José F. Batista (D) was first elected on November 3, 2020, to represent the people of District 12 in Providence's South Side and Washington Park neighborhoods. He serves as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Municipal Government & Housing Committee, and the House Oversight Committee.
In his first year in office in 2021, Representative Batista introduced landmark legislation to fundamentally reform the criminal justice system in Rhode Island, including bills to reform policing, decriminalize the possession of drugs and begin to undo policies that have helped cause the current and national mass incarceration crisis.
In his first term, Representative Batista was the sponsor of a new law establishing a statewide program for police body cameras and a law that helps ensure workers in the construction industry have access to paid sick time.
Born April 15, 1988, and a life-long resident of South Providence, Representative Batista is the oldest of six children of immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. He attended Providence Public Schools from K-12 and graduated from Classical High School in 2006, Bryant University in 2011 and Roger Williams University School of Law in 2014. He has served as an adjunct professor at Bryant University since 2019 and at RWU Law since 2022.
Representative Batista began his legal career at the Rhode Island Public Defender, where he represented thousands of indigent Rhode Islanders. His experience as a public defender inspired him to open a solo law practice in South Providence in 2016, where he continues to practice today and specializes in providing bilingual legal representation to members of his community. He also serves as assistant city solicitor for the City of Central Falls and leads its Nuisance Property Task Force, which is dedicated to crafting community-oriented solutions for nuisance properties.
Representative Batista graduated as a member of the Rho II class of Leadership Rhode Island in 2021.