Successful session for Rep. Diaz sees passage of opioid education, custody reform, All Students Count Act
STATE HOUSE — Expressing gratitude to her lawmaking colleagues, Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence) is lauding the legislation passed by the General Assembly this session, including bills that she introduced, which have all been signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo.
“It is gratifying to see that my legislative colleagues saw fit to enact the bills I introduced that I considered so important,” said Representative Diaz. “From a child custody law to one requiring doctors to discuss opioid addiction with their patients, I feel we have passed a diverse array of important legislation this year.”
In particular, Representative Diaz was gratified that the legislature passed a bill (2017-H 6307) she introduced that requires physicians to discuss the potential of addiction with patients before prescribing opioids.
“This law will go a long way toward easing the epidemic of opioid addiction,” said Representative Diaz. “Many people become addicted to opioids that were legitimately prescribed. That, coupled with the expense, has made this a major health crisis. The total annual costs associated with prescription opioid abuse was estimated at $55 billion in a study published in Pain Medicine in 2011.”
The General Assembly also passed the All Students Count Act (2017-H 5453A), which requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to use separate collection categories and tabulations for specified Asian ethnic groups in every demographic report on ancestry or ethnic origins of residents.
“Asians have largely been an ignored ethnic group,” said Representative Diaz. “While we have many laws and regulations requiring data collection, including educational proficiencies, graduation rates, attendance rates, and access to educational resources for certain ethnic groups, this new law will now include data collection for Asians, including Cambodian, Filipino, Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese, and other Southeast Asian ethnic groups.”
The legislature also passed Representative Diaz’s legislation (2017-H 5553) that allows the family court to consider the incarceration of an individual for the purposes of a motion to modify a child support order, but provides that such incarceration may not be considered by the court as “voluntary unemployment.”
“Obviously, when determining a custody dispute, the court should certainly consider whether a parent is incarcerated,” said Representative Diaz. “But to label that incarceration as ‘voluntary unemployment’ for purposes of court proceedings is not only unjust, it’s absurd.”
Representative Diaz also cosponsored other bills which became law this session, including the Rhode Island’s Children Crusade for Higher Education Act (2017-H 5683), which establishes the College Crusade of Rhode Island, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered with the Rhode Island secretary of state, as the entity that will administer and operate all program services and manage scholarship resources, and a law (2017-H 6141A) that gives the Department of Labor and Training the jurisdiction to review claims alleging that employers had improperly inquired about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903