Letter: The General Assembly should change its process

Posted 8/10/23

To the editor:

The Rhode Island General Assembly should consider making changes to its process. For example, If Rhode Island legislation has been recommended for passage by a committee and then …

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Letter: The General Assembly should change its process

Posted

To the editor:

The Rhode Island General Assembly should consider making changes to its process.

For example, If Rhode Island legislation has been recommended for passage by a committee and then passed on the floor in one legislative chamber, the legislation deserves to be heard in the other chamber’s committee with a vote and possibly heard on the other chamber’s floor. Both Representatives and Senators should have the opportunity to act on such legislation.

In the recent General Assembly session, there were six important animal-protection bills that were recommended for passage by committee and passed by either the full House or full Senate, but the bills were not taken up by the other body of legislators; namely;

Senate Bill No. 403 by Senator Murray:
Prohibits the declawing of cats by any surgical procedure to amputate or modify a portion of a cat's paw in order to remove the cat's claws. Does not apply to any procedure performed for a therapeutic purpose.

House Bill No. 5437 by Representative Potter:
Prohibits force-feeding to create a force-fed poultry product nor hire another to engage in force feeding of a poultry product. Violations subject to a civil penalty.

House Bill No. 5864 by Representative Slater:
Prohibits captive hunting for domestic or wild animals. This act does not prohibit the release of upland game birds for hunting on licensed shooting preserves.

House Bill No. 5559 SUB A by Representative Serpa:
Prohibits the sale or offer for sale in this state of any cosmetic that was developed or manufactured using cosmetic testing on animals, if the testing was conducted or contracted by the manufacturer or any supplier on or after July 1, 2024.

House Bill No. 5558 by Representative Edwards:
Provides that the trapping and subsequent release of any unowned feral or free roaming cat for the purpose of spaying or neutering of the cat would not be considered abandonment.

Senate Bill No. 697 SUB A by Senator Sosnowski:
Amends provisions re insurance producer appointments and clarifies language re insurance claims adjusters. Amends the RI life & health guarantee assoc. act. Adds insurance data security and pet insurance acts and unfair discrimination prohibitions.)

After all, constituents have voted for both representatives and senators in their districts. That representation should be whole not cut in half.

You may have two bodies of legislators, but we do not have two states.

Consequently, you do not have full representation when one chamber is left out of the process. That process should include a complete legislative cycle when bills are passed by one of the chambers. It should not be necessary to have duplicate bills in both chambers during the same session.

Rhode Island voters need to know where their senators and representatives stand on legislation before they decide on who to support at the polls.

To have meaningful representation, Rhode Island does not have to go as far as Nebraska, that has senators and no representatives.

Dennis Tabella
Director of Defenders of Animals, Inc.

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