RI Assembly races toward end of session, approves $13.6B budget

Director of Legislative System's Anastasia Custer stamps bills in preparation for Thursday's General Assembly session.

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island lawmakers voted into the night Thursday in what they hoped would be their final acts of a legislative year, focused on the housing crisis and shoring up troubled social services.

The Senate passed the $13.6-billion state budget for next year on a 33-5 party-line vote after shooting down a string of Republican amendments. The House passed the budget last week and it now goes to Gov. Dan McKee, who is expected to sign it.

Among the failed GOP amendments were proposals to suspend the gas tax and spend more money fixing roads.

Democratic Sen. Jeanine Calkin tried to raise the minimum wage to $19 an hour, but Senate President Dominick Ruggerio ruled her amendment out of order before she could introduce it.

Before the vote, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ryan Pearson said the budget was “buoyed by economic recovery that has been far faster than we expected” with “inflation driving income and sales tax receipts higher” and “unprecedented levels of federal support.”

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