H5174A & S417A are headed to the Governor's desk!
On June 15th, the RI House of Representatives voted to approve each, concurring with the RI Senate's approved version. This step represents a historic achievement by the RI General Assembly, which has never before reached a consensus on the long-standing question of where, exactly, Constitutionally recognized "privileges of the shore" like fishing are protected in Rhode Island. During the last several RI Legislative Sessions protecting and restoring access to Rhode Island’s shoreline has been a top priority, and the Rhode Island team has published articles, spoken on local panels, and even participated in a water access policy seminar at BHA’s 2023 North American Rendezvous in Missoula, Montana.
While getting to this point has taken years of effort by hundreds of individuals and organizations, we are especially grateful to the bills' sponsors, Rep. Terri Cortvriend and Sen. Mark McKenney. Both served on a 2021 Legislative Study Commission, chaired by Rep. Cortvriend, which formed the foundation upon which this effort was built. Since then, each has championed shoreline access in their respective chambers and shepherded H5174A & S417A to passage.
Additionally, we thank House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, who helped convene the 2021 Study Commission and has supported the Shoreline Access movement for several years in the RI House, and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, who facilitated the bills' consideration and movement through the RI Senate. Both chambers contributed meaningfully to the content of the approved bills.
With only one step left until H5174A & S417A become law, our attention turns to Governor Daniel McKee to complete the process!