Brian Patrick Kennedy (D) represents District 38 in Hopkinton and Westerly. First elected in November 1988, Representative Kennedy is the senior ranking member of the House of Representatives. He is Speaker Pro Tempore and the former long-time chairman of the House Corporations Committee, of which he is still a member. He also serves on the House Innovation, Internet and Technology Committee, the House Rules Committee and the House State Government and Elections Committee. He also is a member of the Permanent Joint Committee on State Lottery and the Joint Defense Economy Planning Commission.
In August 2022, Speaker Pro Tempore Kennedy was elected president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization serving the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and legislative staff. He had spent the previous year as NCSL vice president, and he will be inaugurated NCSL president at the 2023 Legislative Summit in Indianapolis. He is the first Rhode Island official to hold these positions.
He sponsored a new law during the 2021 session that limits insured patients’
copays for insulin used to treat diabetes to $40 for a 30-day supply.
During the 2018 session, Representative Kennedy introduced a law that tightens the regulatory controls on
automobile airbags, comprehensively expanding their registration to prohibit the manufacture and importation of substandard airbags. He also sponsored a pro-business law to make things easier for
food truck owners. The new law standardizes the business registration process for trucks or carts that sell food, ice cream or lemonade by creating a state mobile food establishment registration, and explicitly exempts such establishments from laws regulating hawkers and peddlers.
In 2017, he introduced an
elderly-protection law that provides persons under limited guardianship with rights designed to protect them from mental, physical and financial abuse by guardians. He also successfully sponsored consumer-protection legislation that criminalizes residential mortgage fraud.
A strong advocate of business and consumer protections, he introduced legislation in 2016 that
prohibits patent trolls, which prevents a person or company from making bad faith assertions of patent infringement against a Rhode Island business or individual. He also sponsored legislation that prevents unintentional lapses in insurance coverage by requiring insurers to offer a designation of an alternate contact.
Representative Kennedy sits on a number of local boards, including the South County Tourism Council and Westerly Hospital. He is also involved with a variety of organizations, including as a member of the Executive Committees of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators. He is also a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, the Insurance Legislators Foundation, National Association of Realtors and R.I. Association of Realtors.
Representative Kennedy, an estate broker and appraiser for Kennedy Realty Appraisal, has a master’s degree in business administration from Anna Maria College in 1987. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Providence College in 1983. He is a member of Chariho Regional High School’s Class of 1979. He was born on January 3, 1961.