Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
An Update from the State House
Paid Sick and Safety Leave Hearing Scheduled – ACTION NEEDED!
The House Labor Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday March 31st at 3:30 p.m. in Room 101 at the State House to discuss H.7633, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Healthy and Safe Families and Workplaces Act. This bill requires employers to provide paid sick and safety leave time which accumulates at the rate of one hour for every thirty hours an employee works, up to a maximum of fifty-six hours a year. The accumulated time can be carried over to the following year, but an employee cannot earn more than the fifty-six hours on an annual basis. Employers are not required to “buy out” the unused time, but they may do so by choice. Salaried employees are assumed to work forty hours a week (unless the employer can show the employee actually works less than forty hours). Sick/safety leave can be used for medical reasons as well as for preventive medical care, care of a family member, care for a child due to the closure of the child’s school for medical reasons, attend court proceedings associated with domestic violence or sexual assault, relocate due to domestic violence or sexual assault, or to care for a family member as a result of a domestic violence issue. The definition of family member includes: biological, adopted, foster child or stepchild regardless of age; biological, foster, stepparent or adoptive parent; spouse, domestic partner; grandparent, grandchild; sibling or “Any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.” Employees must give reasonable notice that they intend to take leave if it is possible under the circumstances; however, the employer must lay out in writing how to provide notice to the company. If an employee is absent for three consecutive days, an employer can require the employee to submit written documentation to prove the reason for the absence. Any out of pocket expenses associated with obtaining the documentation must be paid by the employer. Lastly, an employer cannot require the employee, as a condition of taking paid sick/safety leave, to find a replacement worker to cover the hours. The Chamber opposes the passage of H.7633.
If you know any of the following House Labor Committee members, please contact them prior to Thursday’s hearing and tell them you oppose the passage of H.7633.
Chairman Joseph Shekarchi Representative Carol Hagan McEntee
Representative Stephen Casey Representative Daniel McKiernan
Representative Michael Chippendale Representative Joseph McNamara
Representative Arthur Corvese Representative Helio Melo
Representative John “Jay” Edwards Representative Jared Nunes
Representative Deborah Fellela Representative Thomas Palangio
Representative Antonio Giarrusso Representative Stephen Ucci
Representative Kenneth Marshall Representative Thomas Winfield
Scheduling Bills Withdrawn By Sponsors
H.7515 and H.7634 were both withdrawn by the sponsors, meaning both bills are dead for this year. These bills were aimed at changing the employer/employee relationship by requiring employers to provide 14 day written work schedule notices, retention pay, flexible work schedule requests, and payment for work outside of the written schedule provided, etc. The Chamber worked hard to oppose both H.7515 and H.7634. Many thanks to all of the Chamber members that contacted their legislators about the legislation!
House Environment Committee Takes Testimony on Packaging Bill
Last week, the House Environment Committee heard testimony on H.7896, An Act Relating to Health and Safety – Producer Responsibility Program for Printed Paper and Packaging. The legislation requires branders of certain types of packaging to register with the state, reduce waste associated with its product, collect the used product, educate the public as to how to properly recycle the product and keep records on all of its activities. The bill mandates a 75% recycling rate which even RI Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) said was impossible. Fees would be assessed on branders to pay for government oversight of the programs. Any business commercially related to the packaging (wholesalers, retailers, leases) may be required to perform the same requirements if it is deemed necessary to meet the 75% recycling goal. No other state has adopted this legislation. Proponents of the bill touted Rhode Island’s small size as a perfect place to start the pilot program. The Chamber testified against the bill as did RIRRC. The Senate version S.2605 will be heard in the Senate Environment Committee Wednesday, March 30th at approximately 5:00 p.m. We will continue to monitor this legislation through the remainder of the session.
House Corporations Committee to Hear Car Information Bill
H.7711, An Act Relating to Motor and Other Vehicles – Consumer Car Information and Choice Act will be heard in the House Corporations Committee Tuesday, March 29th at approximately 4:30pm. In previous years the legislation was supported by AAA, and opposed by the car industry as well as the cellular phone industry. H.7711 would allow, beginning in 2019, for the collection of data through a vehicle’s computerized equipment and would further provide that information to certain entities for their use. Accessible information would include items such as VINs, diagnostic trouble codes and sensor data, speed, distance braking, acceleration, steering information, seat belt use, air bag deployment, collision information, geo-location, miles driven, fuel level and pressure, tire pressure, battery condition and odometer information. Lastly, the auto industry has stated that existing car models are not equipped to provide this information; so Rhode Island specific vehicles would have to be built to comply with the law.
Below is a list of new legislation that was filed this week. The list contains bill numbers, links to the legislation, and summary explanations.
House Bill No. 7977, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY - CHILD PRODUCTS AND UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE (Prohibits the manufacture, sale, and distribution of residential upholstered children's products that contain certain amounts of bromide or chlorine bonded to carbon that is added to a plastic, foam, or textile.)
House Bill No. 7979, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES - EQUAL RIGHTS OF BLIND AND DEAF PERSONS TO PUBLIC FACILITIES (Requires movie theaters to provide open captioning for persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.)
House Bill No. 7982, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES--LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Reduces the sales and use tax, commencing July 1, 2016, from the current level of seven percent (7%) in yearly increments of one quarter percent (.25%), until the level of six and one quarter percent (6.25%) is reached.)
House Bill No. 8009, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - BLACKSTONE VALLEY ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION ACT OF 2016 (Appropriates ten million dollars ($10,000,000) into a restricted account at the department of transportation known as the Pawtucket and Central Falls commuter rail station fund.)
Sensational disc jockey Jason Friese, owner of Signature Sounds, was welcomed into the Chamber on Sunday, March 21, with a ribbon cutting celebration at his new studio space at 30 Cutler St., Ste. 206, in Warren,
30 Cutler St. Ste. 206 Warren
Warren, RI - This April, a crowd is expected to gather at Highlander Charter School for a local business and family showcase – the East Bay Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Buy Local! Merchant Fair.
The Buy Local! Merchant Fair, sponsored by Highlander Charter School and The Children’s Workshop, takes place rain or shine, on Saturday, April 2, 2016, at the school, located at 360 Market St., in Warren. This year’s fair promotes the sale and awareness of goods and services produced or found locally – in Rhode Island’s East Bay area.
New this year is the East Bay Chamber’s partnership with East Bay Newspapers. The publishing company is launching its first-ever Summer Camp & Programs Expo, which will be held in conjunction with the Buy Local! Merchant Fair.
“This is an exciting, one-of-a-kind opportunity for locally-owned and operated businesses to come together in a big way,” said Michelle Cartwright, Chairperson of the East Bay Chamber Board of Directors. “Our Buy Local! Merchant Fair is a showcasing event, highlighting the small businesses that help maintain the economic vitality here in the East Bay.
“Encouraging shoppers to patronize local businesses creates a multiplier effect – dollars spent in the East Bay have a lasting impact on the prosperity of our residents and organizations,” Ms. Cartwright said.
The Fair boasts a selection of 40 local businesses and crafters as well as: face painting, a Rhode Island State Police K-9 demonstration, food trucks, the Gloria Gemma Hope Bus, the Bloodmobile, a fire truck and ambulance, and a performance by the Toe Jam Puppet Band at noon.
Fair goers will also have a chance to win the door prize – $100 in cash. And they won’t need to be present to claim it. Many of the booths may have their own raffle or giveaways.
“In order to win the door prize, attendees would have to complete a Bingo card,” Ms. Cartwright said. “Everyone gets a card upon entering, and must get a stamp from all the tables in order to be eligible for the door prize.”
The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
If you are wondering how job hunting skills can possibly help with finding love you are in for a wild surprise. According to Executive Recruiter and Career Coach E. Elizabeth “Beth” Carter and Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan, achieving the two goals require many of the same strategies. In their new book Job Search = Love Search: 10 Savvy Career Strategies that Help You Find Love Too, the co-authors reveal smart methods to land the job or the man of your dreams.
In this quirky and unconventional book, you can learn how to avoid common pitfalls of both search efforts, get proven tips to stand out from the crowd and recognize when the new job or man is right for you. The authors provide valuable insights to make either journey productive, positive and fun, while increasing your odds for success.
Chapter 2 deals with knowing you are a great catch as a new employee or a mate. Ronnie explains, “Men find confident women to be sexy, so remembering, you are a great catch can make you more appealing and help you recover more quickly from rejection. “The same holds true for interviewing,” according to Beth, who suggests that clients, “Create a personal mission statement to help you accurately portray who you are to potential employers.”
The material serves dual audiences: job seekers who have been downsized or are looking for a promotion to move their career forward and single, divorced or widowed women in their 30s, 40’s 50s+ seeking romance or thinking about a second shot at finding love again.
Get a copy of Job Search = Love Search: 10 Savvy Career Strategies that Help You Find Love Too on Amazon.com in paperback or for the Kindle.
About the Beth Carter
E. Elizabeth "Beth" Carter is President of Carter Consultants Ltd., an international executive search and research firm she founded in 1991. Beth Carter Enterprises, launched in 2011, encompasses executive, business and career coaching, workshops and presentations, and the DISC, Motivators, 360, and Emotional Intelligence assessments. Beth has been published in The Huffington Post, and has been quoted in articles including US News & World Report, Today.com, Yahoo Education and a book called Mogul Mom. She is a speaker and workshop facilitator for companies, universities, leadership conferences, women’s events, and career transition groups. Learn more about Beth’s services at www.BethCarterEnterprises.com and www.CarterConsultantsLtd.com.
About Ronnie Ryan
Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, works with single women who have hot careers and chilly love lives to find the right man. She found love and married after 40 and launched her successful dating coach practice in 2002. Ronnie is the author of several books and has been featured by the BBC, ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR, eHarmony, Huffington Post, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Her website and high-traffic, popular blog can be found at www.NeverTooLate.biz.
The East Bay Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting to celebrate Lauren Palmaccio, LMHC, joining its membership. Lauren is a licensed mental health counselor with specialties in trauma, PTSD, relationship issues and anxiety. Her new office is located at 60 Bay Spring Ave., Suite 2B in Barrington. Welcome Lauren!
Sea Potential, Tinker|Bristol’s 1st Enterprise-in-Residence,Named Finalist in U.S. Department of Energy’s Wave Energy Prize
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that Sea Potential is among the nine teams that have been named finalists in the Wave Energy Prize—a 20-month design-build-test competition—and will proceed to the next phase of the competition.
Sea Potential is the first “Enterprise-in-Residence” for Tinker|Bristol, the nonprofit manufacturing incubator and makerspace in Bristol, RI., whose Steering Committee mobilized its network of affiliates at Roger Williams University and the marine manufacturing community to advise the project team. Sea Potential will be designing and building the 1/20th scale model in the Tinker|Bristol makerspace in the historic Bristol Industrial Park in Bristol, RI. for the final round of the Wave Energy Prize this spring,
The nine finalists and two alternates, identified from the 17 official qualified teams (out of 97 contestants), will continue their quest to double the energy captured from ocean waves and win a prize purse totaling more than $2 million. Each of the finalists and alternates will receive seed funding from DOE to develop 1/20th scale models of their wave energy converter (WEC). These models will be tested at the nation's most advanced wave-making facility, the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Maneuvering and Seakeeping (MASK) Basin at Carderock, Md., beginning in summer of 2016.
“The Sea Potential team’s research into new designs for wave energy converters has focused on addressing the major challenge facing the emergence of a viable wave energy industry – how to produce more electricity at a lower cost, “ said team leader, Tim MacDonald. “The Wave Energy Prize (WEP) competition provides the opportunity to prove the new DUO design against alternative concepts. The competition offers a clear and transparent bench-marking process that will give confidence to potential investors that the world’s abundant offshore wave energy resources can be harvested in a commercially competitive manner.”
“The qualified teams’ efforts resulted in some very promising technologies for the judges to evaluate,” said Wes Scharmen, principal investigator at Ricardo, Inc. and chief judge of the Wave Energy Prize. “Based on our preliminary evaluation, the data indicates that many of the teams identified as finalists have the potential to achieve the ACE threshold, and thus the potential to exceed DOE’s program goal. We’re looking forward to further verifying their designs performance at 1/20th scale in the MASK Basin at Carderock this summer.”
ACE—a benefit-to-cost ratio—was selected by the Wave Energy Prize as a metric appropriate for comparing low Technology Readiness Level WEC concepts when there is not enough data to calculate the levelized cost of energy—itself a cost-to-benefit ratio—from a device. ACE is determined by dividing the wave energy extraction efficiency of a WEC by its structural cost. Finalists were determined based on their potential to achieve the doubling of the current state-of-the-art ACE value of 1.5 meters per million dollars (m/$M) to 3 m/$M during 1/20th scale tank testing at the MASK Basin, making them eligible to win the grand prize.
A panel of expert judges evaluated each qualified team based on their revised technical submissions, numerical modeling results, Model Design and Construction Plans, and the results of small-scale tank testing of their 1/50th scale models, and determined aggregate scores to identify the finalist pool.
The Wave Energy Prize is encouraging the development of game-changing WECs that will reduce the cost of wave energy, making it more competitive with traditional energy solutions.
To follow the progress of the Wave Energy Prize or for more information, go to waveenergyprize.org.
About Sea Potential
Sea Potential is a partnership between North Ireland wave energy specialist Pure Marine and RCV Bradenten LLC to design, build, test and deploy the DUO wave energy technology. The DUO Wave Energy Converter concept was conceived to develop wave energy technology that could improve productivity, leading to lower costs of generating electricity and accelerating the deployment of wave energy technology on offshore sites. The DUO is an axisymmetric wave energy converter that extracts energy from both the vertical and rotary motion of offshore waves, which has significant advantages in terms of productivity. Sea Potential will be incubated at Tinker|Bristol, Rhode Island’s manufacturing incubator and makerspace. For more information about Sea Potential, go to www.seapotential.com.
Tinker|Bristol is a nonprofit manufacturing incubator and makerspace located in the historic Bristol Industrial Park in downtown, Bristol, RI. It offers affordable access to shared manufacturing space, OSHEAN’s high-speed fiber-optic network, a complete tool and workshop area, rapid prototyping equipment including 3-D printers, and entrepreneurial development services. Tinker facilitates the hands-on innovation of products, manufacturing processes, materials and technologies. Its pioneering approach streamlines the pathway from ideation to adoption by facilitating cross-disciplinary collaboration. Tinker|Bristol breaks through barriers to job growth by uniquely harnessing the Ocean State’s distinctive assets, at the grass roots level, in the collaborative environment of a makerspace. For more information about Tinker|Bristol, go to www.tinkerbristol.org.