December 10, 2018

News Briefs

Posted

State Rep. Gregg Amore Seeks Harassment Study
In a recent press release, State Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) has asked the legislature to expedite the hearing process regarding its workplace sexual harassment study. The package of legislation was a result of a commission, led by Chairwoman Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), that studied existing laws and identified areas of improvement that will have a positive impact on all employees.

“Laws and protections need to be updated to take into consideration the changing work environments. As we learned during last year’s commission process, many of the laws have gone unchanged for over thirty years. I supported this package of bills in 2018 and, in all candor, should have spoken out more forcefully at that time. These matters need to be addressed in some of the first pieces of legislation passed in the 2019 session,” said Representative Amore.

Some of the bills proposed and introduced by the commission last session were:
2018-H 8281 — Submitted by Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick), this bill would enhance a reporting requirement for state agencies and departments for violations of the fair employment practices chapter and the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action chapter. The act would also remove legislative branch exclusion from “agency” definition.

2018-H 8280 — Sponsored by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett), this bill would exclude the period of investigation of a discrimination case by the Human Rights Commission from counting toward the statute of limitations.

2018-H 8275 — Submitted by Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), this act would require the Department of Children, Youth and Families and the Department of Education to identify or develop a program of age-appropriate sexual abuse and sexual awareness education.

2018-H 8288 – Introduced by Rep. Aaron Regunberg (D-Dist. 4, Providence), this act would mandate that applicants seeking state funds, state contracts or state tax incentives in excess of $50,000 disclose on their applications the number of discrimination cases and settlements, if any, pending or concluded before the Human Rights Commission or in court within five years of the date of their application.

“With all the tools and information available to us in today’s society, we cannot stand idly by and allow our co-workers, friends and neighbors to be subject to working in a hostile environment and then be burdened with navigating an archaic and sometimes unclear system. When these incidents occur, whether they be in the workplace or in the State House, it is important that a person knows exactly where to go to address their grievances and that there is a safe, supportive, consistent and fair system in place for all parties involved.” concluded Representative Amore.

DaSilva, Sousa, Rodericks Elected to Mayor and City Council Seats
Bob DaSilva was elected last month to serve as East Providence's first-ever full time Mayor. DaSilva outdistanced his opponent James Russo to take the Mayor's seat. Bob Rodericks was elected to the At-Large City Council seat. Anna Sousa was re-elected to the Ward Two council seat. In uncontested races, Robert Britto (Ward One), Nathan Cahoun (Ward Three) and Ricardo Mourato (Ward Four) were all elected to the City Council.

Unopposed and re-elected to the School Committee were Charles Tsonos (Ward One), Anthony Ferreira (Ward Two), Jessica Beauchaine (Ward Four) and Joel Monteiro (At-Large). Newcomer Karen Oliveira also ran unopposed for the Ward Three seat being vacated by Nathan Cahoun who is moving to the City Council.

Senator William Conley was easily re-elected to District 18 along with newcomer Senator Val Lawson who will replace Dan DaPonte (District 14) and Senator Cynthia Armour Coyne (Dist. 32 Barrington, Bristol, East Providence). Representative Gregg Amore was unopposed for his District 65 seat and Katherine S. Kazarian was easily re-elected to her District 63 seat. Newcomer Joseph Serodio won the District 64 seat previously held by outgoing Rep. Helder Cunha.

New EPHS Approved Overwhelmingly
Voters approved the construction of a new East Providence High School with a 78% majority. The $189 million bond issue may be reimbursable by up to 74% because the state bond issue was also approved. Voters had a choice of spending millions to repair or replace the over 60 year old school on Pawtucket Avenue and chose a new school.

Shortly after the election, Superintendent of Schools, Kathryn Crowley sent home a message to city students and residents:

"Dear families, staff, and residents,

I’m writing to say THANK YOU for helping to make a dream come true…a new East Providence High School! The voters of East Providence overwhelming approved Question 4 to finance construction of a new high school. The referendum passed with nearly 78% in favor.

We are also thrilled that Rhode Island voters yesterday approved Question 1, a statewide ballot question to finance $250 million in bonds for local school facilities projects. As a result, the East Providence High School project will now receive as much as 74.4% State reimbursement on eligible costs, rather than 54.4% if Question 1 had not passed.

I join the East Providence School Committee and Building Committee in thanking and congratulating everyone who worked so hard to ensure passage of the referendum. Our community came together with passion and determination to seize this incredible opportunity for our students and our city. The support for these ballot questions affirms the deep commitment to public education here in East Providence.

Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves once again to get this exciting project underway, in order to open the doors of a brand new, state-of-the-art, comprehensive high school in 2021. Throughout the design and construction process, we will continue to keep the community involved on our website: www.EPbuildingcommittee.com. You can also follow the project on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BuildEPHS.

Congratulations again, and thank you for tremendous support!"

RI Attorney General Visits EPHS in November - Safe Driving
With “hands free” phone law in effect, the RI Attroney General's office is reiterating the importance of not snapping selfies, posting photos, or texting while driving. The program visited EPHS last month.

The Office of Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, the Rhode Island State Police, and AT&T shared the message with students at East Providence High School as part of the “It Can Wait” campaign. The presentation highlighted the dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences of distracted driving and the ramifications of the state’s “hands free” law that went into effect earlier this year.

“While we’ve all grown accustomed to our phones being an integral part of our daily lives, there is a time and place when we must put them away – and that is when we are behind the wheel of a vehicle. It might be a tough habit to break, but it’s so necessary to the safety of all motorists, passengers and pedestrians,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.

“Rhode Island made strides with the passage of the ‘hand-free” law, but education is also key in changing driver behavior and instilling safe behavior in young drivers from the start. The response by students to the It Can Wait school program has been very positive since we launched it six years ago. We have made 97 school presentations since then, often returning to the same school to speak with each new class of young drivers. We hope that through peer influence and by hearing some of the tragic, real life situations that have resulted from distracted driving, more teens will realize that no text message, snap, tweet or Instagram is worth losing their own life, or worse, taking the life of another person. It Can Wait,” added Attorney General Kilmartin.

During the school assembly, students watched the powerful documentary “The Last Text,” featuring young people whose lives have been forever impacted by distracted driving. They also signed a pledge to not use their phones while driving and to serve as ambassadors by asking others to put away their phones while in the car.

Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, said, “Distracted driving is killing people on roadways across the country every day. The It Can Wait program reinforces the message to teen drivers and all motorists that no phone call, text, social media post -- or any other distraction -- is worth dying for. Keeping both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel is the best way to keep everyone safe.”

“Later this fall, AT&T and Attorney General Kilmartin will hold our 100th It Can Wait event in the state of Rhode Island, a significant milestone that highlights the ongoing importance of this issue. We extend our thanks to Attorney General Kilmartin for his years of service and dedication to public safety in Rhode Island. We truly believe our collective efforts have helped make a difference, but we also understand there is more work to be done. In 2018, nearly 9 in 10 people admit to using their smartphone while driving. We need to keep talking about this issue, and we need to keep reminding our friends and loved ones to put their phones down while they’re behind the wheel. No text, photo, email or social media post is worth a life. It Can Wait,” Ms. Jacobs added.

The statistics remain staggering. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States. In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

School officials who are interested in bringing the “It Can Wait” program to their school can contact Donna Kirwan, assistant public information officer, at (401) 274-4400 ext. 2268 or dkirwan@riag.ri.gov.

Looking For a Job? School Bus Drivers & Aides Needed
OceanState Transit is now hiring school bus drivers and aides. Call 401-435-8080 for more information.
Joseph Silva Memorial Toy Drive
The annual Joseph Silva Memorial Toy Drive will be held on December 6th, 2018 at 6:00 P.M.
at the Riviera Restaurant, 580 Broadway, East Providence, RI 02914. There will be a Dinner Buffet, Cash Bar, Live Music, Holiday Surprises, & Toy Drive. Tickets Donations: $25.00 each
Contact Julie at (401)434-3556 or email joesfoundation@gmail.com. Event organizers are asking supporters to bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift item for a child, ages newborn to 16 years old.

Bay View Students Blood Drive Collection
St. Mary Academy - Bay View, in conjunction with the Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), held its fall blood drive on Thursday, November 8th on campus in the Athletic Wellness Center. Students, teachers, and parents came to roll up their sleeves and donated 17 pints of blood to help others on their road to recovery. According to the RIBC, 51 lives will be saved with a collection of this amount. Bay View will host another blood drive on March 28, 2019.

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