Anastasia P. Williams (D) represents District 9 in Providence. She has served her district since first being elected in November 1992. She is the chair of the House Labor Committee and is also a member of the House Municipal Government and Housing Committee, the House Oversight Committee and the House Rules Committee. She is also a member of the RI Black & Latino Caucus.
In 2020, Representative Williams was the prime sponsor of legislation that allowed the voters of the state to decide whether or not to change Rhode Island’s official state name, removing the word “plantations” due to its historical association with slavery. The measure was passed by the voters in the November 2020 election.
She also sponsored legislation to amend the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights to provide greater accountability in the disciplinary process over law enforcement officers. Legislation which provides that past criminal misdemeanors and felonies for possession of marijuana not be used against a person from entering the cannabis industry or any government assistance programs was also sponsored by Representative Williams.
During the 2019 legislative session, Chairwoman Williams sponsored legislation that codifies in state law the privacy rights and reproductive freedoms guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court in the case Roe v. Wade and its progeny. The bill was signed into law by the governor. She also sponsored a law, one which she had introduced for several years, which now exempts natural hair braiders from the requirement to be licensed as hairdressers or cosmeticians.
Representative Williams also sponsored a successful bill in 2019 that provides that any minority business enterprise certified by the Federal Small Business Act shall be deemed certified by the Department of Administration as a minority business enterprise.
In 2018, she was a strong advocate for successful legislation which amended the state’s law on speed cameras in school zones by providing proper notice and fairer violation fines for motorists.
Representative Williams is a coordinator at First Source Providence. She has been involved in a number of organizations and causes, including United Way, Joslyn and Hartford Community centers, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, Providence Community Action, Olneyville Housing Corporation and Providence Head Start.
A graduate of Bishop Keough Regional High School, she attended Roger Williams University. She was born on May 6, 1957 and has five children: Lisa, Dionne, Jonnathan, Eddy and Hev’n.