EDWARD O'NEILL

EDWARD O'NEILL

Picking out his top bills of the session, state Sen. Edward O'Neill told The Breeze that his tax exemption for those inheriting up to $2 million is an issue of fairness. The senator says that currently taxes are exempt on the first $930,000 or so of inheritance, but taxes are assessed on the entire amount if it exceeds that. "It's very regressive," he said. "If you have any kind of estate," he said, "you can't afford to die in Rhode Island."

O'Neill is also pushing to have the state recognize pick-up trucks as family cars, and wants to step up fines on hit-and-run drivers.

O'Neill's bills would also set in motion term limits on General Assembly members, would improve communications between school districts for foster children and make the General Assembly adhere to the standards of the state Ethics Commission.

Here's a list of O'Neill's pending bills.

Senate Bill No. 22

Estate Tax

Would provide all net taxable estates with an exemption from the estate and transfer tax of up to the amount of $2,000,000.

Jan. 29: Senate Finance Committee held for further study.

Senate No. 24

Sales Tax on Trucks

Would exempt the trade-in value of pickup trucks under 6,000 lbs. gross weight used exclusively for personal use from sales tax as presently available to automobiles.

Jan. 29: Senate Finance Committee held for further study.

Senate No. 45

Accident Reports

Would increase the penalties and fines for the various motor vehicle offenses involving leaving the scene of an accident.

Feb. 5: Senate Judiciary Committee held for further study.

Senate Resolution No. 234

Amendment to limit General Assembly Terms

Would change a representative's term and a senator's term to four years, and would limit representatives and senators to three consecutive four-year terms.

Senate Special Legislation Committee held for further study.

Senate Resolution No. 239

Positive Outcomes for Individuals with Autism

Would create a 23-member special joint commission whose purpose it would be to make a comprehensive study to improve the quality of life and create positive outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Senate Special Legislation Committee held for further study.

Senate Resolution No. 337

Ethics Commission

This amendment of the Constitution of the State, if adopted, would provide that the Ethics Commission would have jurisdiction over the members of the General Assembly notwithstanding the "speech in debate" provisions of the Constitution.

Feb. 13: Referred to Senate Judiciary.

Senate No. 370

Neglected Children

Would require that when a child is in DCYF custody before their school system can be changed, their medical and academic records must be provided to the new school system first.

Feb. 13: Introduced, referred to Senate Education.

Senate No. 417

Texting While Driving

Would make texting while driving prima facie evidence of reckless disregard in any prosecution for driving so as to endanger, resulting in death.

March 7: Senate Judiciary Committee held for further study.