House Judiciary Committee

Aaron Read / RIPR

A House committee is slated to vote Tuesday on several bills filed after a Providence lawmaker was accused of misappropriating campaign funds. One of the bills would require officeholders to file an annual bank statement to back up information on campaign reports.

House Judiciary will also vote on bills calling for separate campaign accounts for public officeholders, and in some cases, for finance reports to be filed by someone other than the officeholder.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The legislative debate over whether Rhode Island needs stiffer penalties to deter protests on the highway began Wednesday night at the Statehouse. The discussion centered on whether new measures will promote public safety or whether they would mark an intensification of what opponents called an overly punitive criminal justice system.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to approve what may be some of the only gun legislation this session.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is one of three federal databases that federally licensed gun sellers check before selling anyone a gun.  

Right now the state does not submit any information to NICS.  The bill voted on by the House Judiciary Committee would allow the state’s District Court to report to NICS anyone who has been deemed a danger to themselves or others after a mental health hearing.

A compromise measure in the Rhode Island House will require voters to show ID – but not photo ID – when they go to the polls. The bill will be the subject of a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.

Democratic State Representative Larry Valencia of Richmond had introduced a bill to repeal the state’s voter ID law. Valencia says he opposes voter ID because he sees it as a barrier to voting. But the rep said his bill will be amended to address concerns on both sides of the issue.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected Thursday to sign into law legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The House Judiciary Committee quickly approved the bills Tuesday.

Any uncertainty facing the same-sex bills was eliminated when the state Senate overwhelmingly approved them last week. In a largely procedural matter, House Judiciary followed up with an unanimous 13-to-zero vote. Education activist Maryellen Butke, who can recall how fellow gays and lesbians once faced overt hostility in Rhode Island, called the vote historic.

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