Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus
• The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
• Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
• SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
• Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
• These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
• SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
• For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail email@example.com. • Visit SBA.gov/disaster for more information.
Coronavirus Special Topic
Conference Call Series
Conference Call Topics Force Majeure, Cyber Risks in Teleworking, SBA Disaster Loan Available, HR Considerations in Teleworking, ThomasNet Manufacturing Survey Results, Aerospace/Defense related Issues and more!
Please join the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce for our special topic conference call series. This series of conference calls will run throughout the Spring 2020.
Registration for this series is FREE. Please register using the button below, you only have to register once as the conference call details will be identical for every topic.
Schedule:Wednesday, March 18, 2020 (1pm-2pm Eastern)Force Majeure both for Contracts/Suppliers, Cancellation of Trade Shows Robinson & Cole LLP partners Jeff White and Taylor Shea will discuss the impact that coronavirus is having or may have on commercial transactions, including in the supply chain. They will discuss some of the basics surrounding “force majeure” clauses and how companies can plan for and react to the current health emergency.
Thursday, March 19, 2020 (1pm-2pm Eastern)ThomasNet Survey and How Business are Coping Thomas, North America’s leading industrial sourcing and marketing platform, surveyed over 1,000 manufacturing companies to understand coronavirus’ immediate impacts on North American manufacturing. Listen to their results and discussion. Speaker: Tony Uphoff, CEO, ThomasNet
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 (1pm-2pm Eastern)SBA Disaster LoanThe SBA will be providing to small businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) Up to $2 Million in Disaster Assistance Loans. Wendell Davis, Regional Administrator, SBA will discuss the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and how eligible companies can benefit from the program.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (11am - 12pm Eastern)Aerospace/Defense Supply Chain Firms—Evolving Business Practices and Business Development Strategies Amidst COVID-19Hear from the Midlands Aerospace Alliance and Netherlands Industries for Defense & Security about how COVID-19 has affected their member firms, strategies European firms have employed to keep business moving forward, and an idea exchange for how transatlantic business relationships can be maintained amidst the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation.
Speakers: Dr. Andrew Mair, Chief Executive, Midlands Aerospace Alliance
Mr. Peter Huis in ’t Veld, Business Development Manager, Netherlands Industries for Defense & Security (NIDV)
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 (1pm-2pm Eastern)Cyber Security Concerns While Teleworking Employees that normally work from their work PC are now using personal equipment and residential internet access. What are the risks and best way to mitigate.
Speakers: Andy Sauer, Director of Cybersecurity, Steel Root
Shahryar Shaghaghi, Principal, CohnReznick Advisory
Thursday, March 26, 2020 (1pm- 2pm Eastern)Employment Issues Related to TeleworkingMatthew T. Miklave, Partner, Robinson & Cole LLP will discuss HR issues presented by coronavirus and off site working along with federal, state and local policies.
Registration for this series is FREE. Please register using the link below, you only have to register once as the conference call details will be the same for every topic. Please check this web page frequently for updates.
Register Here Series Details
Register Here Series Detail
SBA Rhode Island District Office380 Westminster Street, Suite 501
This segment of Under the Dome has been re-written numerus times in the last few days. As of Sunday at 4:30 p.m. the Rhode Island State will be closed this week, with a further evaluation of the timeframe to come.
Governor Raimondo’s declaration of a state of emergency triggered state anti-price gouging statutes.
Retailers are banned by law from charging “unconscionably high” prices for necessary products, which is defined as follows: “"Unconscionably high price" means the amount charged represents a gross disparity between the average prices at which the same or similar commodity was readily available and sold or offered for sale within the local trade area in the usual course of business during the thirty (30) days immediately before the declaration of the market emergency and the additional charges are not substantially attributable to increased cost to retailers, imposed by their suppliers, including replacement costs imposed by the vendors' source. Additionally, the average price calculation during said thirty-day (30) period shall not include discounted prices set and offered as a result of bona fide manufacturer's or supplier's limited discounts or rebates.”
A violation of the law triggers penalties – a flat $100 fine, and a second fine up to $1000 per violation with a cap of $25,000 in a 24-hour period.
Last Week At the State House
Minimum Wage – Governor Raimondo signed both H.7157 SubA and S.2147 SubA raising the minimum wage to $11.50 effective October 1, 2020.
Article 20 of the Budget – employer reporting requirement – The House Finance Committee heard testimony from a number of business groups last week concerning a RIte Share wrap around proposal put forth by the Governor. The proposal requires businesses with 50+ employees to:
1. Submit an annual report to the Executive Office and Health and Human Services and the Division of Taxation providing “sufficient and necessary information for the Medicaid agency to determine employee eligibility for RIte Share. The Chamber testified that this language is concerning because no one knows for sure what it means. Is it simply a list of employee who are covered by insurance and the health insurance plan offered by business? Is it a more comprehensive report providing personal information about each employee that does not have coverage including family income, size or alternate health care information? Failure to submit the information requested results in a $5000 fine which the Chamber also said was too high.
2. Submit quarterly reports outlining which employees are enrolled in the employer’s health care plan and which employees are not covered. The quarterly report must also include the names of individuals no longer employed by the business. Failure to file this report brings a fine of $2500 – again, too high.
3. Refrain from offering employees a financial incentive to turn down the employer’s health insurance and remain on Medicaid. The Chamber raised concerns that this language could be interpreted to ban giving employees a bump in pay if they do not take the employer’s health insurance. Some employees choose to take a spouse’s or a parent’s health coverage. We want to be sure employees are not penalized for making good family choices, nor are employers penalized by requiring double coverage on employees.
It unclear whether these provisions would apply to businesses with 50 or more individuals working; or if, like the Affordable Care Act, it would apply to businesses with 50 or more FTEs (employees working 30 or more hours a week). ACA also excludes seasonal businesses where employees work less than 120 days a year or less than 4 calendar months. The Chamber suggested that any program, if it were to move forward, should utilize the ACA definition.
The Chamber will continue to monitor and advocate on this issue as it evolves during the budget process.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7990 Corvese, Canario, Azzinaro, Ucci, Cortvriend, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE - PROCEDURE GENERALLY - LEVY AND SALE ON EXECUTION (Exempts from attachment five hundred dollars ($500) in savings or deposits in financial or banking institutions.)
House Bill No. 7999 Casey, Kennedy, Shanley, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS -- CONTRACTORS' REGISTRATION AND LICENSING BOARD
House Bill No. 8000 Blazejewski, Solomon, Kazarian, Cassar, Johnston, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY - CATASTROPHIC ILLNESS IN CHILDREN RELIEF FUND (Establishes Children's Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund to provide finance assistance to families for medical expenses not covered by state or federal programs or insurance contract.)
House Bill No. 8002 Phillips, Shekarchi, Corvese, Filippi, Morin, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- ESTATE AND TRANSFER TAXES--LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Increases the exemption for estate taxes to two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000) effective January 1, 2022. There would be a further increased estate tax exemption to five million dollars ($5,000,000) effective January 1, 2024.)
House Bill No. 8004 Canario, Shekarchi, Jacquard, Kennedy, Craven, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES (Makes it an unlawful practice to discriminate in the sale of a product or service based on a person's lawful employment or political affiliation/position.)
For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit the official page of the Rhode Island Department of Health.
For most recent info on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
visit the Rhode Island Dept. of Health: https://health.ri.gov/
contact 401-222-8022 (Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm) or email RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov
After hours: Call 211
If companies have questions regarding access to capital and other lending options, please call the Small Business Hotline at (401) 521-HELP or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Labor and Training stands ready to assist employees and employers who are affected or have questions. DLT is increasing the flexibility and manageability of the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) and the Unemployment Insurance, including waiving the seven-day minimum amount of time and previously required medical certification. Affected businesses with questions on Unemployment Insurance, Paid Sick and Safe Leave, or other work-related programs should contact the DLT by emailing email@example.com or calling (401) 462-2020.
Additionally, Commerce is working with the Small Business Administration on unlocking emergency tools at the federal level. If a business has been affected by this event, we are asking them to fill out this estimated disaster injury worksheet. Accurate responses to the questions below will assist in evaluating a request for an economic injury disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. This survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/estimated-disaster-economic-injury-worksheet
If your business would like to provide a charitable donation, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more updated information on Commerceri services and efforts, please visit http://commerceri.com/covid-19
How to Navigate the Coronavirus Crisis
The BBB is Committed to help business owners manage the current situation of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, currently disrupting supply chains, customers, and the lives of employees. It's important to remain calm, stay informed and take proactive measures in keeping the health and safety of everyone a top priority.
BBB recommends the following tips for businesses in handling customer, employee and business relations in light of coronavirus concerns: read more >>
Last Week At The State House
Last week business testified against a number of bills including the restrictive scheduling bill that calls for employers to provide 14 days-notice of work schedules and requires employers to pay if that schedule is altered. Proponents accused the business community of “weaponizing” the coronavirus when the virus, as well as weather events, were used as examples of situations outside of the employers’ control.
The mandated greenhouse gas emission reduction bill received a tremendous amount of attention including support from Director Janet Coit of the Department of Environmental Management. The Chamber testified against the bill. If passed, the state would be forced to implement programs such as converting heating systems to electric heat and replacing vehicles with electric vehicles. According to the US Energy Information Agency, 93% of Rhode Island’s electricity is generated by natural gas – a fossil fuel that would be eliminated under this bill. Should all residential and commercial buildings switch to electric heat, the state would need to generate an additional 75 GW of electricity. If geothermal heating is the alternative of choice, the state would need 44 GW of additional electricity (information disclosed at DEM’s heating sector stakeholder meeting last month). This additional electricity demand does not include any increase in electric vehicle use. A similar bill S.2404, will be heard in the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee Wednesday, March 13th in Room 211. S.2404 requires electricity sold to Rhode Island consumers to be obtained from renewable energy sources only by 2030.
This Week At the State House
Tuesday, March 10th At the Rise (approximately 4:30 p.m.)
House Finance will be taking testimony in Room 35 on the Governor’s proposal to require businesses with fifty employees or more (not 50 FTEs) to provide reports to the state concerning health insurance coverage of employees. Employers would be required to annually provide to the State “sufficient and necessary information” for the Medicaid agency to determine an employee’s eligibility for the expanded RIte Share program. Also, employers would have to provide quarterly reports (1) notifying the State when an employee is no longer working for the employer or has lost Employer Sponsored Insurance (ESI), and (2) stating which employees are covered by ESI and which employees are not covered. Employers would be required to provide employees with information about RIte Share with enrollment materials; and to participate in an employer education and outreach campaign to be run by the Executive Office of Human Services. The first report would be due between November 15, 2020, and December 15, 2020. Lastly, employers would NOT be able to offer “financial incentives for employees to turn down ESI and remain on Medicaid.” This last requirement seems to suggest that employers could not provide any financial “bump” to employees that choose to decline health insurance for any reason (even if the spouse has insurance), because the employer would have to delve into the employee’s reasons for turning down the insurance in order to provide the financial “bump.” Some employers do provide a financial bump to employees that can show they are covered on a spouse’s insurance. It’s unclear whether this practice may still be permitted under the Governor’s proposal.
The House Corporations Committee will meet in Room 203. One bill up for hearing is H.7699, An Act Relating to Insurance. H.7699 appears to allow an employee who is eligible for Medicare to elect to enroll in Medicare and allow the remainder of the employee’s family to retain the employer’s insurance if they are covered under the employer. The employer must agree to the change.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee also meets Tuesday in the Senate Lounge. S.2465, An Act Relating to Health and Safety, establishes a Children's Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund to provide finance assistance to families for medical expenses not covered by state or federal programs or insurance contract. Unfortunately, monies for the Fund are raised through an annual $1.50 per employee surcharge on businesses.
Wednesday, March 11th At the Rise
House Labor will be meeting in Room 203. H.7877, An Act Relating to Holidays and Days of Special Observances will be heard. Under current law, some businesses are exempt from paying premium pay if an employee is working Sunday as a part of his or her 40 hour work week. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the last two states in the country to require premium pay. On January 1, 2023, Rhode Island will be the last state in the country as Massachusetts eliminates the requirement at that time. H.7877 takes Rhode Island in the opposite direction by making it more difficult to qualify for the premium pay exemption. The bill suggests allowing an exemption only for businesses that: (1) Pay employees at least 200% of the regular state minimum wage; (2) Do not use temporary employment agencies to staff operations; (3) Offer employer-funded health care benefits to employees; (4) Offer employer-funded retirement options to employees; (5) Have no federal labor law or state labor law violations within the last 10 years; (6) Have no environmental law or regulation violations within the last 10 years; (7) Have no violations of anti-discrimination laws within the last 10 years; and (8) Have no settlements of alleged violations of labor or environmental laws within the last ten years.
Unique Bill of the Week
S.2694, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Implementation Devices As Condition of Employment says “No employer may require an employee or any prospective employee to implant, or undergo a procedure to implant a device in the employee’s or prospective employee’s body, as a condition of employment in a particular position, or as a condition of receiving additional compensation or other benefits.” Additionally, “No employer may discriminate against an employee with respect to the employee’s compensation and benefits or terms and conditions of employment based on the employee’s refusal” to undergo the implantation procedure. The intent of S.2694 has nothing to do with a flu shot or other medical vaccination. It addresses the implantation of microchips in employees. The Chamber is unaware, at this time, of any business that requires such implantation.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 7965 Jacquard, AN ACT RELATING TO CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, AND PARTNERSHIPS (Allows nonprofit corporations to merge pr consolidate with other business entities or to convert into an other business entity within or outside of this state. It allows other business entities to convert to domestic nonprofit corporations.)
House Bill No. 7970 Ucci, Williams, Corvese, Craven, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- LEVY AND ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL TAXES (Requires municipalities to tax renewable energy resources as tangible property without affecting the real property on which it is located. Excepts farmland, which shall be reassessed at the predated farmland classification.)
House Bill No. 7974 Edwards, Williams, Caldwell, Shekarchi, Abney, 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.)
Senate Bill No. 2635 Euer, Murray, Metts, Quezada, McCaffrey, AN ACT RELATING TO WATERS AND NAVIGATION - STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - HEALTH AND SAFETY (Updates and modernize the Department of Environmental Management’s ability to enforce environmental laws.)
Senate Bill No. 2636 Miller, Sosnowski, Conley, Euer, McCaffrey, 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. 2641 McKenney, Sheehan, Rogers, Paolino, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX (This act would phase-out the taxation of pensions and annuities over a five (5) year period beginning on January 1, 2021.)
Senate Bill No. 2645 Felag, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - BEER AND MALT BEVERAGE EXEMPTION (Exempts beer and malt beverage from sales tax.)
Senate Bill No. 2647 DiPalma, Seveney, Coyne, Murray, AN ACT RELATING TO STATUTES AND STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION -- PAYMENT OF STATUTORY FEES (Facilitates state departments/agencies to implement electronic filing of applications for licenses/permits/ registrations/certificates by allowing state vendor to withhold commission for developing and implementing electronic filing web-based system.)
Senate Bill No. 2650
(Dept. of Revenue)
BY Seveney, DiPalma, Coyne, Valverde, Euer
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Expands the definition of sales to include any license, lease, or rental of prewritten or vendor-hosted computer software and specified digital products. This act would also define "end-user" for specified digital products.)
Senate Bill No. 2656 Sosnowski, Felag, McCaffrey, Ruggerio, Conley, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- SANITATION IN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS (Defines what constitutes a multi-use food and beverage storage container and provides for sanitary use of said containers.)
Senate Bill No. 2658 Miller, Ruggerio, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Conley, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE (Requires individual health insurers, large group health insurers and small employer health insurers to provide coverage for ten (10) categories of essential health benefits listed in the act.)
Senate Bill No. 2694 Lawson, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Lynch Prata, Satchell, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- IMPLANTATION DEVICES AS CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT (This act would prohibit an employer from subjecting its employees or prospective employees to the implantation of an implantation device. It would create criminal penalties as well as civil damages, that may be assessed against violating employers.)
Senate Bill No. 2705 Lawson, Ciccone, Lombardi, Lombardo, Metts, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- ESTABLISHING THE "COMMUTER TRANSPORTATION BENEFITS ACT" (This act would establish the commuter transportation benefit act. Employers with five hundred (500) or more employees would provide a pre-tax transportation fringe benefit program or provide transportation to the employees.)
Senate Bill No. 2708 Goldin, Cano, Miller, Lawson, Goodwin, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- TEMPORARY DISABILITY INSURANCE--GENERAL PROVISIONS (Increases taxable wage base for TDI/TCI contributions/coverage/maximum weeks for TC leave/provides fines/penalties for non-reinstatement of employee/creates tax credit for low wage employees.)
This Week At The State House
As expected, many new bills were filed this week. The House added 306 bills to their workload. The Senate added 232. More bills will be forthcoming, but this is traditionally the week when the bulk of the bills are put forward. Twenty-six hearings have been scheduled for this week as well. This edition selects some of those hearings for your consideration.
Tuesday, March 3rd – all to take place At the Rise (approximately 4:30 p.m.)
The House Finance Committee will take public testimony in Room 35 on the Governor’s budget proposal – Article 8. If any of these issues affect your business, please attend and testify. This Article makes the following changes:
The House Committee on Small Business will hear two bills in Room 205 addressing breweries. H.7890 requires breweries that choose to sell their product for on-site consumption to (1) maintain liquor liability insurance, (2) require their bartenders to complete an alcohol server training program – a program all other Rhode Island bartenders must complete, and (3) comply with Department of Health regulations such as keeping keg lines clean, etc. H.7891 will also be heard. The bill allows for increased sales of alcohol at breweries to 3 drinks which means two 2 oz of spirits or 2 oz of primary spirits. Breweries would also be able to increase their off-premise sales to twelve 750 ml bottles of beer or twenty-four 375 ml bottles of distilled spirits per visitor, per day.
House Judiciary will meet in the House Lounge. One bill on the agenda is H.7539. If an employer fails to pay an employee wages amounting to more than $1500, that employer would be guilty of a felony. If the amount owed is between $1500 and $5000, the penalty is up to $1500 and up to 3 years in prison. If the amount owed is between $5000 and $10,000, the penalty is a fine of up to $3000 and up to 6 years in prison. If the amount is greater than $10,000, the penalty is up to $5000 and up to 10 years in prison. Under current law, these violations are misdemeanors.
Wednesday, March 4th at the Rise (approximately 4:30 pm)
The House Labor Committee will be discussing a number of bills Wednesday. H.7466 would raise the tip wage $.50 each year until it reaches 2/3 of the current minimum wage. After that, the tip wage would increase in conjunction with any minimum wage increase so that it always remains 2/3 of the minimum wage. H.7570 raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour and then ties it to the Consumer Price Index thereafter.
H.7875 – Predictive Scheduling will also be heard in the House Labor Committee. This bill requires employers to do the following:
* Upon hiring, an employer must provide each employee with a good faith estimate in writing, of the number of hours and the days and times the employee is expected to work each week.
* Employees must be given a written schedule for a period of 14 days throughout the employment
* Employees can decline to work any hours not included in the 14 day schedule, and if such change is agreed to, the employer must provide the employee with a revised schedule reflecting the change within 24 hours
* Employers must post, in a public place, the schedule for all employees working or on call
* If an employer adds or subtracts hours within the 14 day schedule, the employee is entitled to “predictability pay” in addition to wages. “Predictability pay” is defined as payments to an employee, calculated on an hourly basis at the employee's regular rate of pay, as compensation for changes made by an employer to an employee's schedule pursuant to § 28-12.1-4, in addition to any wages earned for work performed by that employee.” This is basically double time pay.
* Employees are entitled to 4 hours of pay (or less if the scheduled shift is less than 4 hours) if the employee shows up for work and is sent home or if the employee is notified less than 24 hours before the shift begins, that the employee is not needed. Predictability pay is not required under these circumstances – only regular pay.
* An employee has the right to decline work hours that occur less than 11 hours after the end of a previous day’s shift, during the 11 hours that follows the end of a shift that spanned 2 days, and work that is more than 6 consecutive days.
* H.7875 also includes a section that calls for equal hourly pay for employees and opportunities for advancement if the skills, duties and responsibilities are substantially the same. Different wages are permitted for seniority or a merit system.
* Lastly, employees are entitled to a “retention pay” of $150 per week. So if a weather event occurs closing the business, employees must be paid at least $150 per week if they are unable to work do to the business closure.
The bill can be viewed at this link:
House Bill No. 7875 Williams, Ucci, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- HOURS AND SCHEDULING (Requires employers to give their employees at least two (2) weeks notice of their work schedule and other notices scheduling rights and remedies.)
Thursday, March 5th at the Rise (approximately 4:30 pm)
House Environment Committee will meet in Room 101. H.7399 will likely get plenty of attention. This bill mandates that Rhode Island meet specific greenhouse gas emission reductions. The State would be required to reduce emissions 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 (this milestone has already been met); 50% reduction in emissions by 2035 (current law calls for trying to meet 45%); and net-zero emissions by 2050 (current law calls for trying to meet 80%). The big difference in this bill – aside from the percentage increases – is the mandatory nature of the targets. Current law sets these percentages as goals to try to meet if possible. H.7399 allows individuals to file suit in Superior Court if the targets are not met; and calls for the payment of attorneys’ fees to bring the case. The introduction of the mandatory nature of this bill would allow the Governor and the Climate Change Commission to unilaterally take actions such as the cap and trade program proposed under TCI, mandating the purchase of electric vehicles by the public, mandate buildings be converted to electric heat, institute a vehicle miles travel tax on drivers…all without any legislative approval. This bill could prove very costly to businesses and residents with no avenue for expressing opposition to the proposals.
The following bills were filed last week:
Senate Bill No. 2494 Pearson, Conley, DiPalma, Seveney, Satchell, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Creates a new income tax bracket of 6.99% on taxable income over five hundred thousand dollars. Any tax collected on this income deposited into restricted receipt account and expended on education for grades kindergarten through twelfth grade.)
Senate Bill No. 2513 McKenney, Sheehan, Cano, Valverde, Sosnowski, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSIT RECYCLING ACT OF 2020 (Creates a refundable five cent ($0.05) deposit for non-reusable beverage containers. A one cent ($0.01) handling fee would be paid by distributors.)
Senate Bill No. 2516 Satchell, Seveney, Bell, Conley, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Creates three new categories of taxable income for income above $232,000.)
Senate Bill No. 2524 Goodwin, Miller, McCaffrey, Goldin, DiPalma, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- LIFETIME LIMITS (Revokes the authority of the health insurance commissioner's ability to enforce a ruling of the federal government or federal court that revokes the prohibition on limits on health insurance.)
Senate Bill No. 2525 Miller, Goldin, Valverde, Satchell, Goodwin, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- THE RHODE ISLAND HEALTH CARE REFORM ACT OF 2004--HEALTH INSURANCE OVERSIGHT (This act would have the health insurance commissioner adopt a uniform set of medical criteria for prior authorization and create required form to be used by a health insurer.)
Senate Bill No. 2554 McKenney, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE -- PROCEDURE IN PARTICULAR ACTIONS--JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY (This act would limit liability of a tortfeasor for damages to several only and not joint, if it is found that the defendant’s act or omission caused no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the damages sustained by the plaintiff.)
Senate Bill No. 2555 Lombardi, Lombardo, Ciccone, Archambault, Rogers, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION—SURETY BOND FOR TAX CREDITS (Requires an individual seeking a tax credit on property with a value greater than five million dollars must submit affidavit stating there are no outstanding liens.)
Senate Bill No. 2558 Sheehan, Satchell, Crowley, Nesselbush, Sosnowski, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE - PROCEDURE GENERALLY - NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS (Places limits on the terms that can be included in an agreement that settles a claim of sexual harassment, retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and stalking.)
Senate Bill No. 2561 McKenney, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE -- PROCEDURE GENERALLY (This act would reduce the statutory interest on judgments for money in civil actions from twelve percent (12%) to six percent (6%).)
Senate Bill No. 2569 Lynch Prata, McCaffrey, Lombardi, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE--PROCEDURE IN PARTICULAR ACTIONS -- THE JOINT TORTFEASOR ACT (This act would allow a release by the injured person of one joint tortfeasor to relieve that tortfeasor from liability to make contribution to another joint tortfeasor.)
Senate Bill No. 2576 Quezada, Metts, Crowley, Cano, Goodwin, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS (For proposed wages, workers' compensation, temporary disability and unemployment benefits this act creates a new definition for "employee".)
Senate Bill No. 2582 Cano, Valverde, Conley, Goldin, Euer, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- RHODE ISLAND PARENTAL AND FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT (Increases the amount of parental or family leave available to an employee from thirteen (13) weeks to twenty-six (26) weeks in any two (2) calendar years.)
Senate Bill No. 2588 McCaffrey, Lombardi, Lynch Prata, Ruggerio, Ciccone, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Increases the criminal penalties for wage theft and employee misclassification.)
House Bill No. 7658 Marszalkowski, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- MANUFACTURING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT--TAX INCENTIVES (Establishes the "refundable investment tax credit act" to provide for a refundable investment tax credit for certain investments in the construction of facilities, acquisition of tangible property, and the training of employees in the state.)
House Bill No. 7659 Kennedy, Azzinaro, Johnston, Casey, Solomon, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PROPERTY SUBJECT TO TAXATION (Amends the classification of manufacturing machinery that is eligible for a property tax exemption.)
House Bill No. 7661 Blazejewski, Caldwell, Slater, Alzate, Casimiro, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- TEMPORARY DISABILITY INSURANCE--GENERAL PROVISIONS (Increases taxable wage base for TDI/TCI contributions/coverage/maximum weeks for TC leave/provides fines/penalties for non-reinstatement of employee/creates tax credit for low wage employees.)
House Bill No. 7663 McNamara, Alzate, Casimiro, Jackson, Ackerman, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- STATE BUILDING CODE (Increases the levy on total construction costs that cities and towns may charge for building permits and directs that fifty percent (50%) each of the levy be transmitted monthly to the department of labor and training for workforce training.)
House Bill No. 7684 Walsh, Ranglin-Vassell, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM (Repeals the “Rhode Island Health Care Reform Act of 2004 – Health Insurance Oversight” and the “Rhode Island Health Benefit Exchange.” Establishes a universal, comprehensive, affordable single-payer health care insurance program to cut health care costs.)
House Bill No. 7695 Chippendale, Price, Roberts, Place, Nardone, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- TAX CREDITS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCHOLARSHIP ORGANIZATIONS (Increases the total aggregate amount of tax credits for contributions to scholarship organizations by a business entity meeting the requisite criteria to five million dollars in fiscal year 2021 and includes definition for an "eligible business entity".)
House Bill No. 7699 Ruggiero, Shanley, Shekarchi, Barros, McEntee, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE - ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES (Requires Medicare option after 11/1/21 allowing employee to elect Medicare coverage with family members retaining coverage under employer's policy plan only with employer's approval.)
House Bill No. 7723 Edwards, Shanley, Barros, Cassar, Carson, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- ESTABLISHING THE "CONSUMER PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION ACT OF 2020" (Regulates data brokers. Data brokers would be required to annually register; to provide substantive notifications to consumers; and to adopt comprehensive data security programs.)
House Bill No. 7725 Marszalkowski, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Increases the criminal penalties for wage theft and employee misclassification.)
House Bill No. 7783 Place, Quattrocchi, Nardone, Filippi, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- RIGHT TO EARN A LIVING ACT (Establishes procedures to ensure that agency regulations do not unjustly restrict individuals from entering into businesses, professions and public services requiring articulable, legitimate public health, safety and welfare objectives.)
House Bill No. 7802 Bennett, Slater, Amore, Blazejewski, Mendez, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- SANITATION IN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS (Defines what constitutes a multi-use food and beverage storage container and provides for sanitary use of said containers.)
House Bill No. 7807 (by request) Solomon, Ranglin-Vassell, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- LIFE-SAVING ALLERGY MEDICATION--STOCK SYRINGE EPINEPHRINE AUTO-INJECTORS--EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION (Requires the owner's or operators of any public place, which is an area capable of holding 300 people or more and to which the public is invited or permitted to have available epinephrine auto-injectors and trained personnel to administer it.)
House Bill No. 7850 Ruggiero, Carson, Vella-Wilkinson, Knight, Craven, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- LEVY AND ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL TAXES (Authorizes cities and towns to classify residential property that is rented for more than thirty (30) non-consecutive days in a calendar year as a Class 2 property.)
House Bill No. 7872 Kazarian, Carson, McEntee, Fogarty, Shekarchi, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- PLASTIC RECYCLING AND LITTER ACT (Creates voluntary, no charge program for caterers/mobile food vendors/restaurants for reduction of plastic/other disposal waste with successful completion resulting in year exemption from payment for litter control permit.)
House Bill No. 7877 Amore, Serodio, Blazejewski, Slater, Kazarian, AN ACT RELATING TO HOLIDAYS AND DAYS OF SPECIAL OBSERVANCE -- WORK ON HOLIDAYS AND SUNDAYS (Requires an individual employer to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for class exemption from the increased pay requirement for work on holidays and Sundays.
House Bill No. 7914 Shanley, Barros, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - MINIMUM WAGES (Requires employers with 5 or more persons with developmental disabilities to pay employees no less than $15.00/hr and to have state and general revenue/federal funds appropriated to BHDDH programs to adjust minimum wage increase.)
House Bill No. 7916 Ucci, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE - PROCEDURES GENERALLY (Provides an employer that completed a reasonable background investigation of an employee prior to hiring with a presumption that the employer was not negligent in hiring that employee.)
House Bill No. 7921 Alzate, Amore, Williams, Blazejewski, Jackson, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- PERSONAL INCOME TAX (Adds one new income tax bracket for purposes of state income taxation.)
House Bill No. 7935 Tanzi, Alzate, Ranglin-Vassell, Handy, Cortvriend, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Prohibits employer/employment agency/labor organization/employer to directly/indirectly commit unlawful employment practice.)
House Bill No. 7936 Tanzi, Walsh, Ajello, Cassar, Kislak, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (Forbids an employer to require an employee to execute a nondisclosure agreement; or non-disparagement agreement regarding alleged violations of civil rights or criminal conduct as a condition of employment.)