RI Lawmakers To Reconvene Following Coronavirus Shutdown

Rachel Nunes

PROVIDENCE, RI — The Rhode Island General Assembly will reconvene next week following a months-long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The sessions will focus on the state's budget as the fiscal year draws closed amid a potential $800 million deficit.

Both the full House and Senate will meet on Wednesday and Thursday to consider a supplemental budget for the current fiscal year, as well as a few other bills. There are just a few weeks left until the end of the fiscal year June 30, and the supplemental budget bill would address the current $235 million deficit. No new policy is addressed in the legislation, only the shortfalls in the budget.

The finance committees of both chambers have been discussing the legislation, and will meet this week to discuss potential amendments and revisions.

After the current budget issue is resolved, the General Assembly will reconvene at a later date to discuss the 2021 fiscal year budget, which will depend on supplemental federal funding that is expected in the coming weeks.

The State House remains closed to the public due to the pandemic, and plexiglass partitions are being installed around the front and sides of each lawmaker's desk. Masks will not be required while sitting at desks, but are needed when elsewhere in the building. Members of the public can watch committee meetings and sessions through Capitol TV's livestream.

The schedule is listed below.

Monday

  • The House Municipal Government Committee will meet at 3 p.m. in the House Lounge to consider bills. Testimony may be submitted to dhuntley@rilegislature.gov.
  • The House Health, Education and Welfare Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in the House Lounge for a discussion about the COVID-19 public health crisis with Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 4 p.m. in the Senate Lounge. The agenda will include a resolution sponsored by Senator Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) to establish a Senate task force examining the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. Additionally, the committee will hear a pair of bills submitted on behalf of Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office related to the Hospital Conversion Act and civil investigative demands in instances of violations of civil rights, as well as routine bills related to solemnization of marriage. Testimony may be submitted to at slegislation@rilegislature.gov.

Tuesday

  • The House Finance Committee will meet at 3 p.m. in Room 35 to consider the amended supplemental budget bill. Testimony may be submitted to cobrien@rilegislature.gov.
  • The Senate Finance Committee will meet at 4 p.m.in the Senate Lounge to review revisions to the supplemental budget proposal. In addition, the Senate Finance Committee will hear and/or consider legislation requested by the League of Cities & Towns pertaining to local budget operations during a state of emergency, as well as local bills and a treasury appointment. Testimony may be submitted to slegislation@rilegislature.gov.

Wednesday

  • The House will meet at 3 p.m. to consider bills that have been approved by the House Finance, Judiciary and Municipal Government committees. The floor calendar will be posted on Monday.
  • The Senate will meet at 4 p.m. to consider appointments and matters passed by the Senate committees over the past several weeks.

Thursday

  • The House will meet at 3 p.m. to consider the supplemental budget, assuming approval by the Finance Committee on Tuesday. The House will stand ready to receive matters from the Senate.
  • The Senate will meet at 5 p.m. to consider the revised supplemental budget proposal and additional business from the House.



This article originally appeared on the Cranston Patch