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D - District 12
(401) 533-2226
205 Massachusetts Ave.
Providence, RI 02905

Representative José F. Batista

Member, House Judiciary Committee

Member, House Over​sight Committee

Member, House Municipal Government and Housing Committee


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.

Representative Batista has been a leader in advocating for criminal justice reform. He has introduced landmark legislation to fundamentally reform the criminal justice system in Rhode Island, including bills to reform policing, shift the focus of drug laws from criminalization to treatment, and begin to undo policies that have helped cause the current and national mass incarceration crisis. In his first term, Representative Batista sponsored Rhode Island’s law establishing a statewide program for police body cameras. In 2023, he introduced successful legislation modernizing the law allowing prisoners to save their earnings from work, and made those on parole, probation, or serving a suspended sentence eligible for jury service.

His work also includes efforts for economic and environmental justice, as well as fair, safe and affordable housing. He was the sponsor of a law that helps ensure workers in the construction industry have access to paid sick time, and sponsored one of the affordable housing bills enacted in 2023, streamlining appeals of comprehensive permits for affordable housing.

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 formerly served as assistant city solicitor for the City of Central Falls, where he led the 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.