Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Governor to Unveil Budget Proposal Tuesday
Governor Dan McKee will give his State of the State Address Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The address will be televised and should include an outline of his budget priorities for FY2023 which begins in July. The budget is also expected to include the Governor’s proposal for spending the remainder of the federal relief dollars provided to Rhode Island.
State Releases Electric Vehicle Study and Recommendations
Last Month the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released a report entitled, “Electrifying Transportation: A Strategic Policy Guide for Improving Public Access to Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Rhode Island.” This report was created to comply with a requirement of legislation passed in 2021. The 91-page report can be viewed in its entirety at: http://www.energy.ri.gov/documents/Transportation/Electrifying%20Transportation%20Guide%20Dec%202021.pdf
According to the latest inventory, the transportation sector accounts for 35.5% of Rhode Island’s current greenhouse gas emissions. The heating sector accounts for approximately 33% of emissions. The electric sector accounts for 28.2%; and the remainder comes from “other sources.” In April, 2021, the legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, the 2021 Act on Climate. This law mandates Rhode Island meet specific emission reduction targets. Those targets are: 45% below 1990 levels by 2030; 80% below 1990 levels by 2040; and Net-zero emissions by 2050. This December Report is meant to lay out the initial policies necessary to meet the mandates.
As of December 3, 2021, 4,540 electric vehicles were registered in Rhode Island. Fifty-one (51) percent of electric vehicles registered in Rhode Island are battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and forty-nine (49) percent are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Combined, BEVs and PHEVs comprise less than one (1) percent of total light-duty vehicles registered in Rhode Island. While there are zero electric medium-duty vehicles and three (3) electric heavy-duty vehicles registered in Rhode Island as of December 3, 2021, the authors of the report believe these numbers are likely to increase as models become available and prices become more attractive for businesses.
The report lays out the following goals for State agencies in 2022:
Finally, the report asks the legislature to consider the following actions in upcoming sessions:
CHAMBER MEMBER ACTION REQUEST - Preparations for 2022 Session
The Chamber may be calling you, asking for your assistance as we prepare for this new session. Please go to https://vote.sos.ri.gov and click on “Find Your Elected Officials.” Enter zip code and address. Find your “Representative District” legislator and your “Senate District” legislator (if you live in Rhode Island). Email your name and the legislators’ names to _____________________. The Chamber will be compiling a database for future grassroots efforts. If you also know a legislator who lives in another district, please send that information to the Chamber as well and we will include it in the database.
Thank you for your help!
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 7013 Kennedy, Azzinaro, Edwards, Solomon, Ackerman, Craven, Phillips, Abney, Kazarian, Shanley ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION BY ONLINE MARKETPLACES (Requires high-volume third-party sellers, selling consumer goods on online marketplaces, to provide certain information to the marketplaces and disclose certain information to consumers on product listings.)
House Bill No. 7016 Lombardi, Hull, Cassar, Potter, Felix, Morales, Henries
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- COVID-19 PANDEMIC INSURANCE RECOVERY ACT (Allows businesses that had an insurance policy in place for business interruption as of March 9, 2020 or thereafter to recover from their insurance companies for a COVID-19 business impact.)
House Resolution No. 7022 BY Shanley ENTITLED, HOUSE RESOLUTION REINSTATING THE LIFE OF AND EXTENDING THE REPORTING AND EXPIRATION DATES OF THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION KNOWN AS THE "RHODE ISLAND ONLINE DATA TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY PROTECTION COMMISSION" (Reinstates the life and extends the reporting and expiration dates of the "Rhode Island Online Data Transparency and Privacy Protection Commission" from May 5, 2021, to May 5, 2022, and said commission expires on July 5, 2022.)
House Bill No. 7060 Alzate, McEntee, Caldwell, Lombardi, Carson
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES -- RETAIL LICENSES -- HAPPY HOUR (Allows happy hour drink specials served in conjunction with meals prepared on the premises sufficient to constitute breakfast, lunch or dinner, excluding snacks.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7060.pdf
House Bill No. 7065 McEntee, Cortvriend, Speakman, Donovan, Carson, Caldwell, Craven, Morales, Kislak, Ruggiero ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- PLASTIC WASTE REDUCTION ACT (Creates the "Plastic Waste Reduction Act" designed to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7065.pdf
House Bill No. 7077 Edwards, Fogarty, Bennett, Baginski, Shanley ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES (Requires that a participant or beneficiary of a health insurance plan incur no greater out-of-pocket costs for emergency services than they would have incurred with an in-network provider other than in-network cost sharing.)
House Bill No. 7078 Edwards, Fogarty, Caldwell, Bennett, Cassar, Filippi, Baginski, Shanley ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE (Requires a health plan to cover clinically appropriate and medically necessary residential or inpatient services, including detoxification and stabilization services, for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.)
A New Session Begins
Welcome to the first Under the Dome of 2022. Please watch your email as the Chamber will now be sending weekly updates on Mondays. We expect the legislative session to begin slowly as both the House and Senate attempt to deal with the latest surge of Covid in Rhode Island. For now, meetings will be held remotely or in a hybrid fashion, allowing the public to participate from home. Next week, the House and Senate will meet on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. for bill introductions and announcements.
Key dates for 2022 include the following:
Last day for House & Senate public bill introduction – February 10, 2022
Winter Recess – February 21-25, 2022
Spring Recess – April 18-22, 2022
The House adopted a new rule last year, which now takes effect. Each Representative has the ability to designate three of his/her 2021 bills to remain alive in 2022. Those bills will be assigned new 2022 numbers, reference the old 2021 number, and will pick up where the bill left off in 2021. For example, if 2021 H.1234 had a hearing in 2021 but was never voted on by the committee, that bill may now become 2022 H.3456 and can be brought up by the committee for a vote in 2022 with 48 hour posting notice. No additional hearing would be required in 2022. The maximum number of bills that could be in this new category is 225 (75 state representative times 3). If you have an interest in a carryover bill, it is important to contact the Chamber quickly. The Senate has NOT adopted the same rule. All Senate bills will be scheduled for a hearing in 2022 prior to committee passage. However, the Senate has passed bills the same day as a hearing; particularly bills that were passed by a committee in the previous year.
2021 Supplemental Budget Passed
Before formally closing out the 2021 session on January 4th, the legislature passed a supplemental budget allocating a portion of the federal funds that were given to the State. H.6494 Sub A http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/HouseText21/H6494A.pdf was quickly signed into law by the Governor. The following is a list of approved authorizations contained in the legislation. Keep in mind that agencies will have to promulgate rules regarding the new programs prior to distributing funds for their purposes listed:
CHAMBER MEMBER ACTION REQUEST - Preparations for 2022 Session
With the new House rule, and the potential to be meeting remotely for a period of time,
the Chamber may be calling you, asking for your assistance as we prepare for this new session. Please go to https://vote.sos.ri.gov and click on “Find Your Elected Officials.” Enter zip code and address. Find your “Representative District” legislator and your “Senate District” legislator (if you live in Rhode Island). Email your name and the legislators name to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chamber will be compiling a database for future grassroots efforts. If you also know, a legislator who lives in another district, please send that information to the Chamber as well and we will include it in the database.
Thank you for your help!
The following new bills have been filed:
Senate Bill No. 2014 Kallman, DiMario, Murray, Valverde, Ruggerio, Burke, Ciccone, DiPalma, Euer, Miller ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC FINANCE -- RHODE ISLAND SECURE CHOICE RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM ACT (Establishes the Rhode Island secure choice retirement savings program as a public corporation managing IRA-type investments. Requires employers to offer the program to employees or be subject to a $250 penalty per employee.)
House Bill No. 6605 Amore ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Same as 21H-5364 -- Extends the sales tax exemption of a manufacturer who processes raw materials into finished goods.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6605.pdf
House Bill No. 6628 Filippi ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, AND PARTNERSHIPS -- THE RHODE ISLAND LIMITED-LIABILITY COMPANY ACT (Same as 21H-5348 --Permits a member or members of a limited-liability company to avoid dissolution by buying the units owned by the other member or members seeking dissolution.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6628.pdf
House Resolution No. 6646 McGaw, Cassar, Kislak, Morales, Potter, Felix, Ajello, Cortvriend, Henries, Donovan ENTITLED, HOUSE RESOLUTION RESPECTFULLY URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING AN IMPROVED "MEDICARE FOR ALL" SINGLE PAYER PROGRAM THAT WOULD PROVIDE UNIVERSAL, COMPREHENSIVE AND AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE (Same as 21H-6078--) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6646.pdf
House Bill No. 6647 McGaw, Vella-Wilkinson, Baginski, Fellela, Alzate, Shekarchi, Kislak, Ackerman, Ajello, Cassar ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR EPINEPHRINE INJECTORS (Same as 21H-5463--Requires group health plans and health insurance issuers that provide prescription benefits to cover prescribed epinephrine injectors and cartridges/No copayment or deductible would be required to obtain a prescribed epinephrine injector) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6647.pdf
House Bill No. 6650 Nardone, Chippendale, Place, Quattrocchi, Price ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL (Same as 21H-5795--Establishes the office of inspector general as an independent administrative agency charged with the responsibility to investigate, detect, and prevent fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the expenditure of public funds.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6650.pdf
House Bill No. 6652 Noret, Casimiro, Vella-Wilkinson, Alzate, Solomon, Craven, Amore, Casey, Lima, Lombardi ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN (Same as 21H-5619 -- Requires children who seek a special limited work permit to successfully complete a training program which shall address workers' rights, workplace health and safety, and workers' compensation, to be established and funded by the DLT.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6652.pdf
House Bill No. 6658 Phillips, Caldwell, Noret, O'Brien, Serpa, Hawkins, Lima
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- STATE TAX OFFICIALS (Same as 21H-5213 -- Changes the rate of interest for underpayments of tax to prime rate plus six percent (6%). Also limits the assessment of interest to four (4) calendar years prior to the date on which notice of the delinquent payment is sent.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6658.pdf
House Bill No. 6659 Phillips, Caldwell, Carson, Cortvriend, Fellela, Casey, Filippi, Lima ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- UNFAIR SALES PRACTICES (Same as 21H-5769 Sub A --A provider of a club, facility, or services to a consumer must stop automatic deductions from the consumer’s account or credit card within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving a notice to stop from the consumer.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6659.pdf
House Bill No. 6664 Potter, Cassar, Baginski, Morales, Cortvriend, Kislak, McGaw, Tanzi, Giraldo, Ajello ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- THE RHODE ISLAND HEALTH CARE REFORM ACT OF 2004 -- HEALTH INSURANCE OVERSIGHT (Same as 21H-5772 -- Requires the health insurance commissioner to adopt a uniform set of medical criteria for prior authorization and create a required form to be used by a health insurer.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6664.pdf
House Bill No. 6670 Shallcross Smith ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- COLLECTION OF TAXES GENERALLY (Same as 21H-6092 -- Prohibits the tax sale of properties when litigation is pending disputing the amount owed.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6670.pdf
House Bill No. 6676 Tobon, Cardillo, Vella-Wilkinson ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- LEVY AND ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL TAXES (Same as 21H-5634 -- Requires cities and towns to assess renewable energy resources to be taxed as tangible property and the real property on which it is located shall not be reclassified, revalued or reassessed.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6676.pdf
Thursday, January 6, 2022 12:35 PM
Subject: Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Final Rule
Today, Treasury adopted the final rule implementing the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program under the American Rescue Plan. The final rule is the result of extensive dialogue with our stakeholders, including Congressional offices and recipient governments, and will enhance the capacity of state, local, and Tribal governments to meet immediate pandemic response needs and promote longer-term recovery.
The State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program provides governments across the country with the resources needed to:
Additional information and background on the final rule is provided below. Treasury invites House and Senate staff to attend an informational session on the final rule on Friday January 7th. You can register for the informational session using the following link.
About the Final Rule:
The final rule – which takes effect on April 1, 2022 – provides state, local, and Tribal governments with even broader flexibility to pursue a wider range of uses to respond to local public health and economic needs – as well as greater simplicity so they can focus on responding to the needs in their communities and maximizing the impact of their funds. Recipients may find the full text of the final rule on our website with available supporting materials.
Prior to April 1, 2022, recipients may take actions and use funds in a manner consistent with the final rule, and Treasury will not take action to enforce the Interim final rule if a use of funds is consistent with the terms of the final rule, regardless of when the SLFRF funds were used. Please see the Statement Regarding Compliance with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Interim Final Rule and Final Rule for more information.
Additional Treasury Resources for Navigating the Final rule:
Treasury is committed to working with recipients to help them digest the final rule and effectively maximize their use of funds.
Recipients are encouraged to consult the Overview of the Final Rule, which is a user guide that boils the rule text down into an easy-to-understand summary. The Overview of the Final Rule includes a non-exhaustive list of projects that recipients can undertake with these funds without undergoing additional independent analysis.
Treasury is hosting webinars with recipients and stakeholders to brief and answer questions about the Final Rule. We encourage Congressional offices to share these links with their local officials. Treasury will also provide a follow up briefing in the coming weeks for interested members of Congress.
If Treasury reaches RSVP capacity and you cannot attend a webinar or prefer to be briefed at your convenience, Treasury will post a recording of the webinar hosted on January 7, 2022.
Treasury looks forward to working with recipients to navigate any remaining questions that they may have about the final rule so they can deploy these resources in their communities with confidence. Please email our inbox at email@example.com with your questions and Treasury will respond as soon as possible.
Special Assistant, Office of Legislative Affairs
U.S. Department of the Treasury