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Catch up

July 7, 2011

Hello all!  The Pulse is back in Rhode Island. Here’s a brief run down of some news that happened while I was gone-

Strike averted

Rhode Island Hospital won’t be needing that strike breaking firm after all. Hospital officials and the United Nurses and Allied Professionals union reached a deal last week. UNAP membership approved the new contract 944 to 260.  According to the union, the 4 year agreement includes-

  • No lay-offs of employees who’ve worked at the hospital for more than 5 years
  • Raises ranging from 5% to 16%
  • No increase in employee contributions for health insurance
  • New opportunities for voicing concerns about safety and quality
  • Agreement to use Lifespan for health care needs whenever possible

Medical marijuana clarification

Supporters of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana dispensaries didn’t get the clarification they were looking for when Deputy Attorney General James Cole reportedly sent a new memo last week.  In the letter, titled “Memorandum for United States Attorneys,” Cole says state laws won’t protect medical marijuana retailers from federal prosecution

Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. Consistent with resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution.

What does this mean for RI’s compassion centers? According to the AP, Governor Lincoln Chafee received a copy of the memo, but isn’t commenting on it yet. U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha also declined to comment.  What do you think? Does this memo mean RI’s compassion centers are doomed?

Get your civil unions

As I reported earlier, the Department of Health designed and printed civil union licenses days before Governor Chafee signed the legislation into law. Now the DOH has advice on its website for couples interested in getting one. In short, you need a birth certificate and another form of ID for each person. Go to the town/city where you live to pick up and sign the form. Both marriage and civil union licenses are $24.

That’s it for now. Any other important news out there that I missed?

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