As Rhode Islanders take to the beaches or explore destinations elsewhere on vacation during the July Fourth holiday season — or wringing out their clothes after what was a rain-soaked …
As Rhode Islanders take to the beaches or explore destinations elsewhere on vacation during the July Fourth holiday season — or wringing out their clothes after what was a rain-soaked celebration down in Bristol — the stage is set for another beautiful summer.
But the stage is also set for a bounty of news in the coming months, as the General Assembly has enacted a slew of new policies and legislation that, moving forward, could potentially have major implications.
In housing, more than a dozen pieces of the package put forth by Speaker Shekarchi have been signed into law, and it will be seen as to whether or not decisions to unshackle developers from certain permitting and administrative roadblocks will actually start to translate into more affordable housing being created for years to come. Renters received a little support by having rental application fees outlawed, but advocates pushing for more control over rent increases can only wait for next session.
Environmental advocates and public enjoyers of the shoreline can celebrate two success stories, one that opens up public access to areas of the shoreline 10 feet landward of the high tide line, and although it won’t take place until January of 2025, styrofoam packaging has been banned in the state for food preparation and to-go containers.
In elections, civic-minded youngsters got a boost by permitting them to register and vote in primary elections at 17 years old, so long as they will be 18 by the time the general election rolls around. This means that a 16-year-old today could be able to vote in the upcoming presidential primary in November of 2024, provided they have a birthday prior to November.
And speaking of that election, an eye-popping 35 people have officially declared candidacy for Rhode Island’s First Congressional District, and many municipalities will utilize the special election to put forth capital bond requests to voters for a variety of uses, from new fire stations to brand new school buildings. With so many candidates and a lot of bond money at stake, you can expect a lot of political ads between now and November.
For now, we can enjoy the sun and take a much-needed breathe of relief. But summer months fly by, and before we know it we’ll be back to the rush of the beginning of school, the holidays, and then the unknown promise of what a new year, with loads of new legislation, has in store.