Adds to the section of law on educational finance that "any municipality or local educational agency (LEA) that is rated A or better with any of the primary rating agencies, said municipality or LEA shall be able to elect to pursue issuing and selling their bonds on the open market, without approval from the general assembly and without having said bonds issued by the Rhode Island health and educational building corporation". (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10 & S Finance; Thu, Apr 11)

11. S0522: Empowers the General Treasurer to withhold non-education state aid from "any municipality that does not fully fund their annual required contribution (ARC)" to a locally administered pension plan. (S Finance; Tue, Apr 9)

10D. H5270: One line added to the law, giving "deputy sheriffs within the department of public safety, capitol police, and DEM police" the same retirement benefits as corrections officers. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10)

10C. H5468:/S0371: Requires teachers at mayoral academies to participate in the state teachers' retirement system. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10 & S Education; Wed, Apr 10)

10B. H5221: Restores cost-of-living adjustments for state pensioners whose annual benefit is less than 150% of the federal poverty level. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10)

10A. H5199: Repeals the minimum retirement age of 55 for police officers and firefighters with 10 years of service. (H Finance; Wed, Apr 10)