What’s in…What’s out this week…7-7-17

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What’s in…What’s out

What’s in…
 
Hand held cell phone ban bill has passed both the House and Senate chambers…This one has been around for years… and hopefully will be signed by the Governor and enacted into law. How often do we see someone driving with cell phone in hand and they are trying to make a turn but almost hit your car? This will make a big difference in our roads if it becomes law.  They will be safer and better for all of us.

Governor’s free tuition plan… Regardless of the budget being at a standstill, the Governor vows to get the money to fulfill her tuition promise to RI students. She had some strong words to say about the General Assembly, “People shouldn’t have to suffer, because politicians can’t do their job”.

RI Partnership for Home Care…Shout out to Nicholas Oliver this week for working hard to protect some of most our vulnerable people in Rhode Island. He “ gets it” and knows how important these services are to our sick and seniors.

What’s out

Standoff at RI State House…The standoff continues as the RI House and Senate hold their ground their “He said, He said” stand. Last Friday night Speaker Nick Mattiello banged the gavel and shut down The House of Representatives after a last minute amendment to the car tax was tacked on the budget. Anyone who has served in the General Assembly knows, the budget process takes months to do with many hours of debate and hearings by the House Finance committee. A great deal of work is done by Finance members who deserve some courtesy in this process.

There was a full week in between passage of the budget in the House and Senate. Plenty of time passed to put in an amendment with the House Finance Committee that could have been debated in an open forum. So why did the Senate put on a last minute amendment? Senator Ruggerio claims it resulted over concerns of the car tax issue being an unfunded mandate that could possibly dip into the rainy day fund.  So why was it approved in the Senate Finance committee and changed last minute on the Senate floor? State House insiders say it happened because of an amendment to the much debated paid sick leave bill which passed the Senate. It’s scary to even think that one bill could have so much power to shut down a session and cause a standstill in the budget and bill process.

Did someone stamp their feet and cry foul?
Even though the state can operate on last year’s fiscal budget for awhile, there is no doubt that this is not good for the people of Rhode Island. So many good initiatives remain in limbo such as increased age for foster care from 18 years to 21 and free bus passes for seniors.  This is hardball at it’s worse. Can one person call the shots at the state house? Are there some that are so powerful that they put their needs over so many others? I hope not.

The Governor has weighed in after several days of silence and ultimately has asked both the House and Senate to go back to work.  Senate has said they will return in Fall to take up PawSox legislation while Speaker Mattiello has told WPRO’s Gene Valicenti, he has no plans to return anytime soon unless his form of the House budget is passed by Senate.

Well, something’s got to give.  It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong anymore, everyone. You are elected to lead and that’s what you need to do! Sometimes you have to swallow really hard at the State House with an amendment to a bill you don’t like or a budget article that isn’t perfect. It’s called compromise for the good of all.  No any one person is better than the institution our forefathers created. So in the words of N.E. Patriot coach Bill Belichick, “ Do your job”.

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