Spotlight on the State House: Vol. II

This week at the General Assembly, Rhode Island legislators have been up to more than donning red clothing.

Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski is searching for new ways to raise money for Lyme disease prevention and tick-bite protection. Most recently, she’s come up with “Scratch-a-Tick,” a lottery game that would allow the state lottery to create an instant-win ticket and dedicate its first three months’ proceeds to the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and the Tick Encounter Resource Center. What with the potential for a new full-fledged casino, students may find themselves strapped for cash in no time.  

Good news, Boston fans — Rep. Brian P. Kennedy has submitted legislation once again to allow Rhode Islanders to flaunt their Red Sox pride on their license plates. The legislation would authorize the DMV to provide these plates, and Rhode Island charities would receive a fraction of the profits. Go team?

Sen. David E. Bates has proposed legislation that would require any individual convicted of a violent crime to give a DNA sample. The bill has been nicknamed “Katie’s Law,” for a 22-year old woman who was raped, strangled to death and set on fire. The skin and blood underneath her nails was uploaded to a DNA database and, three years later, her killer was finally caught. Good luck, Bates (and in the meantime, perhaps consider switching headshots? …Or at least tooth-whiteners.)

In accordance with recent anti-cyberbullying efforts in the state legislature, Rep. Elaine A. Coderre has proposed the addition of cyberstalking and cyberharrassment to the definition of “domestic violence” under state law. “Perpetrators of domestic violence use any means they can find to bother, harass or harm the targets of their abuse,” Coderre said. “More and more, this is being done electronically and we need to update our laws to punish this form of domestic violence.”

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