December 8, 2017

FUNdraiser on Wednesday, December 13th!

New Rhode Island law to restrict e-cigarettes

A new law in Rhode Island goes into effect Jan. 1 that will place restrictions on e-cigarettes. The measure, passed in the special September session of the General Assembly, bans the uses of e-cigarettes at all school facilities, where traditional cigarettes have been banned for years. "It's responding to modern technology, I would have loved to have done this four or five years ago when the devices first came out. To me it’s a public health issue," said state Rep. Teresa Tanzi, the sponsor of the House version of the bill. The new law will also require that the liquids used in electronic nicotine delivery devices, which often come in different colors and flavors, be sold in child-proof containers. "A child who comes across a vile, an attractive tiny vile, filled with pink liquid, bubble gum flavor could potentially be lethal," said Tanzi. A report recently released by Rhode Island Kids Count indicates that in 2015, 19 percent of high school students and 7.5 percent of middle school students had reported using an e-cigarette at the same time traditional cigarette use was at an all-time low for those age groups. Tanzi told NBC 10 News that she plans to reintroduce legislation next session that would amend Rhode Island’s current smoke-free workplace law to include e-cigarettes.

November 17, 2017

Rep. Tanzi honored by Hospital Association of Rhode Island for legislative efforts

The Hospital Association of Rhode Island honored Rep. Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) with the Francis R. Dietz Award for Public Service at the organization’s annual meeting Thursday morning.

Both Representative Tanzi and Senator Sosnowski have been strong advocates for hospitals and health care in the General Assembly. Most recently they introduced legislation (2017-S 0577Aaa2017-H 5840A) that significantly reduces the regulatory burden experienced by physician practices that are acquired by hospitals. The bill allows physician practices to maintain their current license standards, even if a hospital system owns the practice. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo on July 19.

“I am honored to have been invited to accept this award, and particularly humbled because it is from the Hospital Association of Rhode Island,” said Senator Sosnowski. “The Association does vitally important work in healthcare advocacy, representation, and education, and I am so grateful to be recognized by this organization.”

“I feel lucky to have worked with the Hospital Association of Rhode Island in addressing the health care needs of all Rhode Islanders,” said Representative Tanzi. “From mental health and substance abuse treatment reform to facing the realities of federal changes to health insurance, I look forward to continuing to fight for Rhode Island Hospitals.”

November 1, 2017

Tanzi delivers grant to A Community Together

Rep. Teresa Tanzi has secured a $1,000 legislative grant for A Community Together of Wakefield.

A Community Together is a new non-profit organization that coordinates affordable aging-in-place services for older adults by utilizing community agencies, volunteers technology and paid services. The grant is being used to cover the costs of setting up a web-based platform to track members’ and volunteers’ information, requests, services and donations, and create a website. It will also cover the first year of operating that system.

“This grant will provide the opportunity for the organization to serve our neighbors in South Kingstown and Narragansett as they age in place,” said Beth Leconte, chair of the organization’s steering committee.

“I greatly appreciate the work A Community Together will be doing for the people of South Kingstown and Narragansett. Every community should be lucky enough to have such an innovative and dedicated organization helping to connect older adults to all the services and volunteers that are available to help make it possible for them to remain living in their homes. A Community Together is making terrific contributions to the fabric of our community, connecting neighbors to neighbors and enabling longtime residents to continue being part of their neighborhoods,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

For more information about A Community Together, visit or e-mail

October 30, 2017

Domestic violence gun safety legislation signed by governor

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Teresa Tanzi and Sen. Harold M. Metts to protect victims of domestic violence by disarming their abusers was signed by Governor Raimondo at a ceremonial bill signing today held in the State Room of the State House.

The Protect Rhode Island Families Act (2017-H 5510Baa2017-S 0405Aaa), which passed the General Assembly Sept. 19, will prohibit gun possession by domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and those subject to court-issued final protective orders, and ensure that all those subject to the prohibition actually turn in their guns when they become prohibited from possessing them.

“At last, victims of domestic abuse in Rhode Island will not have the constant fear of knowing that the person who abused them still has a gun. We’ve heard countless stories from victims about flagrant threats and ceaseless fear. And we know that the presence of a gun greatly increases the chances of a domestic violence victim being murdered. We’ve worked very hard to get to this point, and the reward will be greater safety for Rhode Island families,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

The law developed to its current form through intense negotiations over the course of the three years since it was first introduced, and was the subject of strong public campaigns both for and against it.

“This bill will save the lives of people who have already been through too much, and I’m very proud of that. I’m also very proud of the way advocates from opposing interests came to the table and worked together so constructively to help make a bill something that we all can support. This was a great example of how the democratic process and compromise are supposed to work for the benefit of our citizens. While no one got everything they would like, I will say that everyone agreed that victims of domestic violence should not have to live under legitimate fear for their lives, and we’ve cooperated to come up with a bill that greatly improves their protection while addressing Second Amendment concerns,” said Senator Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence).

Under previous state law, abusers convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes and those subject to final restraining orders were not always prohibited from possessing guns nor were they always required to actually surrender the firearms they already possess once they became prohibited. Federal law already prohibits most of those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from owning guns, but Rhode Island did not have a mechanism for ensuring that they actually turn them in.

The new law closes these loopholes by requiring that abusers are prohibited from possessing guns under state law and are required to turn in their guns swiftly once they become prohibited from possessing them.

Under it, those convicted or pleading to a crime of domestic violence have 24 hours to turn in any guns they possess. The act applies to domestic violence crimes including assault, cyberstalking and cyberharrassment, violation of a protective order and disorderly conduct if the criminal act involves the use or attempted use of force or the threatened use of a dangerous weapon. Similar laws prohibiting gun possession by those convicted of misdemeanor domestic abusers exist in 27 states plus Washington, D.C., including Alabama, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

Those subject to a protective order must surrender any guns they own within 24 hours of receiving notice of the hearing. At the hearing, which must be within 15 days under the amendment, the court may choose to maintain the prohibition, or to immediately return any firearms that were surrendered. The subject of the prohibition must show clear and convincing evidence that his or her firearm ownership is not a threat to the alleged victim’s safety in order for any gun to be returned.
Once a prohibited individual has completed his or her sentence, or the protective order has been lifted, he or she would be able to recover the surrendered firearms.

Those prohibited from gun possession under the new law may give their guns to someone other than police or a licensed gun dealer, as long as the person is not a relative and does not live in the same household as the prohibited individual. The guns must first be transferred to a licensed firearms dealer, who would ensure that the third party can legally possess firearms.

According to research by Everytown for Gun Safety, under the previous law, only five percent of domestic abusers under a final protection from abuse order in Rhode Island were required to turn in their guns. Even in cases when the restrained party’s record indicated a firearms threat, surrender was ordered only 13 percent of the time.

When a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, the woman is five times more likely to be killed, According to Everytown. Guns are the preferred weapon of intimate partner homicides. Between 1990 and 2005, more intimate partner homicides in the United State were committed with guns than all other weapons combined. Between 1980 and 2016, 232 Rhode Islanders died as a result of domestic violence, and 48 percent of them were killed with guns.

October 20, 2017

This week on Newsmakers: Rep. Teresa Tanzi, D-South Kingstown, discusses her headline-grabbing allegation of sexual-harassment at the State House.

October 6, 2017

New law requires child-proof packaging for e-cig liquid, prohibits use on school property

STATE HOUSE – A new law approved by the General Assembly Sept. 19 and signed into law yesterday requires child-resistant packaging for e-liquid used in electronic nicotine-delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, and bans e-cigarette use on school grounds. The legislation (2017-H 5876A, 2017-S 0402A), sponsored by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Teresa Tanzi on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, takes effect Jan. 1. “It is unfortunate enough that e-liquids are being marketed in flavors and bright colors that are obviously intended to tempt young people and children. At the bare minimum, they should be sold in child-proof containers to keep their toxic contents out of the mouths of small children who think they look like candy or juice. This is a standard requirement for over-the-counter drugs, and we should hold e-liquid to at least the same standard to protect kids,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). E-liquids contain nicotine in its purest form mixed with flavoring, coloring, and assorted chemicals, and can be extremely dangerous especially for children who may be attracted to them by their color and sweet, candy-like smell. The new law requires all liquid “intended for human consumption and/or use in an electronic nicotine-delivery system” to be contained in child-resistant packaging, which means packaging that is designed to be significantly difficult for children under 5 to open or obtain a harmful amount of the substance inside within a reasonable time. While a federal law requiring childproof packaging for e-liquid took effect last year, a state law addressing the issue would enable the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals to enforce violations by licensed distributors. States across the country, including Massachusetts, New York and Vermont, require e-cigarette and vaping liquids to be packaged in child-resistant packaging. The new law also adds electronic nicotine delivery systems to the statute that bans tobacco use on school property, to ensure that the state law banning smoking on school property includes e-cigarettes and vaping. “E-cigarettes are, quite simply, just another way to consume nicotine, and unfortunately, it is a method that has particular appeal to kids because it offers enticing flavors. We banned cigarettes on school property decades ago, and we should not leave an opening for e-cigarettes, or it would send kids a message that they are safe to use. They aren’t, and they don’t belong on school property,” said Senate President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). Said Attorney General Kilmartin, “The popularity and use of e-cigarettes and vaping products continues to rise. While the jury is still out on the health effects of e-cigarettes versus the known health problems caused by traditional nicotine products, we can all agree that these products should be kept out of the hands of children. Most troubling is that these products – especially e-liquids – come in a variety of enticing flavors, such as candy crush and gummy bear, which appeal to children. There is currently no such regulation on this toxic product with respect to child-resistant packaging.” According to the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, nicotine is an acute toxin and exposure by swallowing or contact with the skin can result in nausea, vomiting, respiratory arrest, seizure and even death. The Centers for Disease Control report a dramatic increase in the number of calls related to e-cigarette liquid exposure, especially among children. According to a study released by the CDC in April 2014, the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014. More than half (51.1 percent) of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children under the age of five.

March 30, 2017

Rep. Tanzi introduces legislation that would raise tobacco purchase age to 21

Taking the next step in protecting Rhode Island residents from the harmful health effects of tobacco, Rep. Teresa Tanzi has introduced legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The legislation (2017-H 5820) would apply to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, and would take effect Jan. 1, 2018. If passed, Rhode Island would become the third state to adopt 21 as the minimum age for tobacco purchases, after Hawaii and California, which enacted the change in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Boston, New York City and 212 other municipalities across the country, including 80 in Massachusetts alone, have adopted local ordinances raising their tobacco purchase age to 21. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, tobacco use is started and established primarily during adolescence, and therefore preventing tobacco use among youth is critical to ending the tobacco epidemic in the United States, which is responsible for the deaths of 480,000 Americans annually. In Rhode Island, 1,800 adults die each year from their own smoking, and the state’s annual health care costs due to smoking are $639,604,224. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 80 percent of all adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18; and approximately 95 percent of all adult smokers began smoking before age 21. A report by the Institute of Medicine for the Food and Drug Administration estimated that raising the age of tobacco purchase to 21 nationwide would result in a 25-percent reduction in youth smoking initiation, a 12-percent reduction in smoking rates overall, and 16,000 fewer preterm or low birth weight births in the first five years of the policy. The report estimated that such a policy throughout the United States would prevent 4.2 million years of life lost to smoking in children alive today. In another study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that 75 percent of adults favor raising the tobacco age to 21, including 70 percent of smokers and 65 percent of those age 18 to 24. The bill’s sponsors point to success in reducing youth smoking in communities that adopt higher age restrictions, and the positive effect that less smoking would have on Rhode Islanders’ health as well as public and private health care costs. “Data tells us that 9 out of 10 adult smokers began smoking before age 21. Reducing youth access to tobacco products will lower tobacco addiction and reduce tobacco-related death and disease. Raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 will benefit the individual and society as a whole,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett), who also introduced the legislation last year. “Reducing opportunity and likelihood for addiction has obvious health benefits for that individual, as well as financial benefits for him or her and the family they might have in the future. But it also has health and financial benefits for society at large. Less smoking means fewer of the related health problems that drive up health care costs for individuals, businesses that pay for employees’ insurance, and the public, which subsidizes health care for some. It means families aren’t spending money on tobacco, and can spend it on goods and services locally. And it would eliminate it from schools entirely, which cuts down on the pressures that lure many into the habit in the first place. It’s an important step toward a healthier Rhode Island.” Changing the tobacco purchase age to 21 has the support of health advocates in Rhode Island and nationwide, including the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse last year cosponsored federal legislation to raise age to 21 nationwide. The legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston), Shelby Maldonado (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence), has been referred to the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare.

March 14, 2017

Fundraiser event POSTPONED Until March 30th

Due to the snow and blizzard-like conditions, we will be postponing the event* until Thursday, March 30th. We hope you will be able to join us- same time, same place, NEW DATE! 
(*yes, there will still be pie!)

Donations of all sizes are welcome! 
If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation via Paypal, or by mail. 
57 Hillcrest Road 
Wakefield, RI 02879
Thank you for all of your support!!