Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Senate Finance to Meet Tuesday
The Senate Finance Committee will meet Tuesday at the Rise (when the Senate daily session ends) in the Senate Lounge. The Committee will take testimony on three sections of the Governor’s proposed budget: Article 2, section 3 creating a supplemental budget reserve, Article 4, section 1 freezing the gas tax rate, and what the committee is referring to as Article 2, section 1 rebating taxes paid on electricity and natural gas bills. The Governor talked about the rebate of the 4% gross receipts tax on electric bills and the 3% gross receipts tax on natural gas bills in his State of the State Address. It is estimated to average a rebate of $24 to electricity customers and $30 to natural gas customers. The total relief is estimated at $35 million. The actual website link on the General Assembly site for bill text, does not include the rebate language in Article 2. If you have an interest in the rebate program and wish to submit testimony you can still do so by referencing: “Public Service Corporations Tax (Temporary Relief).”
Taking a Look at the Remaining Articles in the Governor’s Budget
Article 2 – Relating to State Funds
This Article begins by changing the information technology investment fund into a restricted receipt account. Policy makers use restricted receipt accounts to make it more difficult to transfer money to other programs in future years. Monies can be moved, but an additional vote is needed to do so. The Governor proposes to take revenues derived from the sale of state-owned land and buildings and place it in this restricted receipt account.
The Governor proposes to create another new fund called the “supplemental state budget reserve account.” Future General Assemblies would be able to transfer money into this account. Should revenues come into the state less than anticipated - after the third quarter of a fiscal year - the General Assembly could make appropriations from the supplemental state budget reserve account for the difference between the estimated total resources and the original estimate made in the budget.
The budget Article eliminates the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council Projects from the state indirect cost recoveries requirement. Normally agencies get to keep 10% of monies placed into a restricted receipt account for which that agency oversees the program. The General Laws list restricted receipt accounts that are not subject to this 10% - EC4 would be another. The budget gives EC$ $4.5 million.
The last section of Article 2 creates a special fund, called the “large systems initiatives fund (LSI) to be administered by the chief information officer within the Department of Administration. This fund would be used to maintain the enterprise-wide software project for the executive branch. This is a large project meant to streamline payments and human resources.
Article 3 – Relating to Government Reform and Reorganization
Article 3 begins with the creation of the Rhode Island Longitudinal Data System Act. The purpose of the RILDS is to connect data across sectors over time to support research from early learning programs through postsecondary education and into employment. It is meant to track the same type of information on the same subjects at multiple points in time. The Article establishes a governing board, comprised of the participating agencies, charged with approving policies regarding how data requests are handled, what reports are to be produced, etc. Funding for this program will come from state revenues, federal grants and user fees.
The second section of the Article establishes a new definition for bridges in Rhode Island, “having an opening measured along the center of the roadway of eight feet or more between under copings of abutments.” The language clarifies that the state is financially responsible for bridges on state owned roads, not bridges on non-state roads. Even if the state performs an inspection on a non-state road, the state would not become responsible for the structure.
The Article proposes to allow a new group of honorably discharged national guard members, and their spouses, to be buried in the Rhode Island Veterans’ memorial cemetery. To qualify, the guard member had to complete at least six years of services with another state and reside in Rhode Island for at least two consecutive years immediately prior to death.
The Office of Management and Budget is given additional authority to evaluate executive branch agencies and assess the efficiency of the performance.
Section 7 of the Article changes the Minority Business Enterprise participation requirement for procurements and construction projects. Under current law procurement and construction projects must award at least 10% of the dollar value of the entire project to MBE companies. The Article increases the percentage to 15% and further requires that of the 15%, half must go to a woman owned business (7.5%).
The last section eliminates the Underground Storage Tank Advisory Board. This board has not met in many years, in large part due to its authority transferring to the Department of Environmental Management in 2016.
Article 5 – Relating to Energy and Environment
Article 5 addresses changes to the paint stewardship program, the mattresses recycling program and the electricity fee program.
Under current law, the paint program and the mattress program must both be run by a non-profit organization. Article 5 allows for-profit entities to bid to provide services to the state as well. The paint program would become a five-year contract entered into following a competitive bid process. The bids must include proposals to increase collection points across the state and to identify ways to motivate local infrastructure investment and business development in addition to job creation. The existing law requires a bidder to pay $2500 to cover the review of the plan. That fee is eliminated. Article 5 allows the re-constituted program to create a reserve fund up to 50% of the projected program costs in any given year. Once the 50% threshold is reached, the language calls for reducing the paint fee. If no entity bids to provide the service, the responsibility will fall to RI Resource Recovery. Similarly, the mattress program would also transition to a five-year contract with an entity, and the responsibility would remain with RI Resource Recovery if an entity does not win a bid. A 50% reserve fund is permitted under the budget article.
The third part of Article 5 makes changes to the demand-side management program. When originally passed into law, the surcharge on customers’ bills was set for a period of 21 years which means it would sunset in 2028. Article 5 extends the charge to 2030. Last year, $5 million was transferred to the RI Infrastructure bank to fund energy efficiency, renewable energy and demand-side management projects. Article 5 expands the scope of use for that money to include clean transportation, clean heating and energy storage projects. Article 5 transfers $4.5 million of the fees collected to the EC4 Committee (Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council). The 2021 Act on Climate charged the EC4 with developing a plan to reach the emission reduction targets set in statute. The $4.5 million can be used to develop the plan, invest directly in programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, publishing findings and emissions, and support the Climate Justice Workgroup – including “compensation to community participants.” Lastly, the Article eliminates RI Energy’s performance-based incentives that it received to administer the energy efficiency program.
Article 7 – Relating to Economic Development
Article 7 is similar to the Economic Development Article in previous budget years. Many current programs are set to expire December 31, 2023. The Governor-proposed article pushes the sunset clause to December 31, 2024 for the following programs: Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit, Rhode Island Tax Increment Financing, Tax Stabilization Incentive, First Wave Closing Fund Act, I-195 Redevelopment Project Fund Act, Small Business Assistance Program Act, Stay Invested in RI Wavemaker Fellowship, Main Street Rhode Island Streetscape Improvement Fund, Innovation Initiative, High School, College and Employer Partnerships, Air Service Development Fund and the Rhode Island Qualified Jobs Incentive Act of 2015.
In addition, a few program changes have been proposed. The Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credit Act has a maximum aggregate credit amount of $210 million. According to the Revenue Department, that aggregate amount has almost been reached. The Governor proposes to increase the cap to $225 million. The Stay Invested in RI Wavemaker Fellowship currently covers individuals in the STEM fields. Article 7 proposes to expand the purpose of the program to include teachers and healthcare individuals. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is instructed to assist Commerce Corporation in defining “teacher.” The RI Streetscape Improvement Fund would be amended to allow communities to use the fund for technical assistance, although the Commerce Corporation is charged with establishing a limit on the amount of the fund that can be used for this expanded purpose.
The following new bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5225 Kislak, Alzate, Henries, McGaw, Batista, Morales, Stewart, Felix, Sanchez, Speakman, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT (Requires all property owners of rental property to file with the secretary of state notice of their name, address, telephone number, email address and other information.)
House Resolution No. 5231 Shekarchi, Blazejewski, HOUSE RESOLUTION EXTENDING THE REPORTING AND EXPIRATION DATES OF THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO STUDY THE ENTIRE AREA OF LAND USE, PRESERVATION, DEVELOPMENT, HOUSING, ENVIRONMENT, AND REGULATION (Extends the reporting and expiration dates of the commission to study the entire area of land use, preservation, development, housing, environment, and regulation, from June 8, 2023, to April 30, 2025, and expires on June 30, 2025.)
House Bill No. 5239 Solomon, Finkelman, Cardillo, Lima, Corvese, Noret, Casimiro, Giraldo, Casey, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Creates a sales tax holiday on August 12 and 13, 2023.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText23/HouseText23/H5239.pdf
House Bill No. 5261 Stewart, Cruz, Morales, Henries, Kazarian, Alzate, Sanchez, Knight, AN ACT RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES -- ZONING ORDINANCES (Changes zoning distance notice requirements and requires website and social media hearing notice postings.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText23/HouseText23/H5261.pdf
Meet Kristen General Manager, CrossFit Trainer, and Nutrition Coach at Prowess Fitness & Nutrition
Kristen’s passion for health and fitness is only surpassed by her enthusiasm for helping others to reach their goals. A two-time Division I National Championship rower at Brown University, Kristen then started competitive running shortly after having her two children, qualifying for both the 2016 and 2017 Boston Marathon. While training for Boston, she took up CrossFit to increase her strength for her running, but she soon fell in love with the sport, and quickly traded in her running shoes for Nanos!
The hard work, competitive spirit, and community aspect of CrossFit are what have Kristen hooked, particularly at Prowess. Kristen wholeheartedly believes that nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit, as honing into her diet has personally helped her to see tremendous gains in her overall health and performance. As General Manager, CrossFit Trainer, and Nutrition Coach at Prowess, Kristen is committed to helping people in the East Bay community improve their health and well-being through fitness, nutrition, and the support of like-minded people – and is passionate about empowering and motivating them to get fit and stay healthy for life.
Governor’s Budget Released
Governor McKee released his vision for the FY2024 budget. The 204-page document addresses his ideas for spending the $610 million in surplus money, for a total budget of $13.8 billion. The spending plan includes additional money for education, mental health, the environment, infrastructure and capital projects, as well as tax cuts and tax freezes. Over the next few weeks, the Chamber will take a look at particular budget Articles to give you a closer look at what the budget contains. What’s next? The House Finance Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will begin to hold hearings in the next few weeks. Those hearings will continue through May. The May Revenue Estimating Conference is held mid-May. This conference reviews the revenue and expenditure data in order to determine the most up-to-date estimates; and then the House Finance Committee will vote out a revised budget in June if all goes to plan.
Budget Article 4 – Relating to Taxation
Article 4 proposes to (1) freeze the gas tax at its current level, (2) reduce the sales tax from 7% to 6.85%, and (3) eliminate the litter control license fee for businesses.
In 2014, the legislature passed a budget that included an automatic increase in the gasoline tax. Every two years the tax is adjusted by the percentage of increase in the Consumer Price Index. The next increase is scheduled to occur July 1, 2023, and it will be a 3-cent increase from the current 34 cents a gallon to 37 cents a gallon. The Governor proposes to freeze the tax at 34 cpg until July 1, 2025 at which time the tax would be adjusted accordingly. The freeze is estimated to save consumers $25 million over the next two years.
In his State of the State Address, Governor McKee pointed out that the State’s sales tax “was raised during the banking crisis with a promise to be reduced once the crisis was over. That didn’t happen.” The proposed budget includes a sales tax decrease from 7% to 6.85%. The Governor considers this reduction a “first phase” with the hope of continuing to decrease the tax until it matches Massachusetts at 6.25%. The initial reduction is estimated to reduce state revenues by $35 million a year. A tax rate of 6.25%. would result in a revenue reduction of $173 million a year.
The final piece of Article 4 is the elimination of the Taxation of Beverage Containers and Hard-To-Dispose Material. Under current law Beverage wholesalers (defined as those who engage in the “sale of beverage containers to beverage retailers in this state, including any brewer, manufacturer, or bottler who engages in those sales”) pay a fee based on their gross receipts. The fee starts at $25 and can go as high as $1000 per year. Article 4 eliminates the fee, saving Rhode Island wholesalers just under $1 million.
Budget Article 6 – Relating to Small Business
Article 6 (1) clarifies that municipalities have the ability to license second-hand metal article sales, (2) exempts local licensing requirements for second-hand consignment good, resale goods, thrift goods and antiques, (3) lowers the minimum corporate tax from $400 to $375, (4) eliminates the trade-in value for trucks and motorcycles from sales tax, and (5) creates a food products donation tax credit.
The first two elements of this article deal with local licensing requirements. The intent is to exempt from local licensure, “second-hand consignment goods” defined as “items, including but not limited to artwork, furniture, clothing, accessories and books that are sold by a third party, which receives a percentage of the revenue form the sale.” The Article also exempts “Resale goods” defined as “artwork, furniture, clothing, accessories and books that are purchased from the original owner and resold.” “Thrift Goods” are defined as “artwork, furniture, clothing accessories, and books, that are sold by or on behalf of a charity or non-profit organization. And, “Antiques” are defined as “items made in an earlier period that are collected and considered to have value because they are beautiful, rare, old, or of high quality.” Anyone selling these items would no longer need to be locally licensed if this Article passes as is.
The Governor proposes to decrease the minimum corporate tax from $400 a year to $375. This is estimated to affect 65,000 business entities. The revenue reduction has not yet been released.
Article 6 eliminates, from sales tax, the trade-in value on motorcycles and trucks with a gross weight of up to 14,000 pounds. This issue comes up every year in the legislature. This item is estimated to save consumers about $5 million per year.
Lastly, Article 6 creates a new “Food Products Donation Tax Credit” in the amount of 15% of the value of donated food up to $5,000 for a taxable year. Anyone who derives income from growing fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables or other food products, or raises animals for consumption can donate food to a food pantry and claim the credit against taxes owed to the state. The language includes a 4-year carryforward provision in the event the taxpayer has more credit available than tax liability. The Article clarifies that food product does not mean cannabis or cannabis products. The Division of Taxation is required to create forms suitable for filing the credit.
The following new bills have been filed:
Senate Bill No. 14 Miller, Valverde, Kallman, Gu, DiMario, Lauria, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- DISPOSABLE FOOD SERVICE CONTAINERS (Prohibits a covered establishment from preparing, selling, processing or providing food or beverages in or on a disposable food service container that is composed in whole or in part of polystyrene foam.)
Senate Bill No. 16 Kallman, DiMario, Euer, Miller, LaMountain, Pearson, Valverde, Brito, Gu, Ujifusa, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- COMPREHENSIVE PFAS BAN ACT OF 2023 (Prohibits use of PFAS in carpets, upholstered furniture, textile furnishings, apparel, cosmetics, juvenile products, cookware, firefighting foam and gives authority to the department of environmental management to regulate and the use.)
Senate Bill No. 19 Ciccone, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX
Senate Bill No. 23 Miller, Goodwin, Pearson, Gallo, Euer, Ruggerio, DiMario, Valverde, Acosta, Zurier, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE (Guarantees availability of coverage to eligible residents of state and does not limit or exclude coverage by imposing a preexisting condition exclusion.)
Senate Bill No. 36 Kallman, McKenney, Goodwin, Gallo, Burke, Ruggerio, LaMountain, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Provides for contractor liability for debts owed to an employer or third party on the wage claimants behalf, incurred by a subcontractor.)
Senate Bill No. 37 Ciccone, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGES (Sets the minimum wage at fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour commencing January 1, 2024, and at twenty dollars ($20.00) per hour commencing January 1, 2025.)
House Bill No. 5199 (Governor), AN ACT RELATING TO MAKING REVISED APPROPRIATIONS IN SUPPORT OF FY 2023
House Bill No. 5200 (Governor), AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE STATE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2024
House Bill No. 5159 McGaw, McNamara, Carson, Speakman, Ackerman, Potter, Donovan, Ajello, Kislak, Tanzi, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- PARKING FACILITIES AND PRIVILEGES (Requires installation of designated electric vehicle parking spaces, with charging capabilities, by certain business/ municipalities/housing developments in existing/new/expanded parking lots as of 1/1/24.)
House Bill No. 5175 McNamara, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES -- ACCESSIBLE RESIDENCE MODIFICATIONS (Allows health insurance plans to provide coverage for accessible residence modifications determined to be medically necessary.)
House Bill No. 5181 Sanchez, Morales, Stewart, Giraldo, Vella-Wilkinson, Potter, Batista, Henries, Caldwell, Slater, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGES (Repeals the law that allowed employers to pay some of their minor employees and employees who are full time students and not attained the age of nineteen (19) less than minimum hourly wages, requiring them to be paid a minimum hourly wage.)
House Bill No. 5192 Solomon, O'Brien, Craven, Casimiro, Casey, Cardillo, Kennedy, Azzinaro, J. Brien, Lima, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES--LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Reduces the sales tax rate to six percent (6%).)
House Bill No. 5209 Corvese, Vella-Wilkinson, Fellela, Solomon, AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE -- IDENTIFICATION AND APPREHENSION OF CRIMINALS -- REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS (Prohibits any employer from denying any person employment based on a prior criminal conviction and prohibits state from disqualifying any person from any occupation for which a license is required based on a prior conviction.)
Governor to Deliver the State of the State Address
Governor Dan McKee will present his State of the State Address Tuesday. The address will be televised and should include a brief outline of his budget priorities for FY2024 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. The State is expected to have a $610 million surplus for FY2024 only. In addition, various outlets have reported Rhode Island will have an additional $100 million surplus as a result of unspent FY2023 funds. While that money is available, it is important to note that restrictions are tied to those dollars based on federal government requirements.
Last week, state agencies appeared before the new Senate Finance Committee to provide a report detailing the income and expenditure process for the federal ARPA funds. The process required agencies to put on paper a plan for the acceptance and expenditure of ARPA funds. The Department of Administration then had to review each plan to ensure that the plan met all of the federal requirements so that the state would not risk having to reimburse the federal government at a later date. Once approved, the money was then physically transferred to the agency or entity carrying out the program; and, finally, the agency/entity could begin to implement the program.
Senate Names Chairs of Committees
Senate President Ruggerio named committee chairs and members last week. Leading the Senate Finance Committee is Senator Louis DiPalma who represents Senate District 12 – Little Compton, Middletown, Newport and Tiverton. Senator Dawn Euer is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She represents District 13, Newport and Jamestown. The Senate Environment Committee will be chaired by Senator Alana DiMario of District 36, North Kingstown, Narragansett and New Shoreham. Senator Mark McKenney, of District 30, Warwick, is the chair of Senate Oversight. Members of all of the committees can be found at: https://www.rilegislature.gov/Pages/committees.aspx The House is expected to name committee chairs and members following the adoption of the 2023-24 rules.
CHAMBER MEMBER ACTION REQUEST - Preparations for 2023 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. 5036 Shanley, Cortvriend, Craven, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- FILING OF ASSUMED NAME (Makes amendments necessary to use the term "trade name" rather than "assumed name", for purposes of the commercial law chapter on filing an assumed name/provides for the administration/regulation of the use of trade names with a 2 yr. renewal requirement.)
House Bill No. 5050 Edwards, Bennett, Kazarian, Shanley, Hull, Brien, Potter, Alzate, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS -- LABOR AND PAYMENT OF DEBTS BY CONTRACTORS (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 Bill No. 5080 J Lombardi, Hull, Felix, 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 Bill No. 5091 Bennett, Carson, Speakman, Cortvriend, McEntee, Caldwell, Shanley, Donovan, Ajello, Handy, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY FOR PACKAGING (Reduces equitable relationships between packaging producers and local governments and communities by establishing the Package Reduction and Recycling Program.)
BENJAMIN LESCAULT PROMOTED TO ADMINISTRATOR OF GRACE BARKER HEALTH
Ushers in third generation of family leadership of Warren business
WARREN, R.I. (January 12, 2023): Grace Barker Health, a skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living and adult day health provider located in Warren, announces that Benjamin Lescault, MSHCA, LNHA, ALRA has been promoted to administrator. The announcement was made by Mark and Mary Beth Lescault, co-owners of Grace Barker Health.
At age 26, Mr. Lescault is one of the youngest, most experienced administrators in the United States to lead an elder care organization. He grew up in the family business and most recently served in the capacity of assistant administrator where he was responsible for overseeing staff operations; facilities management; monitoring inventory and distribution of products and services; assisting with business planning, budget development and marketing; and other operational duties. Previously, he served Grace Barker Health as environmental services assistant.
Prior to joining Grace Barker Health, he was administrative intern at a nursing home in Newport, R.I., a position he held while pursuing his bachelor of science degree in healthcare administration and management with a minor in business administration (2018, magna cum laude) at Salve Regina University (Newport). He earned his master of science degree in the field of healthcare administration at the University.
Mr. Lescault is certified by the Rhode Island Department of Health as a licensed nursing home administrator and assisted living residence administrator.
“Long-term care is in Ben’s career DNA as he literally grew up at Grace Barker, pulling bingo numbers and playing with his toys as a child in the hallways,” states Mary Beth Lescault, whose mother established Grace Barker Nursing Home in 1966. “Now as the third generation of our family’s leadership, he will continue the legacy of caring for and providing quality elder services throughout the East Bay community and beyond. We are so proud of his accomplishments.”
Benjamin is a resident of Swansea, Massachusetts.
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Established in 1966 in historic Warren, Rhode Island, Grace Barker Health is a family- and locally-owned healthcare provider of skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living and adult day services for residents and families throughout the communities of Warren, Bristol, Barrington, Riverside, East Providence, Rumford, Portsmouth and Tiverton as well as nearby Swansea, Seekonk, Somerset and Rehoboth. The business is a member of the East Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Rhode Island Assisted Living Association. The Cove at Grace Barker offers skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation and The Willows at Grace Barker offers assisted living and adult day health services. Grace Barker Health is located on Barker Avenue in Warren, RI 02885; phone: 401-245-9100; web: www.GraceBarkerHealth.com.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katie Blais Community Programming and Events Manager Mount Hope Farm Tel: 401-245-1745 Email: email@example.com
** Calendar Listings ** Events at Mount Hope Farm January / February 2023
Recurring - Saturdays, 10 am to 12:30 Join us at our ongoing Farmers Market in our historic Barn with vendors of produce, baked goods, fish, cocktails and ethnic foods, along with artisans and more. Attend 10 markets through end of March and enter our Winter Warrior program to win a selection of market products.
Daily Throughout January, 8 am to 6 pm The StoryWalk at Mount Hope Farm features the gorgeous children's book The Night Gardener this month. If the StoryWalk concept is new to you, think of it as a great family outing where you enjoy nature and get a bit of exercise while stopping at stations that feature pages from a book perfect for young readers.
Saturday, January 21, 10 am to 12:30 pm Recycle your old electronics when Indie Cycle visits the Farmers Market at Mount Hope Farm. Accepting computers, TVs, monitors, printers, small household appliances, air conditioners, and much more. (Note: fee required for some items.) Details: https://indiecycle.blogspot.com/ Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, February 19, 10 to 11 am Warm up on winter Sunday mornings with gentle vinyasa flow and guided breath yoga in our cozy Barn. All levels are welcome. Sessions led by certified instructor Valerie Griffiths. Farm Members: $12 per session. Nonmembers: $15 per session.
Thursday, January 26, 6 to 7:30 pm The creative and knowledgeable staff of Bristol’s Thistle & Posy join us in the Barn with instruction on how to Build a Succulent Terrarium. All materials provided, so attendees leave with a very special plant arrangement to brighten up winter days. Two Gals Cocktails will have a cash bar and complimentary empanadas from The Perfect Empanada. Farm Members: $65. Nonmembers: $75. Details/registration: mounthopefarm.org/upcoming-events Saturday, January 28, 2 to 5 pm Two local physicians – Michael Fine, MD, and Edward Iannuccilli, MD – speak about expanding their medical careers to become published authors in a conversation entitled Doctoring Words. They share their stories of expanding their horizons to become published authors of memoirs, fiction and nonfiction, and offer tips on how you, too, can write your story and get it in print. Moderated by Dante Bellini, Jr., the director of the award-winning film Ken Burns: Here & There. Farm Members: $15. Nonmembers: $20.
Monday, February 13, 6 to 8:30 pm Our classes in making a perfect charcuterie board are always sellouts and this session – Gal-entines Day DIY – not only teaches how to make a creative board (presented by The Perfect Parcel) but also includes the basics of hand lettering (presented by Perfectly Personalized). All materials provided. Cash bar by Two Gals Cocktails. Tickets: $120.
Tuesday, February 14, 6 to 7:30 pm Our Valentine’s Day Date Night program offers couples a fun new way to celebrate the holiday. Crystal from The Perfect Parcel leads a lively session on making a creative – and delicious – Valentine’s Day themed charcuterie board. All materials provided. Cash bar by Two Gals Cocktails. Tickets: $85. Details/registration: mounthopefarm.org/upcoming-events About Mount Hope Farm: Mount Hope Farm is a 127-acre national historic site located in Bristol, Rhode Island. The property is privately owned and governed by The Mount Hope Trust in Bristol and is on the national register of historic placed since 1976. The Farm is a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and protect the integrity of its natural assets and its historical structures.
The 2023 Session Begins
Welcome to the 2023 Subscription to Under the Dome. Not only is it the beginning of a new session, but also the beginning of a new legislative term. New legislators were sworn in last week, and we await the official naming of House and Senate Committee members in addition to committee chairs.
Key dates for 2023 include the following:
Last day for Senate public bill introduction – To Be Announced (usually prior to Winter recess)
Last day for House public bill introduction – To Be Announced (usually prior to Winter recess)
Winter Recess – February 20-24, 2023
Spring Recess – April 10-14, 2023
Governor, Speaker Shekarchi and Senate President Ruggerio Announce Priorities
Last Tuesday, Governor Dan McKee was sworn in as Governor, and both Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio were re-elected to lead their legislative bodies. Below is a list of priorities each one highlighted in their inaugural/acceptance speeches.
Governor McKee’s Priorities: (1) Raising incomes for all Rhode Islanders – making sure everyone has the skills to get good-paying jobs, (2) Raising education outcomes for children to reach Massachusetts levels by 2030, and (3) create a healthier Rhode Island where by reducing chronic illness and improving health outcomes.
Speaker Shekarchi’s Priorities: (1) Review and address barriers to housing production in Rhode Island, (2) Make Rhode Island a leader in the bioscience field, and (3) Move away from fossil fuels.
Senate President Ruggerio’s Priorities: (1) Ensure every student receives a quality education – overhaul the school funding formula as well as fund a pre-k program for every child, (2) Ensure every Rhode Islander can access health care, especially mental health care, and (3) Ensure our children inherit a cleaner more resilient environment.
Division of Taxation Proposes Electronic Transfer Rule
The Division of Taxation released a proposed regulation based on legislation that was passed in 2022. The legislation requires “larger business registrants” to file taxes through the use of an electronic transfer system which the regulation calls the “Modernized Electronic Filing (MEF) system, administered by the Internal Revenue Service, streamline sales tax return,
and bulk electronic filings by third party providers.” It also calls for payment of taxes owed through the Division of Taxation’s on-line tax-payer portal, payments through MEF, single or bulk electronic payments by third party providers, payments made by EFT, and payments
through an authorized credit card processor.
The Regulation defines a "Larger business registrant" as a person who:
1. Operates as a business whose combined annual liability for all taxes administered by the Division of Taxation for the entity is or exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000.00); or
2. Operated as a business whose annual gross income is over one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) for the entity.
The regulation specifically states that “Individuals and trusts filing personal or fiduciary income tax returns are not larger business registrants for the purposes of R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-1-31.2.”
This requirement is set to become effective January 1, 2023; however, the public comment period for the proposed regulation ends January 30, 2023. To read the proposed regulation, or to submit comments, go to: https://rules.sos.ri.gov/promulgations/part/280-20-30-1
CHAMBER MEMBER ACTION REQUEST - Preparations for 2023 Session
Throughout the legislative session, the Chamber may be calling on you, asking for your assistance conveying our message on legislation to legislators. 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 _____________________. 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. 5012 BY Bennett, Baginski, McGaw, Fenton-Fung, Corvese, Solomon, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES -- PHYSICAL THERAPY COPAY (Limits copays, coinsurance or office deductibles for services of a physical therapist to the amount authorized for the services of a primary care physician or osteopath.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText23/HouseText23/H5012.pdf
House Bill No. 5015 BY Morales, Shallcross Smith, Speakman, Bennett, Cruz, McEntee, Henries, Vella-Wilkinson, Stewart, Tanzi, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGES (Repeals the law that prevented municipalities from establishing their own minimum wage for their employees.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText23/HouseText23/H5015.pdf