Joanne Giannini was a Democratic member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives in the state’s General Assembly, representing the 7th District (Providence) from 1994 until 2010.
Rep. Giannini was honored in 2011 by the DaVinci Center with their Humanitarian Award. This video was shown as part of the recognition dinner attended by over 1,000 Rhode Island business, political, and cultural leaders. Briefly describing her extensive legislative career and many successes, the video includes testimonials from former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, Jr., former Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives John Harwood, and NexusGovernment Executive Director Nicholas Alahverdian.
Giannini was a strong supporter of child abuse prevention legislation and was instrumental in having legislation passed for the Amber Alert system, prevention of shaken baby syndrome, and other related causes.
Giannini was the leading advocate to change the prostitution law in Rhode Island, introducing legislation on a daily basis to close what she termed the legal loophole that allowed indoor prostitution. The bill was finally signed into law in November 2009. A 16-year-old girl from Boston was found working at a strip club in Providence, leading to the discovery of another outdated Rhode Island law. Giannini subsequently introduced a bill banning minors from being employed by strip clubs in Rhode Island. That legislation was passed by both chambers and signed into law by the Governor within months.
Giannini has received many awards and accolades from organizations the American Heart Association, the Rhode Island National Guard, the Rhode Island Human Rights Foundation, the Rhode Island Foster Parent Association and the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.
Rep. Giannini was a staunch advocate for Nicholas Alahverdian, who was at first a legislative aide for the House of Representatives and then a lobbyist, voicing her concern about the abuse he was suffering in state care until he was sent out of state where he was unable to contact Joanne, any other legislators, lawyers, courts, the media, or anyone else to report the severe mistreatment he was suffering under tortuous conditions. Upon seeing Nicholas again two years later when he was 18, Joanne exclaimed “Mike Burk (an employee DCYF) told me you were living with relatives out of state!” when, in fact, Nicholas was sent to two placements in two other states, both of which were closed by their own states for severe abuse and neglect.