PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha issued the statement below after the passage of five bills in the Rhode Island Senate following a floor vote on Tuesday evening:
"The work of this Office covers a broad spectrum of issues that affect Rhode Islanders every day. As we have advanced that work over the first two-plus years of this administration, it has become evident that some of our state's laws must be updated and enhanced to provide this Office with the tools necessary to protect Rhode Islanders and fight on their behalf.
"I applaud the Rhode Island Senate for having done just that tonight by taking the action in the areas of criminal justice reform, civil rights, and consumer protection through the passage of these five important bills."
Attorney General supported bills:
• S 188A, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, reclassifies the crime simple drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.
• S 503, sponsored by Senator Dawn Euer, eliminates the $100 fee to effectuate an order for expungement of a criminal record under state law granted by the court.
• S 684, sponsored by Senator Stephen Archambault, bolsters the state's consumer protection law to better protect Rhode Islanders.
• S 729, sponsored by Senator Ana Quezada, improves the state's civil rights statute by expanding the classes of persons protected under it and expands the Office's ability to seek relief for Rhode Islanders under it.
• S 803, sponsored by Senator Stephen Archambault, strengthens the state's Hate Crimes Sentencing Act by expanding the classes of persons protected under it and clarifying that the sentencing enhancement may be sought in mixed motive cases.