Long time transportation activist Barry Schiller sums up a disappointing legislative session. Thanks to all who wrote letters, spoke at hearings or provided other support for our legislative agenda this year. We will be right back at it in January!
The RI General Assembly ended its 2022 session which was disappointing for bicycle advocates, as none of the bills RI Bike was promoting was passed.
The bill to establish rules and rights of for electric bikes, H7839, actually did pass the state’s House of Representatives on June 3, but despite an appeal to the Senate Judiciary Chair (where it was sent) and to Senate President Ruggerio, the Senate never even gave it a hearing or consideration. But we thank Rep Rebecca Kislak for sponsoring and working for the bill. She also sponsored H7899, a bike safety bill that House Judiciary let die.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also refused to act on bill H7810, backed by the Attorney General, that would crack down on repeat drunk drivers even though it passed the House.
Also stuck in committees were bills H6634, S2286 to exempt bicycles from the sales tax (as are planes and boats) but we thank the sponsors Rep Arthur Handy and Sen Alana DiMario respectively.
DEM’s “green bond” proposal, incorporated into the budget, again left out bicycle infrastructure, even as the climate crisis worsens and RIDOT has largely stalled the bike program. But the legislature rejected both efforts to add biking to the bond and bill H8113 to authorize a separate bond for bike projects, though again we thank its sponsor, Rep Teresa Tanzi.
Bike advocates have to remember its necessary to be in it for the long term, and RIBike will continue to work for better, safer bicycling.