RI lawmakers back in action as 2020 legislative session begins


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It is back to work for the General Assembly.

Lawmakers returned to Smith Hill Tuesday afternoon for the first day of the 2020 legislative session.

Gov. Gina Raimondo detailed the direction in which she wants to see the state head this year.

Raimondo said it is likely recreational marijuana will be high on the list. Last year, she tried to move this along, but it did not go anywhere.

Instead, the General Assembly worked on fine-tuning the medical marijuana industry in the state, going from three dispensaries to nine and raising the licensing fee to half a million dollars.

Raimondo supports legalizing recreational marijuana, but legislative leaders do not. It is just one example of the contention between the two that could carry into this year.

On a different note, the Rhode Island Veterans Home deficit has lawmakers’ attention. The nursing home for wartime veterans had stopped food services for visiting family members.

It was a service offered at the previous building, one that the veterans pay nearly 80% of their monthly income to stay at.

“We have lots of big issues hanging over us we have a lot of issues we need to deal with,” General Treasurer Seth Magaziner said. “But at the end of the day, we are measured as a society by the way we treat our most vulnerable.”

Lawmakers on both sides agree that they want it looked into.

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