Spotlight on the Statehouse: March 14, 2013

City & State Editor
Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kelsey Smith

The House Corporations Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the Kelsey Smith Act, a piece of legislation that would require telecommunications companies provide law enforcement officials information about the location of an individual who has been abducted if calls placed to or from the individual’s phone make the information available.

The bill is named in honor of Kelsey Smith, an 18-year-old woman who was abducted and murdered in Kansas. Authorities “were able to locate Kelsey’s body because her wireless provider released the ‘ping’ or ‘call location’ information from her cell phone,” according to the release.

Several other states have enacted similar laws, in part because federal law does not require telecommunications carriers to provide information that could help locate abductees.



Sen. Frank Lombardi, D-Cranston, introduced legislation in the House March 11 that would reduce the corporate tax burden on businesses owned by disabled veterans.

The bill would “waive corporate filing fees and the business corporations tax for those corporations whose majority owners are veterans who have a service-connected disability,” according to a state press release.

“I have nothing but respect for individuals who keep their businesses running despite all the financial pressures they face,” Lombardi said in the press release. “I have even more respect for former members of the military who have been disabled as a part of their service and who still put their heart and soul into running a business in our state.”

The Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing on the bill Wednesday.

Rep. Stephen Ucci, D-Johnston, Cranston, has introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives. It is currently before the House Committee on Finance.


Declawing pets

The Senate passed legislation Wednesday that prohibits landlords and superintendents from requiring tenants to have their pets declawed or ‘devocalized.’ The House Judiciary Committee is now deliberating on an identical bill.

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, D-Providence and North Providence, said these procedures can be inhumane and threaten the pet’s safety, according to a state press release.

‘Devocalized’ animals undergo a surgical procedure to have their vocal chords cut. The procedure is usually done to reduce the volume of a dog’s bark.

Declawing can entail “full amputation of the last knuckle of each of a cat’s toes, often involving cutting through the animal’s ligaments, nerves, skin and blood vessels,” according to a press release.

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