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6/26/2023 Rep. Boylan celebrates successes from first year as legislator
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Jennifer Boylan is celebrating the successes of her first year as a legislator and looking forward to continuing her work in the future.

“From supporting kids to helping small businesses to expanding abortion access to protecting our environment, we made tremendous progress this year,” said Representative Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence). “It was a true team effort, and I’m grateful to my colleagues in the House, Speaker Shekarchi and my constituents for entrusting me to do this work.”

Representative Boylan, a long-time advocate for firearm safety, sponsored the creation of a new commission (2023-H 6422) to study school lockdowns, fire drills and the associated mental health impacts on students. The commission will meet in the fall and will bring together 20 experts and stakeholders from across the state to answer complex questions such as whether and when students should be encouraged to evacuate during lockdown events, whether advanced notice should be provided to students and/or parents prior to a lockdown drill and whether the frequency of drills should be changed.

“As parents, we know these lockdowns are having an impact on our students’ mental health,” said Representative Boylan. “With this commission, we will finally get our arms around what’s going on and what we can be doing better.”

She also sponsored successful legislation (2023-H 5055A) that will encourage greater youth participation in the electoral process. The law permits a 17-year-old to vote in a primary election as long as they are registered to vote and will be 18 by the time of the general election.

Representative Boylan also cosponsored legislation (2023-H 5006) to expand abortion coverage. That bill, known as the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, extends abortion coverage to individuals on Medicaid and state employee health insurance.

Three other laws Representative Boylan supported will also improve women’s health in Rhode Island. One bill (2023-H 5426A) sponsored by Rep. June Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), enshrines all of the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act into Rhode Island State law. That ensures preventative care and contraception will continue to be free for patients, regardless of what happens on the federal level. A second bill (2023-H 5283A), sponsored by Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), requires insurers to provide coverage for any additional screenings deemed medically necessary to detect breast cancer for any person who has dense breast tissue. A third bill (2023-H 5282Aaa), sponsored by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), allows pharmacists to prescribe many hormonal contraceptives, helping women access birth control even if they can’t find a primary care provider.

On the subject of small businesses, Rep. Boylan was a strong supporter of a law (2023-H 6333) sponsored by Rep. Brandon T. Voas (D-Dist. 57 Cumberland, Central Falls) to cut taxes for small businesses by exempting the first $50,000 of tangible property from the tangible property tax. That law completely wipes out the tangible tax for 75% of Rhode Island businesses.

Representative Boylan had introduced similar legislation (2023-H 5947) and was proud to support Representative Voas’ bill.

The session also saw significant wins for the environment, including full funding for the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4), the agency tasked with implementing the Act on Climate. Representative Boylan also strongly supported a law (2023-H 5090A) sponsored by Rep. David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston), that bans restaurants from using polystyrene foam, commonly called Styrofoam, for food packaging or preparation. And the state moved one step closer to having a bottle bill with the establishment of a joint legislative commission (2023-H 5502A), Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett), to study how to best reduce plastic litter and waste.

Representative Boylan was the number two sponsor of a bill (2023-H 5853A) by Rep. June Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol) that will shape the future of solar power in Rhode Island by expanding solar development while protecting forests and rate payers.

She helped push forward conversations about the future of energy-efficient buildings with a bill (2023-H 5851) that would require most new construction, including buildings and parking lots, to include solar panels. While that bill did not pass this year, a bill (2023-H 5159aa), sponsored by Rep. Michelle E. McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton),  to expand electric car charging infrastructure did pass., which Representative Boylan strongly supported.

On the subject of firearm safety, Representative Boylan says, there is much more work to do.

She had introduced three bills (2023-H 5894, 2023-H 5892, 2023-H 5893) that would have required a blue card for long gun purchases, added trigger lock requirements for long gun purchases and prohibited the purchasing of more than one gun in a 30-day period. She also cosponsored a bill (2023-H  5300) sponsored by Rep. Jason Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren) that would have banned assault weapons and a bill (2023-H 5434) sponsored by Rep. Justine A. Caldwell (D-Dist. 30, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) that would have required safe storage of firearms.

None of these bills passed this year, but Representative Boylan is committed to continuing the push next session.

“Firearms are the leading cause of death of children in this country, and it is absolutely crucial that we act,” said Representative Boylan. “Every single Rhode Islander, young and old, in Rhode Island’s urban, suburban or rural communities, deserves to be safe from gun violence, and I am committed to making progress on this issue next year.”

For more information, contact:
Fil Eden, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903