Making Democracy Work

Current Priorities

The Issues the LWVRI is Emphasizing in 2019

The Legislative year in Rhode Island begins in January. Each year, the League chooses certain issues of focus for the year. During the course of the legislative session, other unexpected issues may arise that are not on the priority list, but do require League action.

Although an issue may not be on the priority list, the League continues to follow issues related to the League positions and principles. If you are interested in an issue that is not listed on the priority list, contact the LWVRI advocacy committee. The committee is always looking for members who have a particular interest and may be interested in following that issue locally, statewide, or nationwide. Contact or sign up for our action alert mailing list.

Setting our Legistlative Priorities

The League sets priorities for timely action on local positions before taking action.

How Priorities are Set

When setting priorities, the League considers the following:

  • Does the League have a unique role to play or would the League's assets (time and money) be better spent on other activities?
  • Does the issue conform to League principles or positions?
  • Does the issue have some chance of success or make an important statement for the League?
  • Are other organizations or a coalition already working on the issue?

Priorities for 2020

COMING SOON 2020 Priorities will be set before the start of the 2020 Session

Women's Health

Women's Health and Reproductive Rights

The Issue: The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island (LWVRI) is considering important health care related issues in the current legislative session. These include advocating for reproductive rights, and opposing efforts to prevent access to abortion, guaranteed under the Constitution by Roe v Wade, and perennially introduced bills such as "fetal protection," and recognizing a fetus as "a human life upon conception."

The League Position: The League is committed to Reproductive Health Rights for Women. The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) believes that public policy in a pluralistic society must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices. Position of Reproductive Choices (January 1983). This position is the basis of our support of the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2019, which would prohibit the state from interfering with a woman's decision to either carry to term or terminate her pregnancy. The act would codify into Rhode Island law Roe v. Wade and other related federal legislation. The LWVUS believes that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents. Other U.S. health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services, efficient and economical delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level for health care. (Visit the LWVUS website to read the full positions.)

Action: The LWVRI is working with the RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (RICRF) to address issues concerning women's reproductive health. Read a full list of the current bills and keep up to date on the issue on the LWVRI Blog The League in Action, the best place for updated information. To track bills that have been introduced, go to the Legislation Section of the RI State website. Select Bill Status/History and insert the bill number. You can also find the Bill Text and Daily Introductions, which lists what is being introduced.

Legislators are most liable to listen to their own constituents. If your legislators are on the committees considering the proposed legislation, or if they are sponsors of the bills, it would be especially helpful if you would contact them. Identify yourself as their constituent and a League member to support the League positions on these bills.

Progress Review

Legislative Successes

The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island celebrates the passage of several important pieces of legislation 2017. The League, along with our coalition partners, lobbied hard to increase voter participation, to improve government transparency, and to protect women and families. Citizens have a duty to vote, but many are not registered. This year's bill will make it easier to register to vote by allowing registration when signing up or making changes to drivers' licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

A bill that will provide notice of public meetings at least 48 hours in advance, not including weekends and holidays, and will also provide for minutes of public meetings to be posted on the Secretary of State's website will allow citizens to keep track of decision-making.

Under women's issues, the uniform Act on the Prevention and Remedies for Human Trafficking was signed into law in 2017 by the Governor.

Finally, though not passed until October due to the early dismissal of the legislature in June, the Protect Rhode Island Families act, will prohibit possession of firearms upon issuance of a protective order by request of a person suffering from domestic abuse.