Video from 2019’s first House Committee on Judiciary

House Judiciary

The first meeting of the House Committee on Judiciary was to start at the “Rise of the House,” which is when the House session ends, usually around 4:30pm. The House ended their session right around 4:30, and room 205 of the Rhode Island State House had plenty of people waiting to testify, but for unknown reasons, the hearing did not start until 6pm. People waited 90 minutes for the hearing to start, never mind the time spent waiting for their bills to be heard.

Room 205 has no cameras, so the public was unable to watch this meeting from home.

It wasn’t the most auspicious start to Representative Robert Craven (Democrat, District 32, North Kingstown)’s first day as committee chair. Committee chair is an honorary title the Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston), confers on the people he tasks to run his meetings for him. No legislation moves out of committee to the floor of the House without the Speaker’s permission, and the hearings are largely performative.

Close allies to Speaker Mattiello know this, which may be why Representatives John Edwards (Democrat, District 70, Tiverton) and Dennis Canario (Democrat, District 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton) skipped the meeting, as can be heard during the roll call.

Robert Craven

See: Speaker Mattiello retaliates against Reform Caucus members with committee assignments

Below is all the video from the hearing, starting with the roll call:

Because there were no bills pertaining to non-heterosexual marriages, the four Solemnization of Marriage bills, H5013, H5014, H5089 and H5128, were bundled and passed unanimously.

See: General Assembly persists in its policy of institutionalized bigotry against the LGBTQ community

House Bill 5041 introduced by Representative Joseph Solomon Jr (Democrat, District 22, Warwick), “prohibits development of land contiguous to State House unless approved by Rhode Island General Assembly.”

01/09/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

Chair Craven moved to hold all bills to be held for further study. This legislative move basically means that no bills will be voted on during the committee hearing, but will vanish until approved by the Speaker, when a hurried committee vote will take place. Committees almost never vote on bills that will not pass.

House Bill 5075 introduced by Representative Shelby Maldonado (Democrat, District 56, Central Falls) “requires the sealing of any district court file, where a resolution of a trespass and eviction complaint results in a verdict for the tenant and no appeal is taken.”

01/10/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

House Bill 5076 introduced by Representative John Lombardi (Democrat, District 8, Providence), “permits the family court to award custody of household pets to the plaintiff in a domestic abuse complaint.

01/10/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

House Bill 5084 also introduced by Representative Lombardi “prohibits lobbyists from making any political contributions to any member of the general assembly from January 1 through July 1 in any year, unless the general assembly adjourns for the year prior to July 1.)

01/10/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

House Bill 5029 introduced by Representative Grace Diaz (Democrat, District 11, Providence), “allows a classified employee, whose position is not fully funded through federal loans and/or grants to seek the nomination of or to be a candidate for elective state office.”

01/04/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

House Bill 5025 introduced by Representative Christopher Millea (Democrat, District 16, Cranston), “provides copies of public records at no cost to state legislators acting in their official capacity and in the furtherance of legislative business or oversight.

01/04/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Removed from consideration by the sponsor.

House Bill 5074 introduced by Representative Camille Vella-Wilkinson (Democrat, District 21, Warwick), “establishes an annual day of special observance day to honor Rhode Island’s first responders on March 17.”

01/10/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

Two identical bills, House Bill 5015 introduced by Representative Kenneth Marshall (Independent, District 68, Bristol) and Senate Bill 0009 introduced by Senator Cynthia Armour Coyne (Democrat, District 32, Barrington), “allows the board of canvassers of the town of Bristol to combine two or more voting districts for the representative district 68 special election in March, 2019.”

House Bill
01/03/2019 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

Senate Bill
01/09/2019 Recommended for Immediate Consideration
01/09/2019 Senate read and passed
01/10/2019 Referred to House Judiciary
01/18/2019 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
01/24/2019 Held for further study

Adjournment.


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About Steve Ahlquist 901 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com

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