|Through legislative action, Rhode Island positioned for real growth
By Sen. James C. Sheehan
Time is an essential element of long-term, sustained growth, especially
in the case of Rhode Isalnd and its low national business
competitiveness rankings. But with the enactment of the various "Moving
the Needle" bills during the last legislative session, Rhode Island has
positioned itself to see real growth in the years ahead.
|A progress report on the Behavioral Health / Firearms Safety task force
By Rep. Deborah Ruggiero
The 20-member Task Force on Behavioral Health and Firearm Safety, which
I co-chair, has been meeting regularly during the General Assembly's
off-session. Our collective charge is to review current mental health
laws and recommend a comprehensive approach to vehavioral health and
gun safety. There is a delicate balance between gun ownership, public
safety and mental health.
|Quonset site-readiness project: Creating jobs and economic growth
By Sen. M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Rep. Gordon D. Fox
The General Assembly has worked to build a shared vision for improving
the Rhode Island economy and creating jobs. An important part of that
effort is removing time-consuming, expensive red tape and regulations
that prevent existing businesses from growing, and may discourage
potential employers from opening in our beautiful state. As an example
of success, consider the economic engine that has emerged at the
Quonset Business Park.
|Regulatory reform will make the difference
By Rep. Patricia A. Serpa
Regulatory reform isn't the sexiest topic in state government right
now, but for small business owners it's everything. It is my belief
that Rhode Island is coming close to achieving tangible progress in
streamlining our regulatory processes.
|On NECAP and equal opportunities
By Sen. Harold M. Metts
Many have called equal educational opportunities for all students the
top civil rights issue of our time. It may also be the top economic
issue of our time. At recent Senate economic summits, the economists
who offered their various positions were clear and unified about one
topic - we need an educated workforce in Rhode Island, to draw industry
and jobs. What has been lost in the recent academic rhetoric is that
there are different methods for how to reach that objective. No one has
a monopoly on the methods and ideas to get there.
|Rhode Island fast becoming a "State of the Arts"
By President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Speaker Gordon D. Fox
The General Assembly continues to recognize the critical impact that
small buinsesses possess as powerful economic engines in building
culturally vibrant communities for future generations. Within the small
business community is the rich and diverse creative sector that
encompasses nationally distinguished organizations as well as hidden
gens with over 3,000 arts-related businesses that employ more than
13,000 individuals statewide. From galleries to acclaimed performing
arts establishments, the creative sector continues to grow and flourish
in the Ocean State.
|RI first in nation with utility tariff so municipalities can own streetlights
By Rep. Deborah Ruggiero
Streetlights may not sound exciting, but the Municipal Streetlight
Investment Act, which I championed this legislative session and is now
law in Rhode Island, can save our cities and towns about $3 million a
|Thoughts on a year of service in the Senate
By Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey
My first session in the Rhode Island State Senate is over and the
question I am often asked by family and friends is "So, is it what you
expected?" I understand why people get frustrated that problems aren't
solved faster or decisions don't meet their expectations, but I can
confirm the people in the legislature spend a lot of time and energy
trying to get it right for Rhode Island.
|Assembly helps 'Pave the Rhode Back Home' for RI veterans
By Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. and Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
Rhode Island is not alone in acknowledging its debt to our nation's
military veterans. Rhode Island citizens, like citizens around the
nation, appreciate the service they have given, the sacrifices they
have made. But actions speak louder than words and the General Assembly
has acted this session to pass several important pieces of legislation,
that have all been enacted into law. These new laws are designed to
assist veterans with their reintegration into society, increase their
access to educational opportunities and help them obtain essential
medical and human service benefits.
|Bryant's unjust treatment of Smithfield taxpayers
By Sen. Stephen R. Archambault, Rep. Thomas Winfield and Rep. Gregory J. Costantino
We have the utmost respect for Bryant University and know that the Town
of Smithfield is pleased to have the school as a resident. But it is
not equitable that a property owner exempt from paying what would be
about $2 million yearly in property taxes should at the same time
receive services that are paid for by all the other residents of the
town, both homeowners and businesses. That is why we sponsored
legislation (which has become law) that will require the school to
reimbuse the town for the actual cost of police, fire and rescue
services to the campus.
|Major economic development initiatives pass Assembly
By M. Teresa Paiva Weed and Gordon D. Fox
We have been proud to work together to create a vibrant economic
environment in Rhode Island and to encourage job creation by business.
Changes we have made in recent years included overhauling the income
tax, establishing the new Office of Regulatory Reform and addressing
workforce development. With the economy still stagnent and too many
Rhode Islanders unemployed, we came into the 2013 session with a
renewed sense of urgency to build upon these recent reforms and improve
economic development in Rhode Island.