Patricia A. Serpa (D) has represented District 27 in West Warwick and Coventry since first being elected in 2006. She is the chair of the House Oversight Committee and the second vice chair of the House Rules Committee. She also serves as a member of the House Conduct Committee and the House Corporations Committee.
As chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight since May 2016, Representative Serpa has continuously investigated several prominent failures within multiple state agencies, including the botched rollout of the Unified Health Infrastructure (UHIP) project. Under Representative Serpa’s leadership, the committee has heard testimony on the UHIP computer system failures from public officials, nursing home and child care administrators, and citizens affected by the rollout.
Most recently, in 2022, she led several meetings investigating the current state of Rhode Island’s behavioral health system. She has also led the charge for answers on topics of public importance such as the deaths and near-deaths of several children under the care of the Department of Children, Youth and Families in the wake of a report by the child advocate.
Representative Serpa’s probe of the Division of Taxation, which revealed rampant delays in tax refunds in 2016, led to sweeping changes in the Department of Revenue to rectify the problem the following year.
The committee’s investigation of the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative led to DCYF cutting off ties with the organization. The report uncovered drug and alcohol abuse and violence by residents, the use of banned aversion therapy, and that the cooperative neglected to monitor residents and provided false documents.
During the most recent session, she sponsored a new law that overhauls and reforms the state’s
purchasing policies and processes. In 2021, she sponsored a law
to give compensation to innocent people who have spent time behind bars but were later released when new evidence shows they were not guilty. She also sponsored a new law that
prohibits the use of a school district's listserv to distribute any political advertisement, invitation, and/or propaganda.
In 2020, she sponsored a law that
prohibits the manufacturing, transfer, purchase or possessing of any plastic, fiberglass or 3-D printed gun, as well as “ghost guns,” untraceable guns and undetectable guns.
In 2017, Representative Serpa successfully sponsored legislation that
mandates insurance coverage for medically necessary fertility services when a medical treatment may cause iatrogenic infertility.
Representative Serpa spent six years on the West Warwick School Committee from 2000 to 2006. She is an associate member of the West Warwick Democratic Town Committee and is involved with the Sons of Italy, Vince Lombardi Lodge, Defenders of Animals and the West Warwick Lions Club.
A retired public school educator and admissions officer, she holds a master’s degree in education from Providence College after earning her bachelor’s degree in the same study at Mount St. Joseph College. She lives in West Warwick.