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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island General Assembly wrapped up its legislative session overnight, following the usual mad dash to get bills passed before summer break.
By the time it all came to an end around 1:30 a.m. Friday, lawmakers had approved a number of measures, the most prominent being the $14 billion state budget.
Just a few hours later, legislative leaders gathered on the State House steps to celebrate Gov. Dan McKee signing the spending plan into law — as well as his 72nd birthday, complete with a cake.
Some of the other bills that were passed include allowing online gaming (or iGaming) through Bally’s Twin River Casino, giving advertising rights to marijuana shops, and banning Styrofoam food containers at restaurants.
Some high-profile measures didn’t make the cut, however, like a ban on assault-style weapons, a bill to make it easier to build in-law apartments, and another that would reform the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR). House Speaker Joe Shekarchi said LEOBOR reform will likely get taken up early in the next session, which starts in January.
“I support the concept of reform,” he said. “That needs to be done in public hearings and have all stakeholders be involved in that decision-making process.”
“Those issues take sometimes two or three sessions to go through a public vetting process and input,” Shekarchi added.
Now it’s up to the governor to review all the remaining bills with his policy staff. Once one reaches his desk, he has seven consecutive days to sign or veto it.
McKee said he expects to sign “most of the stuff that’s been passed, if not all of it.”
“Our policy guys are really hard at work and I will be meeting with them to go over each and ever bill to give it the attention it deserves,” he said.
Watch the full budget signing below.
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