Legislative News – Feb. 18: Drunk driving laws for repeat offenders; Feminine hygiene products in public schools

The latest news and press releases from the Rhode Island General Assembly.

02/18/2020Sen. Valarie J. Lawson;Sen. Lawson introduces bill requiring feminine hygiene products to be provided in public schools
02/18/2020Sen. Leonidas Raptakis;Sen. Raptakis reintroduces bills to toughen drunk driving laws for repeat offenders

Sen. Lawson introduces bill requiring feminine hygiene products to be provided in public schools

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) has introduced legislation (2020-S 2183) that would require all public schools to provide feminine hygiene products at no cost.

“We all know how necessary feminine hygiene products are, but what many people do not realize, and I see this as a long time educator, is that a lack of access to these products can cause students to miss crucial school days.  These products are a daily necessity to so many students and just as schools provide toilet paper for the bathrooms, these products should also be readily accessible for our students in need,” said Senator Lawson.

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According to the bill, at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, all public schools teaching grades six through 12 shall make feminine hygiene products available in the schools.  The products will be available in all gender-neutral bathrooms and any female designated bathrooms.  The products shall be provided at no cost to the students.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Sen. Raptakis reintroduces bills to toughen drunk driving laws for repeat offenders

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) has reintroduced several bills to stiffen penalties for repeat offenders of driving while under the influence infractions.

“Drunk drivers, especially repeat offenders and especially those whose irresponsible actions cause harm to others, should not be on the road, period,” said Senator Raptakis. “I don’t care how remorseful they seem when they appear before a judge. The punishment for this type of reckless disregard for the welfare of others needs to be much tougher. Until it is, drunks are going keep getting behind the wheel and the mayhem on our roads will continue.”

Senator Raptakis points to the recent local story of a man who was arrested twice for driving under the influence in an 18-hour span.  He has introduced these bills several times in the past and he believes that Rhode Island can no longer afford to wait to pass these important public safety bills.

The first bill (2020-S 2259) sponsored by Senator Raptakis would increase the penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence resulting in death and driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury.

The second piece of legislation (2020-S 2282) would increase from 5 years to 10 years the period in which prior DUI convictions qualify a person for increased penalties for subsequent convictions.

The last bill (2020-S 2286) would require the license plates of a vehicle to be confiscated if the owner is arrested for driving while the license was suspended, revoked or canceled for a number of offenses, including driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a breath test.

“From my point of view, we have done enough study. We’ve heard these bills year after year while people have continued to get hurt and killed on our roads, and the courts have allowed drunks to get back behind the wheel,” said Senator Raptakis. “We know people drive drunk, we know they continue to drive drunk after being convicted and their license has been suspended or revoked, we know they cause damage and death. We need to act and we need to get tough.”

All of the bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.