RI House passes 2020 state budget, moves to Senate for approval



PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The budget battle came to an end on Saturday after the House passed a nearly 10 billion dollar budget for 2020.

The House passed the bill in a 64-9 vote, after nearly 10 hours of debate.

 “I voted for this budget because it has some good elements in it,” said representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-District 5).

A notable element added to the budget on Saturday was $200,000 of funding for the Nonviolence Institute— a nonprofit that works to reduce violence, especially by guns.

The $200,000 was originally included in the budget, but then cut two weeks ago. 

The cut caused upset from communities across Rhode Island. 

“People spoke, they tweeted, they talked about it,” said Ranglin-Vassell.

In response to the public’s outcry, lawmakers put the $200,000 of funding back into the budget.

The Nonviolence Institute responded on Twitter and thanked members of the House who supported the organization.

“That money being reinstated is a win for all of Rhode Island,” said Ranglin-Vassell.

Also included in the budget is funding for six new compassion center medical marijuana dispensaries. 

The additional centers would bring the total to nine in Rhode Island. 

“Everyone agrees we need more compassion centers,” said representative Deb Ruggiero (D-District 74).

However, Ruggiero and other lawmakers don’t like the fact that compassion centers can grow and manufacture their own marijuana. This reduces the need for the centers to shop local at one of the state’s 45 marijuana farms. 

“In the next year we could put 45 home grown, small businesses out of business,” said Ruggiero.

In the end, the measure regarding marijuana passed in the budget. 

The budget now heads to the Senate for approval. 
©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019