Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
An Update from the State House: What’s in the Governor’s Budget – Article 2
Article 2 deals with various state funds.
1. Creates a restricted receipt account for registration fees collected from real estate appraisers, called the CLRA Account. The state can establish fees for applications, exams and late fees. The Annual fee for a residential or general appraiser certificate is currently $200. The account would be used to finance costs associated with real estate appraiser registrations.
2. Creates a restricted receipt account for fees collected in association with the licensing of appraisal management companies. Like the CLRA Account, the monies collected in the restricted receipt account are to be used for registration operations within the Department of Business Regulation.
3. Creates a restricted receipt account called the “State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement” (SARA). Rhode Island’s Council on Postsecondary Education is responsible for, among other things, entering into interstate reciprocity agreements regarding postsecondary distance education. Many states have programs to oversee education facilities providing degrees through internet learning opportunities. The monies collected through fees would go to fund our State’s oversight functions.
4. Creates a restricted receipt account within the Department of Health. All administrative fees or penalties levied by DoH would be deposited into the account, called the “health systems monitoring and compliance” account for use by DoH.
5. Eliminates all marijuana licensing restricted receipt accounts, the “State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement” account, and the “De Coppett Estate Fund” from the 10% agency cost recovery allotment. If a state agency has responsibility for overseeing a restricted receipt account, that agency receives 10% of the funds collected for the account, as an administration fee. The state can deny the transfer of the administration fee, but it must be specifically stated in statute.
Article 3 – Relating to Government Reform
1. Article 3 begins by addressing the Warwick Airport Parking District. Currently an operator of a transient parking area pays a permit fee of $10 for each space available for parking up to a maximum of $250. This Article eliminates the permit fee.
2. Eliminates the $1 duplicate license fee for Class P liquor licenses for caterers. The license fee will remain at $500, but no fee will be charged for duplicate licenses.
3. Eliminates the requirement for cities and towns to have an “inspector of hides and leather.”
4. Makes numerous changes to the Contractor’s Registration and Licensing Board (CRLB). First, any current decisions made by the Board can be contested to the Executive Director of the Board. Article 3 transfers the hearing review responsibilities to the Department of Business Regulation. The CRLB would not be required to hire an Executive Director, only “necessary staff.” Today, each municipality must require contractors to sign a written affidavit, subject to penalties of perjury, that the contractor is properly licensed with the CRLB. Article 3 eliminates the affidavit requirement but still requires the municipalities to require the contractor to be registered. Lastly, the current law allows the CRLB Executive Director to suspend or revoke a license in the event he/she feels a health or safety issue is present thus creating an emergency. The budget transfers that authority to the Department of Business Regulation.
5. Eliminates the 10 hour OSHA safety course requirement for roofing contractors. Roofing contractors would still be required to take 10 hours of continuing education – but over a 2-year period instead of each year. The Article eliminates the need for a roofing contractor to be bonded in the aggregate amount of the total dollar value of any contract, but also increases the mandatory insurance certificate amount from $1.5 million to $2 million.
6. Curiously, Article 3 transfers the responsibility to enforce the State’s false advertising laws from the Department of Business Regulation, to the Department of Labor and Training. RIGL 11-18-10 states that no person or business can disseminate or circulate a message to the public, whether through print, audio, picture, video…, that includes any representation which is “untrue and designed to be deceptive or misleading…” Anyone doing so can be fined $50 - $500 and/or imprisoned up to 90 days. It is unclear if the Governor proposes to transfer employees to DLT to perform this new function.
7. Eliminates the $10 fee for a motor carrier license, as well as the $10 fee for the decal that must be displayed in the window of a motor carrier vehicle.
8. Transfers responsibility for overseeing gasoline pump price displays, mandatory safety signs, air pump notifications, brand displays and other required gasoline station signage from the Department of Business Regulation to the Department of Labor and Training. The Article also eliminates the $5 fee station owners must pay to the state when they close down a station.
9. Requires all state employees that have access to federal tax return information, to complete a fingerprint-based criminal background check initially, and then again every 10 years. The state will pick up the cost for current employees; however, new hires will be required to pay the fee. The same background check will be required for all vendors that have access to federal tax information. An agency can accept a background check that was performed for another “suitable jurisdiction.”
10. Requires persons seeking employment (or volunteering) at a family day care, group day care or child day care center to undergo a criminal background check. This requirement also extends to foster families and adoptive homes. If a child care activity is to take place in an individual’s home, any member of that household must also undergo the background check.
11. Exempts from licensing mixed martial arts exhibitions that are for amateurs only and are under the control of an educational institution, religious or charitable organization. The top prize for such an event cannot be more than $25.
12. Transfers the Small Business Ombudsman office from the Office of Regulatory Reform to the Department of Business Regulation.
13. Requires employers with an average withholding tax amount of $200 or more per month in the previous calendar year, to file and remit withholding tax payments by electronic funds transfers or another electronic means. Failure to submit the tax electronically will result in an increased tax assessment equal to 5% of the tax owed – or $500 whichever is less – and an additional fee of $50. This new system would be effective January 1, 2020.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5156 McNamara, Ackerman, Jackson, Solomon, Bennett, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Excludes pension income from taxation under the same circumstances as social security exclusion.)
House Bill No. 5159 Bennett, Edwards, Walsh, Ucci, Hawkins, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Provides a tax credit for community service hours provided by state residents to certain not for profit entities and municipal departments that are certified to issue credits for state community service volunteerism hours.)
House Bill No. 5163 Phillips, Solomon, Shekarchi, Ucci, Hawkins, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES - RHODE ISLAND UNIFORM COMMERCIAL DRIVER'S LICENSE ACT (Permits applicants for commercial driver’s licenses to carry over parts of the required examinations that they passed for a period of two years and require them to retake those portions not passed.)
House Bill No. 5175 Edwards, Canario, Almeida, Bennett, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS -- LABOR AND PAYMENT OF DEBTS (Amends the definition of public works so that it would include any public works projects performed for any city or town or quasi-municipal entity and the state and any quasi-state entity.)
House Resolution No. 5186 Tanzi, Shanley, McEntee, Craven, Vella-Wilkinson, HOUSE RESOLUTION REINSTATING AND EXTENDING THE COMMISSION LIFE AND AMENDING THE PURPOSE OF THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO STUDY UNLAWFUL SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE (Reinstates the membership, extends the reporting and expiration dates, and amends the purpose of the commission to study unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace from May 29, 2018, to May 30, 2019, and expires on July 30, 2019.)
House Bill No. 5189 Morin, Ucci, Vella-Wilkinson, Marszalkowski, O'Brien, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- WITHHOLDING OF TAX (Provides that the non-resident withholding requirement for a corporation that sells real estate be consistent with the seven percent (7%) corporate income tax rate.)
House Bill No. 5194 Marshall, O'Brien, Morin, Vella-Wilkinson, Millea, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS 2013 (Repeals the sunset provision of chapter 33.6 of title 44 which grants tax credits to individuals or companies redeveloping historic structures.)
House Bill No. 5207 Kennedy, Abney, Azzinaro, Johnston, Casey, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- TRAVEL INSURANCE ACT (Creating the travel insurance act to establish comprehensive/uniform regulatory framework for travel insurance. Clarifying/bolstering enforcement authority over participants in the travel insurance industry.)
House Bill No. 5208 Phillips, Amore, Serodio, Morin, Casey, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY (Encourages commercial property owners to install vehicle barriers at their retail establishment locations, and also permits insurers to consider the installation of such barriers to provide a discount on the owner's insurance policy.)
Senate Bill No. 37 Ruggerio, Goodwin, McCaffrey, Algiere, Conley, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- VIDEO-LOTTERY GAMES, TABLE GAMES AND SPORTS WAGERING (Authorizes and provide for online sports wagering through authorized hosting facilities in Rhode Island.)
Senate Bill No. 40 DiPalma, Conley, Euer, Goldin, Paolino, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS - NET NEUTRALITY (Requires Internet service providers to follow Internet service neutrality requirements.)
Senate Bill No. 48 Conley, Lombardi, Crowley, Felag, Pearson, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX CREDIT (Establishes personal income tax credit for persons incurring expenses caring for relative requiring assistance with daily living activities certified by a licensed physician for tax years from/after 12/31/19.)
Senate Bill No. 50 Picard, Murray, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PROPERTY SUBJECT TO TAXATION (Provides that a nonprofit hospital facility converted from for-profit hospital facility would have a payment in lieu of tax agreement with the applicable city or town or subject to a municipal payment equal to sixty-five percent (65%) of the tax due.)
Senate Bill No. 55 Conley, Cano, DiPalma, Felag, Pearson, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - ESTABLISHING A SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FUND (Establishes small business development fund to encourage formation of private capital investment in underserved small businesses with annual report and termination after 6 years.)
Senate Bill No. 57 Satchell, Conley, Metts, Picard, Cano, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- MICRO ZONE ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION ACT (Creates micro zones in distressed areas to stimulate economic revitalization/employment opportunities/business development through redevelopment of abandoned industrial/commercial structures.)
Senate Bill No. 61 Coyne, Seveney, DiPalma, Euer, Valverde, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- LEVY AND ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL TAXES (Authorizes cities/towns to establish a property tax credit program in exchange for volunteer service by persons over age 60 up to $1,500 calculated by multiplying service hours by the state minimum wage per hour.)
Senate Bill No. 71 Picard, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT (Prohibits residential landlords from terminating period tenancies from December 1 to February 1 and would require sixty (60) days written notice to the elderly or disabled.)
Senate Bill No. 90 Ciccone, Pearson, Quezada, Crowley, Felag, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- HEALTHY WORKPLACE (Creates the "Healthy Workplace Act of 2019" and would establish a cause of action against employers and employees for workplace bullying, harassment and other abusive conduct.)
Senate Bill No. 107 Algiere, Morgan, Paolino, de la Cruz, Rogers, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - BUSINESS CORPORATION TAX (Reduces the minimum corporate tax from four hundred dollars ($400) to two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for the year beginning on July 1, 2019, and abolishes the minimum tax for tax years beginning on or after July 1, 2020.)
Senate Bill No. 109 Lynch Prata, Metts, Cano, Quezada, Pearson, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS - MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (Provides that any minority business enterprise that is certified under the Federal Small Business Act shall be deemed certified by the department of administration as a minority business enterprise.)
Senate Bill No. 112 (General Treasurer) Cano, Gallo, Goodwin, Paolino, McCaffrey
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION -- FINANCIAL LITERACY (Mandates that a program of financial literacy be taught to all students in the public high schools throughout the state of Rhode Island.)
Senate Bill No. 122 Archambault, Felag, Conley, Cano, McCaffrey, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - START-UP RHODE ISLAND TAX FREE ZONE PROGRAM (Establishes the "Start-Up Rhode Island Act," whereby selected businesses would not be required to pay state income, business, corporate taxes, local taxes or franchise fees for a period of up to ten (10) years.)
Senate Bill No. 134 DiPalma, Pearson, Felag, Seveney, Cano, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - WITHHOLDING OF TAX (Provides that the non-resident withholding requirement for a corporation that sells real estate be consistent with the seven percent (7%) corporate income tax rate.)
Senate Bill No. 169 Quezada, Euer, Bell, Metts, Crowley, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- WRONGFUL DISCHARGE FROM EMPLOYMENT (Ends Rhode Island's "employment-at-will" legal doctrine, provides job protection for employees that satisfactorily perform their duties provides specific remedies for wrongful discharge.)
Senate Bill No. 172 Goodwin, Goldin, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EQUAL PAY DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING (Requires employers with 100 employees to yearly submit a form to the department of labor and training, which contains information regarding the compensation and hours worked of employees by age, gender, race, ethnicity, job category and occupation title.)
Senate Bill No. 174 Lynch Prata, Goodwin, Metts, McKenney, Conley, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - MINIMUM WAGES (Increases the hourly minimum wage effective January 2, 2020 to eleven dollars and fifty cents ($11.50) per hour and effective January 1, 2021, to twelve dollars and fifty cents ($12.50) per hour.
Senate Bill No. 175 Lawson, Ruggerio, Euer, Goodwin, McCaffrey, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR - UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DURING FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN (Enables federal employees, who are working during a government shutdown but not receiving wages, to receive unemployment benefits while they are working but not getting paid.)
Senate Bill No. 179 Gallo, Sosnowski, Sheehan, Lombardo, Ciccone, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- HEALTHY BEVERAGE ACT (Creates the "Healthy Beverage Act" which would require that children's meals offered by restaurants include certain healthy beverage options if the beverage is automatically included in the meal.)
Governor Sets Her Agenda in State of the State Address
Last Tuesday, Governor Gina Raimondo gave her Annual State of the State Address and provided a small insight into her budget that was released later that week. Highlighting her past four years as Governor, Raimondo pointed out that Rhode Island has “more jobs today than at any time in our state’s history.” She said, “We won’t stop until every one of our Rhode Islander’s has a shot at a good job. Later in her speech the Governor went on to say that three of four jobs lost during the last recession were ones where the employee only had to obtain a high school diploma. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of all jobs created since the last recession require some credential past high school. Governor Raimondo also stated that government must “make it easier and cheaper to do business in Rhode Island.”
In her speech, the Governor talked about items that are in her proposed new budget:
1. $30 million in new investment in K-12 education for local communities.
2. A plan to begin a program for universal pre-K education
3. An expansion in the Real Jobs training program
4. Coverage for the last 2 years of tuition at CCRI with an expansion to RI College and the University of RI
5. Doubling of the small business loan fund
6. Funding for mental health care needs in schools and training for teachers
In addition to the Budget, the Governor called on the General Assembly to increase the minimum wage to $11.10 to get on a path to an eventual minimum wage of $15; to codify Roe v. Wade; ban guns in schools and military guns in the state; and to pass Rhode Island’s own Affordable Care Act to ensure that the program stays in place in the event the federal government rescinds the program.
What’s in the Governor’s Budget – Article 5
Over the course of the next few weeks, Under the Dome will highlight the various budget Articles in H.5151 – the Governor’s budget proposal. We are starting with Article 5 which addresses revenue sources. This 70-page Article, which can be viewed at http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText19/HouseText19/Article-005.pdf does the following:
1. Increase the annual application fee for debt collectors from $100 to $500
2. Imposes the job development assessment on non-profit organizations with 1000+ employees. This assessment is currently set at .21% of payroll and is paid by most businesses in conjunction with the unemployment insurance tax. Today some non-profits are not subject to the unemployment insurance tax so they do not pay the job development assessment either. This would be effective January 1, 2020.
3. Creates a new fee on municipalities that submit names of delinquent car tax owners to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Today municipalities are required to submit a list of names of those delinquent in paying the tax. The Governor’s proposal would make the submission of the list an option, subject to a fee of $5 per taxpayer named on the list.
4. Re-distributes the tax monies collected on the rental of residential units. The percentages going to the local tourism entity, the local municipality and the RI Commerce Corporation changes depending upon the location of the rental unit, but 16.7% of the tax would go to the general fund. Today none of the tax collected goes to the general fund.
5. Increases the interest rate on delinquent debt owed to the state from prime +2% (currently 8.25%) to 13% or an interest rate established by a state agency, whichever is higher.
6. An expansion of the 7% sales tax to the following items:
- Digital Audio Works such as Netflix, on-demand movies, games, movie streaming, etc.
- Digital Audio Works such as audio book downloads
- Digital books
- It is unclear if downloaded apps would be included
- Association or club dues associated with any service that is assessed a sales tax. (The Chamber has requested additional information on this definition to further clarify what is included. We will provide an update when the information becomes available.)
- Hunting, Trapping and Shooting Services
- Lobbying Services
- Interior Design Services
- Commercial Buildings Services which specifically includes extermination services, commercial cleaning services, landscaping and maintenance services, carpet and upholstery clearing services and janitorial services. These services, if performed in a private residence with a home office, are not taxable
7. Increases the hotel tax from 5% to 6% with the additional revenue going to the general revenue fund
8. Creates new fees and taxes on E-liquid nicotine products. A distributor’s license for an entity that does not affix stamps would increase from $100 to $250. A dealer’s license application fee increases from $25 to $75 and the subsequent license will cost $250. Effective September 1, 2019, E-liquid products would be taxes at 40% of wholesale cost.
9. Increases the cigarette tax from $4.25 per pack to $4.50 per pack starting August 1, 2019. The cigarette dealer’s license renewal increases from $25 to $250.
10. Increases the tax on beverage case containers sold by a beverage wholesaler from $.04 per case to $.08 per case
11. Increases the tax on lubricating oil from $.05 per quart to $.10 per quart. Increase the tax on antifreeze from $.10 per gallon to $.20 per gallon. The tax on organic solvents increases from $.0025 per gallon to $.005 per gallon. The tax on tires increases from $.50 per tire to $1.00 per tire.
12. Increases the “hard to dispose material” fee for titling a new vehicles from $3.00 to $6.00.
13. Creates a new tax on firearms of 10% for any item more than $1.09. Exempt from the tax are the government, military, veteran organization purchasing items for ceremonial events, law enforcement and blank ammunition.
14. Increases the Oil Spill Prevention Administration and Response fee placed on every barrel of petroleum that comes into the state. The fee which currently raises about $2 million, would double. The OSPAR Fund, created to provide a clean-up fund in the event of a marine oil spill, would be expanded to pay for storm water management and brownfields remediation.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5129 Solomon, Casey, Johnston, Millea, Vella-Wilkinson, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY CONDOMINIUM LAW - RESALE OF UNITS (Imposes a penalty against a condominium association that fails to deliver a resale certificate within ten (10) days of a request by a unit owner.)
House Bill No. 5133 McNamara, Ackerman, Newberry, Lyle, Jackson, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - RESIDENTIAL SOLAR ENERGY - DISCLOSURE AND HOMEOWNERS BILL OF RIGHTS ACT (Grants solar energy system retail purchasers protections requiring disclosures in the retail/lease documents the right to cancel/rescind agreement within 90 days prior to installation/notice of liens filed on their property.)
House Bill No. 5137 Williams, Shekarchi, Vella-Wilkinson, Barros, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- FAIR HOUSING PRACTICES (Prohibits discrimination in housing against those persons who have a lawful source of income.)
House Bill No. 5142 Bennett, Edwards, McNamara, McEntee, Jacquard, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS -- PHYSICAL THERAPISTS (Includes in the practice of physical therapy ordering diagnostic images and studies provided they are performed and interpreted by other licensed health care professionals.)
House Bill No. 5145 Ruggiero, Shekarchi, Marszalkowski, Blazejewski, Craven, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS (Enables Rhode Island businesses to voluntarily promulgate standards to guide its business activities in a sustainable and responsible manner, as well as metrics for assessing whether it has met its objectives.)
ouse Bill No. 5146 Bennett, Edwards, McNamara, McEntee, Jacquard, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES (Requires health insurance coverage for annual pediatric mental health examinations when ordered by a physician.)
House Bill No. 5151 (Governor) Abney, AN ACT RELATING TO MAKING APPROPRIATIONS IN SUPPORT OF FY 2020. This is the Governor’s Budget Proposal.
Senate Bill No. 16 Miller, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - ENERGY FACILITY SITING ACT (Provides that applicants/licensees for fossil fuel electricity generating facilities invest in renewable energy facilities in conjunction with the fossil fuel facility construction.)
Senate Bill No. 17 DiPalma, Seveney, Conley, Miller, Goldin, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - JOBS DEVELOPMENT ACT (Sunsets/discontinues the Jobs Development Act rate reduction as of July 1, 2019.)
Senate Bill No. 20 Miller, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- LITTLE CIGAR TAX (Requires little cigars tax be imposed in the same manner as cigarette tax with twenty-five percent (25%) of revenue applied to smoking cessation programs and that little cigars be sold in packs of twenty (20) or more.)
Senate Bill No. 21 Satchell, Seveney, Miller, Conley, Quezada, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Adds three (3) new income tax brackets for purposes of Rhode Island state income taxation.)
Senate Bill No. 22 Satchell, Euer, Conley, Bell, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS 2013 (Provides that applicants for historic tax credits shall have ninety (90) days after the date of the commission's written determination certifying the rehabilitation to pay the required three percent (3%) non-refundable fee to the division of taxation.)
Senate Bill No. 24 Miller, Satchell, Conley, DiPalma, Sosnowski, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES -- RHODE ISLAND PATHWAYS PROJECT (Requires the executive office of health and human services (EOHHS) to conduct a study to assess the impact of using Medicaid funds to provide coverage for the treatment of the chronically homeless.)
Senate Bill No. 27 Lombardi, McCaffrey, Felag, Ciccone, Lombardo, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - FOOD DONATIONS (Repeals the current chapter of the general laws regarding immunity for food donors to food banks, and would adopt a new chapter with comprehensive immunity provisions for persons involved in donating food to food banks.)
Senate Bill No. 30 Lombardi, Ciccone, McCaffrey, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY - RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT (Mandates that a landlord have a general liability policy of at least $100,000 in effect for those injured on premises due to the landlord's negligence. Failure to provide proof of insurance would preclude a landlord from proceeding on an eviction action.)
House Committee Passes Rules
The House Committee on Rules passed proposed rules for the 2019-20 legislative years. Historically, few people outside the state house paid much attention to the rules, but this year was different. Over two hours of testimony was presented at a hearing. The bill that will go before the House floor this week contains two significant changes: 1. A required 24- hour public posting of committee substitute bills prior to committee votes; and 2. The creation of a Committee on Conduct.
The 24 hour posting requirement will not apply to the budget, which makes sense. The budget is different from every other bill in that is must sit on the House floor for 7 days prior to a full house vote - giving plenty of time for legislators and the public to review the Substitute bill passed by the House Finance Committee. The proposed rule also states that a Chair of a Committee may waive the 24 hour posting requirement if the change in the bill is technical, grammatical or not substantive in nature.
The Committee on Conduct would be responsible for investigating any claims of sexual harassment that takes place during the business of the House.
Committee memberships can be assigned once the rules are passed by the House.
Governor’s Task Force on Plastics
Governor Raimondo established a Task Force to Study the reduction of the use of plastics. Four subcommittees were established, including one on legislative activity. Three meetings have taken places with members of both the environmental community and the business community. At the last meeting, it appeared that a recommendation might come forward that would ban the use of plastic bags and allow businesses to charge a fee to customers that wish to use a paper bag. The discussion included the idea of allowing a business to keep the fee collected in order to defray some of the increased cost of using paper over plastic bags. The business community strongly advocated for preemption language to ensure that the rules are consistent across the state. It is as yet unclear what a final bill will look like and whether a consensus will be reached between the members of the subcommittee. A final meeting will be held January 22.
Another subcommittee of the Task Force is asking businesses and organizations for examples of programs or policies used to minimize or eliminate the use of single use plastics. A survey has been developed and can be found at http://bit.ly/DEMplastics-survey . As the subcommittee stated, “We have heard anecdotally and through first hand stories that many RI businesses have taken action on their own on this issue. We’d like to collect and share these stories, looking for ways to provide guidance and examples to others as part of our work group effort.”
Governor’s State of the State Address
Governor Gina Raimondo will be delivering her State of the State Address 7:00 p.m Tuesday, January 15th.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5045 McNamara, Millea, Ackerman, Jackson, Nardone, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - E-911 UNIFORM EMERGENCY TELEPHONE SYSTEM DIVISION (Mandates that the E-911 uniform emergency telephone system division develop and commence operation of a text-to-911 emergency system on January 1, 2020.)
House Bill No. 5048 Solomon, Jackson, McNamara, O'Brien, Vella-Wilkinson, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Creates a sales tax holiday for the days of August 10, 2019 and August 11, 2019.)
House Resolution No. 5049 Carson, JOINT RESOLUTION MAKING AN APPROPRIATION OF $12,000 TO THE RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (This resolution would authorize the appropriation of the sum of $12,000 to the Department of Transportation for a flower bulb planting machine.)
House Bill No. 5080 Lombardi, Hull, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- MOTOR VEHICLES REPARATION ACT (Penalizes driving any motor vehicle that is required to be registered in this or any other state without insurance and without proof of insurance.)
House Bill No. 5093 Lombardi, Hull, Quattrocchi, Nardone, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - REGULATORY POWERS OF ADMINISTRATION (Provides that any rate increase with respect to electric distribution companies would be no greater than the increase in the Consumer Price Index or five and one-half percent (5.5%), whichever is greater.)
House Bill No. 5097 Bennett, Lima, Williams, Blazejewski, Barros, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGES (Raises the existing minimum wage of ten dollars and fifty cents ($10.50) to eleven dollars and fifty cents ($11.50) on January 1, 2020, and then increase to twelve dollars and fifty cents ($12.50) on January 1, 2021.)
House Bill No. 5098 McNamara, Corvese, Jackson, McLaughlin, Fellela, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Exempts self-employed sole practicing investigators operating independently from any partnership, corporation, limited liability company or association from the sale tax imposed on services.)
House Bill No. 5099 Phillips, Solomon, Morin, McNamara, Johnston, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- ENFORCEMENT AND COLLECTION (Eliminates the ten dollar ($10.00) fee requirement for the sales tax permit.)
House Bill No. 5116 Ackerman, Shekarchi, Edwards, McNamara, Blazejewski, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW - GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS - DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES (Requires retail establishments to accept cash in payment for goods and services.)
Meet Your Legislators at 'Coffee and Commerce'
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nicholas Mattiello will be joining with East Bay area legislators for a “Coffee and Commerce” breakfast event, hosted by the East Bay Chamber of Commerce. Held Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 a.m. at the Events Room (directly behind Tom’s Market) at 16 Cutler St., Warren, the event is open to chamber members and the public.
Admission is $5 for chamber members and $10 for guests.
Continental breakfast will be provided by Bristol Bagel Works
YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER: Click Here
Guests will have a chance to listen to and ask questions of their legislators, including Speaker Mattiello, Sen. Walter Felag, Rep. Ken Marshall, Rep. Jason Knight, Rep. Liana Cassar, Sen. Jim Seveney and Rep. Donovan