Giannini: What’s In? What’s Out?

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Joanne Giannini is back.  

Here’s her latest breakdown of what’s in and what’s out concerning Rhode Island, and some national, politics. So without further ado…

What’s In

The $9.6 billion dollar budget passed Friday night

The RI House of Representatives passed the state budget Friday night and the next stop is the RI Senate.

The highlights include:

The legalization of sports betting in RI, a $250 million school construction proposal to go on the November ballot, and an expansion of the state’s TV Tax Credit Incentive program.

The RI House approved Kristen’s law this week

House bill H7715 sub A is on its way to the Senate after passing the RI House. The bill specifies that any person convicted of unlawfully selling illicit drugs that result in someone’s death shall be sentenced up to life in prison. The bill is named after Kristen Coutu, who died as a result of a deadly dose of fentanyl in 2014. Opponents of the bill believe it will cause many not to report overdoses in fear of being incarcerated and that therefore more harm than good. The bill was the brainchild of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin who argues this bill gives law enforcement the tools they need to fight the opioid crisis.

Speed Cameras will remain, but perhaps with lighter penalties and less stringent enforcement. 

A New Speed Camera Bill Passes the RI Senate

The Senate has passed legislation that would lower the fines on the speed cameras, which have hit drivers in Providence hard. The fines have been reduced to $50 instead of the current $95. Also included in the bill are provisions to let the cameras operate between 7:00 am to 6:00 pm–instead of nonstop. The Senate bill also allows a 30-day  warning only period after the installation of a new camera.

The House has their own version of the bill with different hours and provisions. It will be the battle of the speed cameras this week as we see which bill surfaces as the new law. Either way, most of the public is still opposed to the way the speed cameras were implemented and disagree with the fining of drivers when school is not in session.

A Pawtucket Red Sox Stadium bill will be debated in House Finance this week.

It it back to the forefront and it will probably be voted on this week.

So get ready for a new stadium in Pawtucket as this issue has resurfaced with backing from the powerful labor unions and will surely pass.

What’s Out

The RI state budget did not include the increase of marijuana dispensaries. The house did not include the increase in marijuana dispensaries from 3 to 15. 

What are we doing to make health care more effective and affordable, Giannini wonders. 

The status of Healthcare in this country.

Yes, I continue to yell and scream about the lack of concern for our seniors, cancer patients, terminally ill and nursing home residents in this state and across the country. I see no bills to improve the health care system. Why is it so hard to get pet scan screenings for cancer patients? Why are medications so expensive? When will we see more rights for our sick and seniors?

Health care workers have a hard job and need to be paid fair wages. They protect and care for our most vulnerable.  More home care workers are needed to care for our at home patients.

Cancer screenings and tests need quicker approval to prevent and diagnose potentially fatal diseases.

Medicine has to be affordable to our sick and seniors so they can not have to chose between eating and not being in pain.

These are the issues I care about. So should you. When you vote this year, look for the candidate who is watching out for you and your loved ones. It’s all we can do. Stay informed and keep your voice heard! I sure will.

Joanne Giannini
Joanne Giannini is a former State Representative from Providence. A freelance journalist, consultant and writer, she has previously written commentary for The Providence journal, GolocalProv and WPRO radio. Contact her at Pt3270@yahoo.com
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