Statement from Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan Regarding Ward 1 Election:

I applaud the decision of the Rhode Island State Board of Elections who voted unanimously Friday to move the City of Providence Ward 1 Special Election to June 2, 2020 the same day set for the state-wide Presidential Preference Primary.

Thursday night, the City Council, at the request of the City Solicitor, voted to postpone the Ward 1 special election to May 5th, or the earliest date possible all while keeping with Governor Raimondo’s Emergency Public Health Executive Orders.

The Council did not make this decision lightly. Our goal has always been to fill the vacancy as soon as possible, but in the face of this global pandemic, we cannot ignore the seriousness of our current public safety crisis.

Governor Raimondo has been quite clear in her message, the better we adhere to the advice of the medical community today, the sooner we get back to work.

I wish to thank the Board of Elections for taking a wise and well-measured approach. The Board of Elections rightly expressed in its decision that the Council attempted to strike a balance between representation and risk to public health.

We all share the concerns and understand the frustration that many members of the Ward 1 community expressed, nonetheless we had to make public health the priority.

Jo-Ann Ryan, Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 5

City Councilors Call on the State of Rhode Island to Suspend Evictions and Foreclosures and Enact Other Measures Until COVID-19 Crisis is No Longer a Threat

City Councilors Call on the State of Rhode Island to Suspend Evictions and Foreclosures and Enact Other Measures Until COVID-19 Crisis is No Longer a Threat

Tonight Providence City Councilors introduced a resolution calling for the State of Rhode Island to suspend evections and foreclosures and enact a series of other measures to protect Providence residents until the COVID-19 crisis is no longer a threat to our community. The resolution is co-sponsored by Councilors Rachel Miller (Ward 13), Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Pedro Espinal (Ward 10), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4), Carmen Castillo (Ward 9), Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), and Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11).
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is a recognized pandemic that has spread globally and threatens the health, well-being, and financial stability of community members in Providence and across the world. Since March 9, 2020 Rhode Island has been in a State of Emergency. With the closing of non-essential businesses, restaurants, bars, and the impact this has had on our robust gig-economy residents need protections to ensure they have the most basic necessities: shelter, food, and health care.
“We have to act now to help keep people in their homes. Importantly, this resolution asks for relief for renters, homeowners, landlords, and small business owners,” stated City Councilor Rachel Miller. “Thousands of Rhode Islanders and many service and restaurant workers in Federal Hill and the West End were suddenly unemployed. People are coming together from all walks of life to help and support one another right now, and attention to the issues of housing and homelessness is vital both now, and when we’re able to move to recovery.”
The City Council, like the State of Rhode Island, is committed to helping to stop the spread of this pandemic within our jurisdiction by encouraging common-sense measures. Practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, limiting public events, and encouraging community members to stay at home are all simple ways to help stop the spread of the virus. Many community members are essential workers in healthcare, grocery, and the service and construction industries and cannot work from home. Many others have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 related preparedness measures.
Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune stated, “This resolution supports relief for residents and business owners who are trying to keep a roof over their heads during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many of our renters, homeowners, landlord, and business owners already struggle to make ends meet. For some of our most vulnerable community members, this Pandemic has exacerbated existing financial hardships that make it challenging and sometimes impossible to stay above water. Providing relief that will allow renters, homeowners, landlords, and small business owners to remain in their homes or keep their business is essential. It will assist our city and state in setting a path to economic recovery once this Pandemic is over. “
The resolution put forth tonight calls on the State of Rhode Island to take the following actions:
  1. Suspend evictions due to nonpayment of rent if the inability to pay rent is due to loss-of-income related to reasonable precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
  2.  Suspend foreclosure proceedings for homeowners and landlords if the inability to make timely mortgage payments is related to reasonable precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
  3.  Mandate that Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance be considered acceptable sources of income for all residential rental agreements.
  4.  Mandate that all tax sale proceedings authorized by Rhode Island General Law §44-9 et. seq. be suspended until no earlier than July 15, 2020.
“Now more than ever, the residents of Providence need certainty in these uncertain times,” stated Councilman Pedro Espinal. “Residents should not live in fear of losing their homes, being evicted, or making choices between getting care if they are ill or paying rent. The neighborhoods I represent are home to some of the most economically challenged residents. They depend on their paychecks to make ends meet. Unemployment Insurance is a help, but my neighbors are having to make decisions between paying rent and buying groceries to feed their families. We need to provide them with some sense of assurance that they know that we will not leave them behind during this crisis. Taking these steps will go a long way to doing that.”
The members of the City Council applaud the work and the fortitude that Governor Raimondo has shown during this unprecedented global pandemic. The City Council supports the measures that the Governor and the Director Dr. Alexander-Scott from the Rhode Island Department of Health have put forth to stop the spread of the virus and to keep Rhode Islanders safe. Yet, it is paramount that we ensure that as Rhode Island slowly rebounds from this disaster that the most vulnerable members of our communities are not left behind.
Upon passage, a copy of this resolution will be transmitted to the Honorable Governor of the State of Rhode Island, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, the Field Office Director of the Rhode Island Branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Honorable Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, the Honorable President of the Rhode Island Senate, all State Senators and State Representatives whose jurisdiction includes any part of the City of Providence, executive offices of National Grid, and executive offices of Providence Water.
PROVIDENCE, RI (April 2, 2020)…Tonight Providence City Councilors introduced a resolution calling for the State of Rhode Island to suspend evections and foreclosures and enact a series of other measures to protect Providence residents until the COVID-19 crisis is no longer a threat to our community. The resolution is co-sponsored by Councilors Rachel Miller (Ward 13), Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Pedro Espinal (Ward 10), Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci Jr. (Ward 4), Carmen Castillo (Ward 9), Council President Pro Tempore Michael Correia (Ward 6), and Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11).
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is a recognized pandemic that has spread globally and threatens the health, well-being, and financial stability of community members in Providence and across the world. Since March 9, 2020 Rhode Island has been in a State of Emergency. With the closing of non-essential businesses, restaurants, bars, and the impact this has had on our robust gig-economy residents need protections to ensure they have the most basic necessities: shelter, food, and health care.
“We have to act now to help keep people in their homes. Importantly, this resolution asks for relief for renters, homeowners, landlords, and small business owners,” stated City Councilor Rachel Miller. “Thousands of Rhode Islanders and many service and restaurant workers in Federal Hill and the West End were suddenly unemployed. People are coming together from all walks of life to help and support one another right now, and attention to the issues of housing and homelessness is vital both now, and when we’re able to move to recovery.”
The City Council, like the State of Rhode Island, is committed to helping to stop the spread of this pandemic within our jurisdiction by encouraging common-sense measures. Practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, limiting public events, and encouraging community members to stay at home are all simple ways to help stop the spread of the virus. Many community members are essential workers in healthcare, grocery, and the service and construction industries and cannot work from home. Many others have lost their jobs because of COVID-19 related preparedness measures.
Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune stated, “This resolution supports relief for residents and business owners who are trying to keep a roof over their heads during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Many of our renters, homeowners, landlord, and business owners already struggle to make ends meet. For some of our most vulnerable community members, this Pandemic has exacerbated existing financial hardships that make it challenging and sometimes impossible to stay above water. Providing relief that will allow renters, homeowners, landlords, and small business owners to remain in their homes or keep their business is essential. It will assist our city and state in setting a path to economic recovery once this Pandemic is over. “
The resolution put forth tonight calls on the State of Rhode Island to take the following actions:
  1. Suspend evictions due to nonpayment of rent if the inability to pay rent is due to loss-of-income related to reasonable precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
  2.  Suspend foreclosure proceedings for homeowners and landlords if the inability to make timely mortgage payments is related to reasonable precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
  3.  Mandate that Unemployment Insurance and Temporary Disability Insurance be considered acceptable sources of income for all residential rental agreements.
  4.  Mandate that all tax sale proceedings authorized by Rhode Island General Law §44-9 et. seq. be suspended until no earlier than July 15, 2020.
“Now more than ever, the residents of Providence need certainty in these uncertain times,” stated Councilman Pedro Espinal. “Residents should not live in fear of losing their homes, being evicted, or making choices between getting care if they are ill or paying rent. The neighborhoods I represent are home to some of the most economically challenged residents. They depend on their paychecks to make ends meet. Unemployment Insurance is a help, but my neighbors are having to make decisions between paying rent and buying groceries to feed their families. We need to provide them with some sense of assurance that they know that we will not leave them behind during this crisis. Taking these steps will go a long way to doing that.”
The members of the City Council applaud the work and the fortitude that Governor Raimondo has shown during this unprecedented global pandemic. The City Council supports the measures that the Governor and the Director Dr. Alexander-Scott from the Rhode Island Department of Health have put forth to stop the spread of the virus and to keep Rhode Islanders safe. Yet, it is paramount that we ensure that as Rhode Island slowly rebounds from this disaster that the most vulnerable members of our communities are not left behind.
Upon passage, a copy of this resolution will be transmitted to the Honorable Governor of the State of Rhode Island, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, the Field Office Director of the Rhode Island Branch of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Honorable Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, the Honorable President of the Rhode Island Senate, all State Senators and State Representatives whose jurisdiction includes any part of the City of Providence, executive offices of National Grid, and executive offices of Providence Water.
Statement from Councilman James E. Taylor (Ward 8) Regarding Today’s Board of Contract and Supply’s Approval of $5 Million For New Fire Apparatus:

Statement from Councilman James E. Taylor (Ward 8) Regarding Today’s Board of Contract and Supply’s Approval of $5 Million For New Fire Apparatus:

Today, The Board of Contract and Supply approved an additional $5 Million for new fire apparatus. This is great news for the hardworking men and women of the Providence Fire Department.
I would like to thank Chairman John J. Igliozzi (Ward 7) for his leadership of the Council’s Committee on Finance, and my fellow members of the Committee, for acting swiftly after we heard from Derek Silva, President of the Providence Firefighters Union for the need to replace much of their aging fleet.
The Committee quickly brought back the City’s Master Lease Agreement and allocated the necessary funds for these vital pieces of equipment. I am glad to know that we are moving in the right direction to give them the tools they need to do the job safely and confidently.
Statement from Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan Regarding COVID-19 Testing Site at Rhode Island College

Statement from Majority Leader Jo-Ann Ryan Regarding COVID-19 Testing Site at Rhode Island College

The novel COVID-19 pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives. To protect ourselves and our families it is important that we follow the guidance of our Governor Gina Raimondo and our public health officials. Stay home, practice social and physical distancing, wash your hands and regularly clean surfaces. With all of us being diligent in maintaining these best practices, Rhode Island will help flatten the curve.

Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Health Department announced today that approximately 50 State public health officials and Rhode Island Army National Guard members will be on-site at Rhode Island College conducting drive-thru COVID-19 testing.

Testing will take place between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM every day until further notice. Testing will be available by appointment only, and only after a referral from a physician. The testing will be done with the individual remaining in their vehicle. If you do not have an appointment, you will not receive a test.

Once an appointment is confirmed through the Rhode Island Department of Health, individuals will be directed to the swabbing site. The National Guard, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Rhode Island Emergency Agency do not anticipate any noticeable increase in neighborhood traffic, nor do they anticipate any long lines. They are instructing individuals to use main roads only, and individuals are instructed to not leave their vehicles.

You can find details and more information from Rhode Island College President Frank D. Sánchez here: COVID-19 Testing Site

I have full faith in our National Guard, and the Rhode Island Department of Health to perform this important function in our neighborhood all while maintaining strict adherence to public safety. The more testing we do, the more we know about the virus, and how to stop it.

In this time of fear and uncertainty, we are all reminded of the fragility of life. And, we are newly aware of how much we need each other just as we are being warned to distance ourselves.

I want to extend my sincere thanks to Governor Raimondo for her extraordinary leadership during these unprecedented times.

Let’s stay strong. Stay at home. For important updates follow the City Council COVID-19 web page. I am here if you need anything.

We will get through this together.

Jo-Ann Ryan, Majority Leader
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 5
City Councilors Call on the State of Rhode Island to Suspend Evictions and Foreclosures and Enact Other Measures Until COVID-19 Crisis is No Longer a Threat

Municipal Courts to Tentatively Reopen on Monday, April 20, 2020

Chief Judge Frank Caprio announced today that the Providence Municipal Courts will tentatively reopen on Monday, April 20, 2020.

If you have a trial date to appear before the Municipal Court during the closure, you will receive a new summons in the coming days.

If you have a fine to pay you can do so online. The Public Safety Complex remains closed due to COVID-19 until further notice.

During this closure, City Council President Sabina Matos has instructed the Courts to stop all “Booting” of vehicles in providence, to stop all collections proceedings, and stop all doubling and tripling of fines until further notice. The Municipal Courts fall under the purview of the City Council.

For more information on the Municipal Courts or to pay your fines online, visit them at http://www.providenceri.gov/municipal-court/

Providence City Council to Hold Virtual Meeting Via Teleconference

Providence City Council to Hold Virtual Meeting Via Teleconference

Participants Can Call Into the Meeting With Their Phones

Providence will be the first Council Body to use this Teleconferencing Technology

In light of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak which has affected many of us here in Rhode Island, the Governor issued an executive order earlier this week lifting the Open Meetings Act (OMA) restrictions for public meetings.

The order allows for adequate alternative means of public access such as over phone, internet, and audio or videoconferencing when it comes to public body meetings.

“Our goal as a City Council is to be as transparent as possible,” stated City Council President Sabina Matos (Ward 15). “We have decided to move from livestreaming to teleconferencing due to the rapid spread of the virus here in Rhode Island. In the last 48 hours, we have seen an increase of 21 positive infections, totaling 44 positive infections here in Rhode Island as of 1:30 PM today. It’s with that in mind that we have made the difficult decision to host our meeting using a teleconference line, a widely used and implemented practice. This will allow for residents to hear the discussions as it happens by our body in real-time.”

In light of this executive order, in addition to the prior executive order limiting gatherings of more than 25 people, and to protect the health of our Councilors, staff, and our residents Council President Sabina Matos has decided to seek alternative public access mediums for tonight’s Council meeting. The City Council will be using a teleconferencing platform for tonight’s meeting.

Call-In Information is Below:
Please dial: 1-646-558-8656
Pin: 692739810#
Press # again to enter the conference waiting room.

This tough decision is premised on an urgency to preserve public health while also maintaining the spirit of an open and transparent governmental process.

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