“Bowties Against Bullying” Day at the State House. We also recognized two individuals from the Samaritans of Rhode Island; Executive Director Denise Panichas and new Board member, Mr. Ken Walsh.
STATE HOUSE – With the support and co-sponsorship of House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, Rep. Dennis M. Canario today filed legislation (2018-H 7688) that would create a means for courts to disarm people whose behavior is believed by authorities to pose a serious threat to others or themselves.
The bill, supported by the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, is known as the “Red Flag” bill because it provides a course of action to prevent violence when people alert authorities to people who have shown warning signs that they intend to commit violence. Similar legislation is being considered in other states, particularly after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“As a retired police officer with more than 25 years of experience in the law enforcement field, recent tragic events have placed into focus the extreme dangers of having firearms in the hands of troubled individuals. I thank my fellow officers for their leadership and commitment to this public policy issue. This legislation seeks to take guns away from individuals with behavioral health problems so that our children and the public will always remain safe,” said Representative Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton).
Said Speaker Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), “I thank the Police Chiefs Association and all police officers for protecting us and putting public safety first. Behavioral health issues are increasingly causing irrational and unacceptable behavior and these individuals should be stripped of their firearms to protect our children and our society. This legislation is an effective step and an important tool to help law enforcement intervene and prevent tragic outcomes from occurring.”
Jamestown Police Chief Edward Mello, a member of the executive board of the RI Police Chiefs’ Association and past president of the association, expressed support for the legislation.
“The members of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association greatly appreciate the swift response by Speaker Mattiello in putting forth a comprehensive ‘Red Flag’ bill,” said Chief Mello. “We look forward to the opportunity to be part of the discussion as the bill is introduced and considered by the General Assembly.”
The legislation creates the “extreme risk protective order” which would allow authorities to disarm threatening individuals while also providing them due process. The order would prohibit an individual from possessing or purchasing guns, would require them to surrender guns in their possession and would invalidate any concealed carry permits they have. Violating such an order — or providing firearms to someone subject to one — would be a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The order would be in place for one year, but could be renewed by the court. Those subject to one could also petition once per year to have them lifted.
Under the bill, police, the attorney general or a family or household member of an individual could petition Superior Court for an extreme risk protection order if they believe the individual poses a significant danger of causing injury to himself or others by having a firearm. The petitioner must give an affidavit stating the specific statements, actions, or facts that give rise to a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts by that individual.
A judge would determine whether to issue one, considering any recent acts or threats of violence with or without a firearm and patterns of such threats or acts in the previous year, and the individual’s mental health, substance abuse and criminal histories. The court would also consider any unlawful, threatening, or reckless use or brandishing of a firearm by the individual and evidence of any recent acquisition of a firearm.
Court hearings to determine whether to issue an extreme risk protective order must be held within 21 days, but in the meantime, the petitioner can request a temporary extreme risk protective order, similar to a temporary restraining order, which would be issued within a day if the court agrees that there is probable cause to believe the individual poses an imminent threat to others or himself if armed.
When an individual is served with the order, he or she must immediately hand over all firearms and any concealed carry permit in his or her possession to police or a licensed gun dealer. The order would be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and all state and federal lists used for determining whether those seeking to purchase guns have been prohibited from doing so.
In addition to Representative Canario and Speaker Mattiello, other sponsors of the bill include Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D-Dist. 44, Lincoln, Johnston, Smithfield), Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren), Rep. Deborah A. Fellela (D-Dist. 43, Johnston), House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) and Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence).
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is praising the actions of the Portsmouth Fire Department after their battle with a fire in Portsmouth on Wednesday that claimed the life of one person and three homes.
“Although this was a terrible tragedy in which one resident lost their life and three homes burned to the ground, the devastation could have been far worse if not for the actions of the brave members of the Portsmouth Fire Department. I would also like to thank the neighboring fire departments that assisted in fighting this heartbreaking fire,” said Representative Canario.
Fire departments from Tiverton, Bristol, Newport, Middletown and Swansea assisted during the fire that started in one home and spread to two other homes late in the night.
“Portsmouth has endured some very tragic events over the last few weeks with the individual that tried to gain entry into the high school, and now this terrible fire, but Portsmouth is a strong community that will rally together to get through these trying times,” added Canario.
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is praising the actions of Portsmouth High School teacher Risha Pellegrino and School Resource Officer Maddie Pirri in their handling of an intruder at Portsmouth High School this week.
“Due to the decisive actions of Ms. Pellegrino and Officer Pirri, a scary and troubling situation could have gone far worse at Portsmouth High School. I applaud both their efforts in protecting the students in their care and I wish Ms. Pellegrino a quick recovery from her injuries sustained while defending her students,” said Representative Canario.
Earlier this week, a former student attempted to gain entry to the school through the gym. Ms. Pellegrino attempted to stop the man who then assaulted the teacher in front of her students. The students promptly called 911 and the man was arrested by Officer Pirri in the school’s main office. The intruder was arrested without incident and police discovered a 7-inch knife in his backpack.
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is voicing his strong opposition to the proposed plan to use public borrowing to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The proposal was recently passed by the Rhode Island Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Finance.
“After carefully analyzing the proposal introduced in the Senate, and after listening to the voices of District 71’s residents, I cannot support the current proposal to use taxpayer funds to construct a new stadium for the PawSox, nor will I support any deal that puts any taxpayer dollars at risk. This is a private venture put forth by some very wealthy businessmen and if private equity and banks are not backing the team’s quest for a new stadium, I cannot in good conscience support public money being used instead,” said Representative Canario.
STATE HOUSE – The 19-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island has appointed its members in anticipation of its first meeting in October.
Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) and Sen. Cynthia A Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) sponsored the legislation (2017-H 5551Aaa / 2017-S 277A) that created the commission.
“The potential effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island would have drastic impacts to the fabric of our state and this commission is necessary to determine if those effects would come with positive or negative outcomes,” said Representative Canario. “There is too much at stake from both a financial and a public health standpoint to rush into legalization because Massachusetts has elected to do so. This commission will take a thoughtful and data-driven approach to determine if legalizing marijuana is the right move for Rhode Island.”
“Based on my experience as a retired State Police lieutenant and a mom of four children, I understand that legalization of marijuana for recreational use could have serious public safety, public health and societal ramifications. It is imperative that we thoughtfully consider the unintended consequences and take notice from lessons learned in Colorado and Washington. We should take full advantage of other states’ experiences and learn about whether we should follow in their footsteps or perhaps take a different approach to avoid any problems they may have encountered,” said Senator Coyne.
The purpose of the commission would be to conduct a comprehensive review and make recommendations regarding marijuana and the effects of its use on the residents of Colorado and Washington to the extent available, and to study the fiscal impact to those states; and thereafter the potential impact on Rhode Island of legalized recreational marijuana.
The commission will consist of the following members:
· Representative Canario
· Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence)
· Rep. Antonio Giarrusso (R-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich)
· Senator Coyne
· Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence)
· Sen. Nicholas D. Kettle (R-Dist. 21, Coventry, Foster, Scituate, West Greenwich)
· Smart Approaches to Marijuana: Nancy DeNuccio, Narragansett
· President of Substance Use Mental Health Council of RI: Susan Storti, PhD
· Proponent for legalization: Michael Beauregard, president of RI Young Democrats
· Executive Director of RI Medical Society or designee: Steve DeToy, director of government and public affairs, designee
· Local chamber of commerce: Laurie White, president of Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce
· Director of Department of Health or designee: Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott
· President of RI Police Chiefs Association or designee: Dean Hoxsie, president
· Attorney General or designee: Peter Kilmartin
· Medical marijuana patient: Julie Lancia, North Providence
· Educator: Carol Formica, Middletown Substance Abuse Coalition
· Mental Health Professional: Mike Cerullo, Exeter
· Criminal defense attorney: John MacDonald, Providence
· President of AFL-CIO or designee: Tim Melia, president of Local 328 United Food & Commercial Workers, designee
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) is calling on Governor Raimondo to create a special commission to be run by the Rhode Island State Police with the purpose of restructuring the Department of Children, Youth and Families following several recent incidents involving the agency.
“As a retired police officer, I have dealt with DCYF many times in the past and unfortunately, recent reports of tragic and disturbing failures within DCYF are not surprising to me considering my past experiences with the agency. And, as we have seen in these recent headlines, too many children in state care are dying, too many are being hurt, and too many are being victimized. This is simply unacceptable and it points to deep systematic problems that have long been present in DCYF,” said Representative Canario.
Representative Canario is proposing that the governor call in the State Police to do a top-to-bottom review of the troubled agency through a special oversight commission. He believes that in order for the agency to protect the children in its care, long overdue institutional changes must be made rather than simply replacing those in charge of the agency, and this can only be done through the outside viewpoint of the State Police.
“I want to be clear too, my proposal for State Police intervention is in no way an indictment of the hard-working and dedicated front-line employees of DCYF. These employees are over-worked, over-whelmed, and are unable to adequately care for these children due to long-term structural deficiencies within DCYF. I urge Governor Raimondo to send in the State Police to clean up DCYF once and for all so that no more of the children in our care are hurt and killed anymore,” added Representative Canario.
August 8, 2017
Representative Dennis Canario and Representative Jay Edwards presented Pocasset School with $1600 for STEM education and Tiverton Middle School with $3,000 for their sports programs.
STATE HOUSE – Two bills introduced by Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton) have been signed into law by the governor. The bills relate to license plates benefiting the New England Patriots Charitable Fund and requiring comprehensive discharge plans for patients with mental health disorders.
The first bill (2017-H 5761A) makes combination vehicles eligible for the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation registration plates.
“The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation does so much good work for so many worthy causes and I felt it was important to allow the widest amount of vehicles possible to be able to participate in this program,” said Representative Canario.
The second bill (2017-H 6306A) signed into law requires medical treatment facilities to provide discharge plans for patients with nonsubstance abuse related mental health disorders.
“As we as a society learn more about the importance of mental health, we must ensure that people who suffer from these diseases have the adequate and proper care they need to regain their health. This legislation will make sure that patients with mental health issues receive the best possible care for their conditions in the medically best way possible,” said Representative Canario.
According to the legislation, on or before September 1, 2017, each hospital and freestanding emergency care facility shall submit a discharge plan and transition process for patients with a primary diagnosis of a mental health disorder without a co-occurring substance use disorder.
On or before January 1, 2018, the director of the Department of Health, with the director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, shall develop and disseminate mental health best practices standards for health care clinics, urgent care centers, and emergency diversion facilities regarding protocols for patient screening, transfer, and referral to clinically appropriate inpatient and outpatient services. The best practice standards shall include information and strategies to facilitate clinically appropriate prompt transfers and referrals from hospitals and freestanding emergency care facilities to less intensive settings.