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Monday, June 29, 2015

Flipper's Flop: Blake Filippi's final legislative report card

Lotsa bills, but lotsa nothing at the end
By Will Collette
When it comes to bovine excrement, Flip is our guy!
Blake “Flip” Filippi (Tea Party-Libertarian-Republican who lives in Providence or Lincoln or maybe Block Island) made a lot of promises when he ran for House District 36 and won it in an upset over Rep. Donna Walsh (D). 

In his first week, he was going to introduce legislation to resolve the Copar Quarry nightmare, cut taxes for the elderly, lift the yoke of state tyranny off the shoulders of Charlestown’s CCA-controlled Town Council and end corruption in the state.

Of course, that didn’t happen and we had to wait a while before Flip rolled out his bills. In the meantime, Filippi signed on as a co-sponsor to lots of other legislators’ bills. The first bill he co-sponsored was a RI Builders Association bill that the Charlestown Citizens Alliance hated so much that they had their puppets on the Council pass a resolution in April opposing it.

Finally, Filippi got around to introducing his own bills. The first, five weeks after the General Assembly opened, was a CCA bill (House Bill No. 5321) that would exempt Charlestown, and only Charlestown, from having to deal with comprehensive permit applications while it was busy re-writing the town’s comprehensive plan.

That, like nearly every one of the 29 bills that Filippi sponsored, ended up “held for further study” at the end of the session, meaning it died.

His second bill, House Bill No. 5339, also introduced for Charlestown, sought to put the state Water Resources Board (WRB) under veto from municipalities when the WRB tries to acquire open space to protect water resources. This bill stems from the feud between Charlestown Planning Commissar Ruth Platner and Frank Glista over property recently bought by the WRB. “Held for further study.” Sorry, Ruthie.

Flipper’s bill (House Bill 5352) to abolish state saltwater fishing licenses – roundly condemned by every fishermen's organization in the state – and subject of a bizarre hearing, also died being “held for further study.”

Flipper was not able to deliver for the beleaguered Copar quarry neighbors. House Bill No. 5676 to give Charlestown the power (which it actually already has) to regulate quarries died while being “held for further study.” So was House Bill No. 5740, which would have directed DEM to write regulations to cover operating quarries, but which ignored the need to reclaim mines when they close.

Even though the CCA Party gave Filippi credit for it – falsely – the only quarry-related bill that passed was the House bill by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D) and companion Senate bill by Sen. Dennis Algiere (R) that directs DEM to write regulations on dust piles. Just dust piles. Nothing else. 

And that will take DEM at least a year to finalize the regs (more likely two) and they have no inspectors to enforce it.


In hindsight, Filippi was all over the map with his legislation. His bills on drones, utility taxes, genetically-modified foods, summer school, Medicaid fraud, internet tax, health insurance, affordable housing, RhodeMap RI, the PUC, veterinarians, amendments to the state Constitution and more….all failed “held for further study.”

All Filippi got done was a couple of condolence resolutions, a couple allowing a non-clergy person to perform a weddings and a couple of town bills, though none for Charlestown (imagine that).

Given that Filippi also runs a cattle ranch in Lincoln full-time, a law practice in Providence full-time and a hotel and restaurant on Block Island full-time – so he says - and introduced 29 bills on all these subjects, no wonder he couldn’t deliver on any. 

He'd have to doing a 55-gallon drum of coke just to complete his normal day's duties, never mind get the job done at the General Assembly.

He did manage to get a lot of media mentions, however. So there's that.

The only bill where Filippi seemed to exert any real effort was on the one no one wanted – the bill to abolish the saltwater fishing license. Maybe “just because” he has an ideological problem with licenses is not a good enough reason to pass a bill.

Give the guy some ADHD medication, please. And CCA Party – it serves you right for helping to elect this radical doofus.

Here’s Flipper’s final tally from the official General Assembly legislation tracker database:

Legislative Status Report 
Session Year: 2015} Prime Sponsor: Filippi, Blake}

House Bill No. 5321
(by request)
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES - COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING AND LAND USE ACT - MORATORIUM COMPREHENSIVE PERMIT APPLICATIONS - CHARLESTOWN (Grants the town of Charlestown a moratorium until June 1, 2016, during which it would not be required to entertain, receive or consider comprehensive permit applications from for-profit developers.)
{LC362/1}
02/05/2015 Introduced, referred to House H.E.W.
03/06/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
03/09/2015 Meeting postponed (03/11/2015)
03/09/2015 Committee transferred to House Finance
05/27/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5339
(by request)
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO WATERS AND NAVIGATION -- WATER SUPPLY FACILITIES (Requires consent by a municipality of any land acquisition therein by the water resources board.)
{LC1068/1}
02/05/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
03/03/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
06/19/2015 Committee transferred to House Municipal Government

House Bill No. 5340
BY  Filippi, Shekarchi, Edwards, Solomon, Reilly
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION TAX (Provides that neither the Public Service Corporation Tax or the Sales Tax, which are paid by customers, would apply to any increase in electricity rates or charges which are greater than those in effect on December 31, 2014.)
{LC861/1}
02/05/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
05/28/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5352
BY  Filippi, Reilly, Craven, Shekarchi, Price
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO FISH AND WILDLIFE -- SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE (Repeals the saltwater fishing license requirement.)
{LC592/1}
02/05/2015 Introduced, referred to House Environment and Natural Resources
02/18/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
04/09/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5454
BY  Filippi, Roberts, Blazejewski, Barros, Morgan
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE - AERIAL PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT (Prohibits law enforcement from using unmanned aerial vehicles without a proper warrant.)
{LC734/1}
02/12/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
03/31/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Resolution No. 5462
BY  Filippi, Blazejewski, Lancia, Nardolillo, Chippendale
ENTITLED, JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE, PUBLISH AND SUBMIT TO THE ELECTORS--A PROPOSITION OF AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE (MAJORITY VOTE REQUIREMENT THROUGH INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING FOR GENERAL OFFICERS AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS' ELECTION) (Proposed constitutional amendment that would require all winning candidates for general office and general assembly elections receive a majority of the votes, with an instant runoff voting system if no initial majority of votes is received.)
{LC1072/1}
02/12/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
03/25/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5502
BY  Filippi, Costa, Slater, Lima, Ajello
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (Requires all food businesses, with the exception of restaurant's, who have gross sales of over $500,000 to post a sign informing their customers that all there food products contain modified organisms, unless there labels say otherwise.)
{LC1217/1}
02/12/2015 Introduced, referred to House H.E.W.
03/04/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5511
BY  Filippi, Roberts, Tanzi, Fogarty, Lally
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION - SUMMER SCHOOL COSTS (Permits free summer school attendance for students needing course credits to graduate.)
{LC924/1}
02/12/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
04/09/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Resolution No. 5519
BY  Filippi, Nardolillo, Roberts, Morgan, Lancia
ENTITLED, JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE AND PUBLISH AND SUBMIT TO THE ELECTORS A PROPOSITION OF AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE REFERENDUM ON LINE ITEM VETO
{LC593/1}
02/12/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
03/11/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Resolution No. 5662
BY  Filippi, Roberts, Costa, Chippendale
ENTITLED, JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE AND PUBLISH AND SUBMIT TO THE ELECTORS A PROPOSITION OF AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE (EMPOWERMENT OF INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS) (The constitutional amendment would affirm the standing of each individual taxpayer to contest the validity or legality of any governmental expenditure or tax in the appropriate forum.)
{LC1123/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
04/07/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5663
BY  Filippi, Nardolillo, Price, Chippendale, Giarrusso
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- CODE OF ETHICS (Eliminates a number of exceptions to the "revolving-door rule," so-called.)
{LC1215/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
04/07/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5676
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES -- GENERAL POWERS (Authorizes the town of Charlestown to regulate excavation and extraction activity within the town.)
{LC1463/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Municipal Government
04/02/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5703
(by request)
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS -- REGULATORY POWERS OF ADMINISTRATION (Grants standing to cities and towns in ferry regulations before the PUC and division of public utilities.)
{LC1494/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Corporations
04/02/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
04/08/2015 Withdrawn at sponsor's request

House Bill No. 5704
BY  Filippi, Reilly, Roberts, Price, Costa
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- UNAUTHORIZED INSURANCE BUSINESS--HEALTH INSURANCE (Permits Rhode Island residents to purchase health insurance from out-of-state companies, and would require HealthSourceRI to make this option known to consumers.)
{LC1109/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Corporations
03/27/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
03/31/2015 Withdrawn at sponsor's request (03/31/2015)

House Bill No. 5705
(by request)
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION (Requires that matters/petitions involving common carriers of persons/property upon water between termini within this state on a year-round basis be heard by 2 commissioners and a designee of the city/ town council most dependent upon the service provided.)
{LC1490/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Corporations
04/02/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
04/08/2015 Withdrawn at sponsor's request

House Bill No. 5713
BY  Filippi, Costa, Price, Giarrusso, Morgan
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - STATE GUIDE PLAN (Requires general assembly approval of the state guide plan or any amendments or modifications thereto.)
{LC1884/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
05/21/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5714
BY  Filippi, Hearn, Marcello, Price, Ackerman
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RHODE ISLAND HOUSING AND MORTGAGE FINANCE CORPORATION (Expands the definition of affordable housing for the purposes of RIHMFC.)
{LC1663/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
06/04/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5715
BY  Filippi, Ackerman, Blazejewski, Kazarian, Lancia
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDINGS (Requires audio and video recordings of all meetings of state and quasi-public agencies and bodies to be transmitted to the secretary of state's office for posting on its website and made available for public access.)
{LC1752/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
05/13/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5719
BY  Filippi, Blazejewski, Reilly, Newberry, Costa
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Clarifies the statutory language defining retailers that enter into agreements with residents who refer potential customers to retailers by links to internet sites, as it relates to the computation of sales and use taxes.)
{LC1664/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
05/12/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5720
BY  Filippi, Roberts, Morgan, Nardolillo, Costa
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES - MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FRAUD (Entitles whistleblower to payment if they provide information regarding medical assistance fraud.)
{LC1493/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House Finance
05/26/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 5740
(by request)
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- RESIDENTIAL MINING SAFETY (Directs the department of environmental management and the state fire marshal to regulate mining and blasting near residential areas and schools.)
{LC360/1}
02/26/2015 Introduced, referred to House H.E.W.
04/29/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Resolution No. 5913
Resolution 131
BY  Filippi, Kennedy, Mattiello, Ruggiero, Ajello
ENTITLED, HOUSE RESOLUTION EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES ON THE PASSING OF HENRY A. WALSH, JR.
{LC2211/1}
03/17/2015 House read and passed

House Bill No. 5922
Act 53
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT TO VACATE THE FORFEITURE OR REVOCATION OF THE CHARTER OF J. DOUGHERTY HOME IMPROVEMENTS, INC.
{LC2210/1}
03/18/2015 Introduced, referred to House Corporations
03/20/2015 Scheduled for consideration (03/24/2015)
03/24/2015 Committee recommends passage
03/24/2015 Placed on House Calendar (03/26/2015)
03/26/2015 House read and passed
04/09/2015 Placed on the Senate Consent Calendar (04/14/2015)
04/14/2015 Senate passed in concurrence
04/14/2015 Transmitted to Governor
04/22/2015 Effective without Governor's signature

House Bill No. 5960
BY  Filippi, Roberts, Nardolillo, Price
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS -- UNIFORM CHILD CUSTODY JURISDICTION AND ENFORCEMENT ACT (Provides that agreements between the parties as to jurisdiction of child custody disputes will be enforced when a foreign country is involved.)
{LC1669/1}
03/20/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
03/31/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 6082
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES - GENERAL POWERS (Requires common carriers serving New Shoreham to pay landing fees monthly and provide town with monthly accounting and any reports provided to state/federal government.)
{LC2414/1}
04/15/2015 Introduced, referred to House Municipal Government
04/24/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
05/14/2015 Withdrawn at sponsor's request

House Bill No. 6090  SUB A
(by request)
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE - DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION ACT (Authorizes the court to permit residents of Block Island to complete a court-approved counseling program in domestic violence cases with a provider on Block Island.)
{LC1252/A/1}
04/16/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
05/06/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study
06/24/2015 Committee recommends passage of Sub A
06/24/2015 Placed on House Calendar (06/24/2015)
06/24/2015 House passed Sub A

House Bill No. 6172
Act 102
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO SOLEMNIZATION OF MARRIAGES (Allows Scott Andrew Lennox to join Matthew Robert Gregg and Bethany Lynn Quirk in marriage on or about June 27, 2015, within the Town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.)
{LC2634/1}
05/06/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
05/12/2015 Committee recommends passage
05/15/2015 Placed on the House Consent Calendar (05/19/2015)
05/19/2015 House read and passed
05/21/2015 Referred to Senate Judiciary
06/02/2015 Scheduled for consideration (06/04/2015)
06/04/2015 Committee recommends passage in concurrence
06/10/2015 Placed on the Senate Consent Calendar (06/11/2015)
06/11/2015 Senate passed in concurrence
06/11/2015 Transmitted to Governor
06/19/2015 Effective without Governor's signature

House Bill No. 6316
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- MAINTENANCE OF PRIVATE EASEMENTS AND RIGHTS-OF-WAY (Establishes the rights and obligations of property owners concerning the maintenance of private easements and rights-of-way.)
{LC2860/1}
06/17/2015 Introduced, referred to House Judiciary
06/23/2015 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

House Bill No. 6355
BY  Filippi
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - VETERINARY PRACTICE (Allows non-veterinarians to perform certain husbandry procedures that are commonly performed by owners of animal pets and livestock.)
{LC2923/1}
06/25/2015 Introduced, referred to House H.E.W.
06/25/2015 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration
06/25/2015 Committee recommends passage
06/25/2015 Placed on House Calendar (06/25/2015)