With July comes an array of new RI laws

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Friday marked the first day of July – which means an assortment of new laws have gone into effect in Rhode Island.

One law taking effect in the state aims to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. It requires people convicted of domestic violence to surrender their firearms within 24 hours.

“It already was a crime for people who’ve been convicted of felony domestic violence to have to turn over their firearms,” said Deborah DeBare of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “What this law does is it clarifies the administrative procedures of how and where to turn over their firearms. So it really doesn’t have a major significance in terms of protecting victims.”

DeBare said she’s disappointed with the law – but she’s grateful the General Assembly passed another bill that gives a $200,000 grant to prevent domestic violence.

“So for the first time ever in Rhode Island, we have a dedicated funding stream used to support prevention programs to break the cycle of domestic violence for future generations,” she said.

Another law that went into effect Friday requires ride-sharing services to charge customers a 7% sales tax. Critics have long complained that Uber and Lyft don’t have to follow the same rules as tradition taxis.

“I’ve used Uber. When I’ve had a few too many cocktails, I call Uber. It’s a great service,” said Thomas Walsh of Warwick. “But I think they need to pay a little bit extra in taxes, instead of not paying anything.”

One of the most popular bills that went into effect will cut beach parking fees in half at state beaches.

The General Assembly recently passed a number of other bills, like one that creates a tax cut for retirees – but those don’t go into effect until January 1.

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