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Spotlight on the Statehouse: Jan. 27, 2016

Building up Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo has approved over $9 million in tax credits and grants to incentivize construction in Rhode Island and support the state’s research and development efforts, according to a Tuesday press release.

“These programs are working together to put shovels in the ground, reenergize vacant developments and bring more high-skill, high-wage jobs to our state,” Raimondo said in the release.

The program comes as a saving grace to several developers in Providence, including the Procaccianti Group, which has proposed the development of an upscale 154-room hotel on the current site of the Fogarty Building, which has been abandoned since 2003. This project would play a vital role in the development of Providence’s downtown, Mayor Jorge Elorza said in the release.

Assisting opioid addicts

More than 215 health care providers came together Jan. 23 to learn how to treat opioid use disorders. The training session is a vital component of Raimando’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, which was created to combat Rhode Island’s “overdose crisis,” according to a Friday press release from the State House.

The physicians, nurse practitioners and dentists who completed training will be able to administer medication-assisted treatment for patients with opioid use disorders. The treatment entails both cognitive behavioral techniques and buprenorphrine.

The event was co-sponsored by the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.

“Right now we have approximately 150 prescribers who can provide medication-assisted treatment,” said Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of RIDOH. “We need that number to be closer to 750.”

This event preceded legislation approved by the House and Senate Tuesday that would ensure that legal action could not be taken against a person seeking medical treatment for someone experiencing an opioid overdose. Raimondo is expected to sign the bill into law today.

Sparking growth

Despite General Electric’s choice to move its headquarters to Boston instead of Rhode Island, Raimondo said she is “still very much in talks with them” about bringing certain jobs to Rhode Island, the Providence Journal reported Tuesday.

In July, Raimondo travelled to Fairfield, Conn. to meet with executives from the company and convince them to move their business operations to the Ocean State. Yet her incentives package — which would have offered over $100 million to the company — was not competitive enough to sway the company to Rhode Island.


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