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A Hummel Report Investigation

Some Head-Scratchers

This week Jim Hummel reviews hundreds of bills filed in this year’s General Assembly session - so you won’t have to - going beyond the headlines to take a look at some head-scratchers. From one proposal that would allow killing migratory birds with a crossbow, to a law requiring auto dealers to disclose if a vehicle they’re selling has a spare tire. And an effort to get slow drivers out of Rhode Island’s high-speed lanes.


You’ll be hearing a lot in the coming months up here about a car tax phase-out and free college tuition for Rhode Island high school students. But this week:  after a mind-numbing review of hundreds of bills already filed at the General Assembly - we take a look at some proposed legislation that will leave you with no other option but to scratch your head.
After passing a law - yes a law - mandating at least 20 minutes of daily recess for all Rhode Island elementary school children, apparently the lawmakers’ work on the playground is not finished. This year a bill has been filed to allow students to bring sunscreen to school. There’s no word on what SPF they’re supposed to use. Maybe they’ll save that SPF level - maybe they’ll save that for next year.
Some more good news for Rhode Island school students. Remember that winter a couple of years ago when you were bumping up against July trying to make up snow days? If one bills goes through students wouldn’t have to make up any snow days - when the governor declares a state of emergency. That’s a lot of pressure on Gov. Raimondo - not only to pay state workers double time - but from two students who happen to live under her own roof.
A freshman representative - who just happens to work as a waitress- has filed a bill that increase the tipped minimum wage - repeatedly - until it reaches 2/3 of the regular minimum wage. That’s not a conflict of interest, is it?
Last year the legislature passed a bill outlawing the Rhode Island Slide - you know, pulling up into the intersection while waiting to make a turn. Some call it Don’t Block the Box.
As if that isn’t bad enough, now they want to have drivers only use the high speed lane to pass someone. Now this may take more than a law - as most Rhode Islanders think it’s their constitutional right to drive slowly in the high speed lane, while other drivers whiz by them on the right.
Here’s one to ponder: A bill that would legalize killing migratory birds with a…..crossbow. Not a trap, snare, net, spring, rifle, pistol, fishhook, poison, drug, explosive or stupefying substance - all outlined in current state law.  But a crossbow would be just fine. Even more baffling: it was introduced by a rep from North Providence.
A bill filed last month would require dealers to disclose whether a vehicle being sold has….a spare tire, with a $100 fine for nondisclosure. This has the whiff of some lawmaker going to change a flat tire only to find the spare, isn’t there.
Then there’s a perennial bill that never gets any traction up here:  it would prohibit all lobbyists from making any political contributions to members of the General Assembly while it’s in session. With all due respect to our good government groups - that’s just not the way things work around here. But nice try.

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