Charlene M. Lima (D) represents District 14 in Cranston and Providence. First elected in November 1992, Representative Lima is a member of the House Small Business Committee.
In 2022, Representative Lima introduced a bill that
creates custody procedures for pets in divorce cases, citing that that in a divorce proceeding, pets were often viewed as property and used as leverage over the other party without regard to the pet’s well-being. She also introduced legislation which would provide that
any person 18 years of age or older may possess a stun gun and provide that those persons who are issued a license to carry a firearm may also carry a stun gun.
During the 2021 session, Representative Lima sponsored the new law that strengthens the Deceptive Trade Practices Act by restoring the power of the attorney general to step in and enforce violations of the Act. Previous court interpretations of the old legislation exempted almost all businesses and transactions from the reach of the statute, and tied the attorney general's hands when it came to helping consumers. She also sponsored legislation which reduces procedural delays that could hold up the permitting process for development.
Representative Lima has introduced and passed into law legislation dealing with raising the minimum raise; mandating the release of all Grand Jury testimony involving the 38 Studios scandal; banning gas chambers for euthanizing shelter animals and using lethal injection only; mandating that research animals must be offered for adoption after research is finished; proration of homestead tax exemptions; sexual offender and community notification when staying at neighborhood housing shelters; “don’t block the box” law pertaining to blocking intersections; authorizing the city of Cranston to issue not more than $20,000,000 general obligation bonds and temporary notes for the construction, renovation, rehabilitation, repair, improvement, and landscaping of roads, sidewalks, and drainage facilities, and $900,000 for an Arlington Library Branch; grants for Cranston Police motorcycles; allowing dogs in outdoor dining areas if the restaurant permits; and many more.
She has also been recognized with the Fogarty Award for supporting programs to help disabled Rhode Islanders, the ATAP legislative award for her law to improve phone services for disabled Rhode Islanders, the National Federation of the Blind Distinguished Service Award for her law helping disabled citizens, a Defenders of Animal Award, a National Humane Society of the United States award for Legislator of the Year, the Attorney General’s Justice Award for Consumer Protection, and the Public Service Award from the RI Health Care Association.
Representative Lima has a long history of public service. In the past, she has served on the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Juvenile Justice Task Force, the Secretary of the State's Panel for Election Law Reform, and the District Representative Committee.
A retired educator, she taught for the Providence School Department and was also a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the Providence Teacher’s Union. She has also been involved with the Rhode Island Society to Prevent Blindness and the Women’s Auxiliary of the St. Mary’s Feast Society.
Representative Lima was born on August 18, 1953, and is married to Frank Fiorenzano. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1975, following her graduation from Classical High School in Providence in 1971.