Senate scraps vote on RI highway surveillance bill at the last minute

Eyewitness News Investigates

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Senate reversed course late Tuesday night, scrapping a final vote to create a privately-run surveillance system on state highways that would scan license plates for out-of-state drivers who don’t have insurance.

The Senate had been scheduled to vote on the bill – sponsored by Rep. Robert Jacquard, D-Cranston, and already approved by the House – as part of a special session to tackle unfinished business left over after the General Assembly’s June 30 meltdown over the budget.

But around 10 p.m., a Senate spokesman announced the vote had been cancelled. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio later told reporters the bill was too “controversial” and needed further study, though he supports the concept. He said a number of senators had expressed concern about the bill to him.

Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere, a Westerly Republican first elected in 1992, had lambasted the measure earlier in the day as the worst bill he’d seen scheduled for a vote during his quarter-century in the General Assembly.Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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