Spotlight on the State House: Vol. IV

Between breaks as they celebrate Dominican Republic Independence Day, Rhode Island legislators have been busy.

Rep. Grace Diaz has introduced a bill that would expand Rhode Island’s racial profiling laws. The legislation would target law-enforcement policies in an effort to prevent profiling — it would standardize requirements for traffic stops, have police to account in writing for grounds of “reasonable suspicion” before conducting a search, and bar the questioning of car passengers without grounds for suspicion. Three teenagers gave accounts of their experiences with racial profiling, one of whom — Brian Capcap, a 17-year-old from Cranston — was grabbed by the police and arrested for no ascertainable reason. As they put him in the cruiser, Capcap said he overheard one of the policemen say, “Damn Asians.” Continue Reading

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.   Continue Reading

Spotlight on the State House: Vol. I

Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

Rhode Island’s state legislature, better  known as the General Assembly, is always making news for debating budgets,  proposing new state programs and giving the rest of us a lesson in Christmastime semantics.

As they start their 2011 session this spring, we’re bringing you a weekly round-up of the interesting, quirky and just plain astounding things under consideration by everyone’s favorite part-time legislature.

Last week, Rep. Donald Lally Jr. proposed a bill permanently changing the day of Halloween to the last Saturday of October, regardless of whether it falls on the 31st.  According to the Jan. 29 Providence Journal, Lally “says he’s not sure if it’s a good idea,” but proposed the bill because a constituent approached him about it. One Brown student found the real story here, pointing out that the bill means “there won’t be that extra night to party.” Continue Reading