Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
From the State House: House Committee on Environment Hearing on Styrofoam Food Containers, Plastic Stirrers and Plastic Bags
House Corporations Committee Meeting Tuesday
On Tuesday, January 25th, at the Rise (approximately 4:30 p.m.), the House Corporations Committee will meet to take testimony on a few bills. The public will be permitted to submit written testimony, verbal testimony by telephone, or verbal testimony in person – mask required. The hearing will take place in room 101 at the State House.
H.6628, An Act Relating to Corporation – Limited Liability Companies is a holdover bill from 2021. While the committee is not required to take testimony on this bill, it appears they might do so. H.6628, addresses the process that is set in motion when one or more members of an LLC files for dissolution of the corporation. The bill allows the non-filing members of an LLC to avoid dissolution by informing the court, prior to the commencement of a hearing, that they wish to purchase the units owned by the petitioner(s). Time is then given for a fair market value to be determined, and should the parties come to an agreement, the units can be transferred and the corporation saved from dissolution. The bill can be viewed at: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6628.pdf
H.7112, An Act Relating to Motor Vehicles – Parking Facilities and Privileges, requires, starting January 1, 2023, all new parking lots and existing lots that undergo an expansion of the number of parking spaces by 50% or more, to create designated parking spaces for electric vehicles. Each electric vehicle parking space must have either an EV-ready or EV-capable public level 2, or DC fast charger, or a dual port charger to be shared by two parking spaces. The bill goes on to require Commercial buildings (such as box stores, grocery markets, strip malls, shopping malls, shopping centers, and hotels or motels) as well as large employers (defined as having 100 employees or more at a single location) to install EV-ready or EV-capable public level 2, or DC fast charger, or a dual port charger to be shared by two parking spaces in a formula set in the legislation: 0-9 parking spaces = no EV spaces requirements; 10-25 parking spaces = 1 EV space requirement; 26-50 parking spaces = 2 EV required spaces; 51-75 parking spaces = 4 EV required spaces; 76-100 parking spaces = 5 EV required spaces; 101-150 parking spaces = 7 EV required spaces; 151-200 parking spaces = 10 EV required spaces; 201 and over = 6% of total spaces must be EV spaces. This bill can be viewed at: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7112.pdf
If you wish to testify in writing, please email the testimony (preferably in pdf format) to HouseCorporations@rilegislature.gov At the top of the message, indicate your name, bill number and position. The deadline for written testimony is Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. If you wish to verbally testify by telephone register by 4:00p.m. MONDAY by completing the form at https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=LBHmn1akN0aJ3A8oTO_8ZnMUMrI1W6lGqP5le-GGa29UNVgwQTZGUjQ4Q043MU1BTzRCVUVVNlAwUS4u To testify in person, go to Room 101 Tuesday and sign up. Masks are required.
House Committee on Environment Hearing on Styrofoam Food Containers, Plastic Stirrers and Plastic Bags
On Thursday, January 27th, at the Rise (approximately 4:30 p.m.), the House Committee on Environment will meet in room 101 at the State House. Two of the bills address the use of plastic and Styrofoam in certain businesses.
H.7063, An Act Relating to Food and Drugs, prohibits food establishments from using Styrofoam food containers designed for one use only. The bill also bans the use of plastic stirrers by covered entities, which is broader than food establishments. The bill includes a penalty of $100. The bill can be viewed at: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7063.pdf
H.7065, An Act Relating to Health and Safety, prohibits food establishments and retailers from providing any single-use plastic checkout bag or any paper checkout bag that is not a recyclable paper bag or a paper carryout bag at restaurants to customers. H.7065 calls for a fine of $100 for the first offense in a calendar year, $200 for the second offense and $500 for the third and subsequent offenses. The penalty money collected goes to the municipality. The bill, if passed, would go into effect within one year from the date of promulgation of regulations by the department, or on January 1, 2024, whichever occurs first. The bill can be viewed at http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7065.pdf
If you wish to testify on either of these bills, please email the testimony (preferably in pdf format) to HouseEnvironmentandNaturalResources@rilegislature.gov At the top of the message, indicate your name, bill number and position. The deadline for written testimony is Thursday at 1:00 p.m. If you wish to verbally testify by telephone register by 4:00p.m. WEDNESDAY by completing the form at https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=LBHmn1akN0aJ3A8oTO_8ZnMUMrI1W6lGqP5le-GGa29UNjVWTUlURVk4OTg2RU1DMzAzQldYWjhPRy4u
To testify in person, go to Room 101 Thursday and sign up. Masks are required.
Governor Releases Budget
Governor McKee released his plan for the use of the federal ARPA funds in the form of a FY2022 supplemental budget, and a FY2023 budget. We will be providing overviews of various budget articles in the weeks to come. The House and Senate Finance Committee are also expected to begin hearings on the Governor’s proposal soon. In this edition of UTD, we look at FY2023 budget – Articles 6 Taxation; and 8 Small Business.
Article 6 – Taxation. http://webserver.rilegislature.gov/BillText22/HouseText22/Article-006.pd
Article 6 is dedicated to one proposal – the phase out of taxing military pensions. Beginning in tax year 2023, a taxpayer could subtract 20% of the military service pension benefit from his/her federal adjusted gross income. The percentage increases to 40% in 2024; 60% in 2025, 80% in 2026 and 100% in 2027. Currently nine states do not tax personal income at all. Twenty-five states that have personal income tax programs do not tax military pensions. Three states fully tax military pensions. Thirteen states exempt some portion of the pension for tax purposes. Currently in Rhode Island, up to $15,000 of retirement income is exempt for retirees who have reached their full Social Security retirement age and whose federal AGI is less than $83,450 for single taxpayers or $104,350 for married people filing jointly (Military Benefits Info website https://militarybenefits.info/states-that-do-dont-tax-military-retirement-pay/ )
Article 8 – Small Business. http://webserver.rilegislature.gov/BillText22/HouseText22/Article-008.pdf
This 58-page Article deals with many changes to the operation of businesses in Rhode Island.
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 7111 Ruggiero, Bennett, Handy, Cortvriend, Potter, Speakman, Donovan, Kazarian, Cassar, Shallcross Smith, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS -- RENEWABLE ENERGY (Increases the percentage of retail electricity sales from renewable energy sources.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7111.pdf
House Bill No. 7112 McGaw, McNamara, Donovan, Speakman, Cortvriend, Ackerman, Carson, Potter, Cassar, Batista, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- PARKING FACILITIES AND PRIVILEGES (Requires installation of designated electric vehicle parking sapces, with charging capabilities, by certain business/ municipalities/ housing developments in existing/ new/ expanded parking lots as of 1/1/23.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7112.pdf
House Bill No. 7122 (Governor) Abney, AN ACT RELATING TO MAKING REVISED APPROPRIATIONS IN SUPPORT OF FY 2022 (This is the supplemental budget.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7122.pdf
House Bill No. 7123 (Governor) Abney, AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE STATE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2023 (This is next fiscal year’s budget)
House Bill No. 7125 (General Treasurer) Potter, McNamara, Amore, Ruggiero, Cortvriend, Carson, Casimiro, Baginski, Donovan, Ranglin-Vassell, AN ACT CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FOR EDUCATION -- STATEWIDE REFERENDUM (Provides for a statewide voter referendum seeking approval of capital development bonds for school buildings in the amount of three hundred million dollars ($300,000,000).) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7125.pdf
House Bill No. 7128 Solomon, McNamara, Casey, Giraldo, Noret, Craven, Edwards, Lima, Marszalkowski, Hawkins, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Creates a sales tax holiday on August 6 and 7, 2022) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7128.pdf
House Bill No. 7135 Bennett, McGaw, Vella-Wilkinson, Shanley, Noret, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES -- PHYSICAL THERAPY COPAY (Limits copays, coinsurance or office deductible 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/BillText22/HouseText22/H7135.pdf
Governor to Unveil Budget Proposal Tuesday
Governor Dan McKee will give his State of the State Address Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The address will be televised and should include an outline of his budget priorities for FY2023 which begins in July. The budget is also expected to include the Governor’s proposal for spending the remainder of the federal relief dollars provided to Rhode Island.
State Releases Electric Vehicle Study and Recommendations
Last Month the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) released a report entitled, “Electrifying Transportation: A Strategic Policy Guide for Improving Public Access to Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Rhode Island.” This report was created to comply with a requirement of legislation passed in 2021. The 91-page report can be viewed in its entirety at: http://www.energy.ri.gov/documents/Transportation/Electrifying%20Transportation%20Guide%20Dec%202021.pdf
According to the latest inventory, the transportation sector accounts for 35.5% of Rhode Island’s current greenhouse gas emissions. The heating sector accounts for approximately 33% of emissions. The electric sector accounts for 28.2%; and the remainder comes from “other sources.” In April, 2021, the legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, the 2021 Act on Climate. This law mandates Rhode Island meet specific emission reduction targets. Those targets are: 45% below 1990 levels by 2030; 80% below 1990 levels by 2040; and Net-zero emissions by 2050. This December Report is meant to lay out the initial policies necessary to meet the mandates.
As of December 3, 2021, 4,540 electric vehicles were registered in Rhode Island. Fifty-one (51) percent of electric vehicles registered in Rhode Island are battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and forty-nine (49) percent are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Combined, BEVs and PHEVs comprise less than one (1) percent of total light-duty vehicles registered in Rhode Island. While there are zero electric medium-duty vehicles and three (3) electric heavy-duty vehicles registered in Rhode Island as of December 3, 2021, the authors of the report believe these numbers are likely to increase as models become available and prices become more attractive for businesses.
The report lays out the following goals for State agencies in 2022:
Finally, the report asks the legislature to consider the following actions in upcoming sessions:
CHAMBER MEMBER ACTION REQUEST - Preparations for 2022 Session
The Chamber may be calling you, asking for your assistance as we prepare for this new session. Please go to https://vote.sos.ri.gov and click on “Find Your Elected Officials.” Enter zip code and address. Find your “Representative District” legislator and your “Senate District” legislator (if you live in Rhode Island). Email your name and the legislators’ names to _____________________. The Chamber will be compiling a database for future grassroots efforts. If you also know a legislator who lives in another district, please send that information to the Chamber as well and we will include it in the database.
Thank you for your help!
The following new bills have been filed:
House Bill No. 7013 Kennedy, Azzinaro, Edwards, Solomon, Ackerman, Craven, Phillips, Abney, Kazarian, Shanley ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION BY ONLINE MARKETPLACES (Requires high-volume third-party sellers, selling consumer goods on online marketplaces, to provide certain information to the marketplaces and disclose certain information to consumers on product listings.)
House Bill No. 7016 Lombardi, Hull, Cassar, Potter, Felix, Morales, Henries
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- COVID-19 PANDEMIC INSURANCE RECOVERY ACT (Allows businesses that had an insurance policy in place for business interruption as of March 9, 2020 or thereafter to recover from their insurance companies for a COVID-19 business impact.)
House Resolution No. 7022 BY Shanley ENTITLED, HOUSE RESOLUTION REINSTATING THE LIFE OF AND EXTENDING THE REPORTING AND EXPIRATION DATES OF THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION KNOWN AS THE "RHODE ISLAND ONLINE DATA TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY PROTECTION COMMISSION" (Reinstates the life and extends the reporting and expiration dates of the "Rhode Island Online Data Transparency and Privacy Protection Commission" from May 5, 2021, to May 5, 2022, and said commission expires on July 5, 2022.)
House Bill No. 7060 Alzate, McEntee, Caldwell, Lombardi, Carson
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES -- RETAIL LICENSES -- HAPPY HOUR (Allows happy hour drink specials served in conjunction with meals prepared on the premises sufficient to constitute breakfast, lunch or dinner, excluding snacks.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7060.pdf
House Bill No. 7065 McEntee, Cortvriend, Speakman, Donovan, Carson, Caldwell, Craven, Morales, Kislak, Ruggiero ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- PLASTIC WASTE REDUCTION ACT (Creates the "Plastic Waste Reduction Act" designed to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H7065.pdf
House Bill No. 7077 Edwards, Fogarty, Bennett, Baginski, Shanley ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES (Requires that a participant or beneficiary of a health insurance plan incur no greater out-of-pocket costs for emergency services than they would have incurred with an in-network provider other than in-network cost sharing.)
House Bill No. 7078 Edwards, Fogarty, Caldwell, Bennett, Cassar, Filippi, Baginski, Shanley ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE (Requires a health plan to cover clinically appropriate and medically necessary residential or inpatient services, including detoxification and stabilization services, for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.)
A New Session Begins
Welcome to the first Under the Dome of 2022. Please watch your email as the Chamber will now be sending weekly updates on Mondays. We expect the legislative session to begin slowly as both the House and Senate attempt to deal with the latest surge of Covid in Rhode Island. For now, meetings will be held remotely or in a hybrid fashion, allowing the public to participate from home. Next week, the House and Senate will meet on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. for bill introductions and announcements.
Key dates for 2022 include the following:
Last day for House & Senate public bill introduction – February 10, 2022
Winter Recess – February 21-25, 2022
Spring Recess – April 18-22, 2022
The House adopted a new rule last year, which now takes effect. Each Representative has the ability to designate three of his/her 2021 bills to remain alive in 2022. Those bills will be assigned new 2022 numbers, reference the old 2021 number, and will pick up where the bill left off in 2021. For example, if 2021 H.1234 had a hearing in 2021 but was never voted on by the committee, that bill may now become 2022 H.3456 and can be brought up by the committee for a vote in 2022 with 48 hour posting notice. No additional hearing would be required in 2022. The maximum number of bills that could be in this new category is 225 (75 state representative times 3). If you have an interest in a carryover bill, it is important to contact the Chamber quickly. The Senate has NOT adopted the same rule. All Senate bills will be scheduled for a hearing in 2022 prior to committee passage. However, the Senate has passed bills the same day as a hearing; particularly bills that were passed by a committee in the previous year.
2021 Supplemental Budget Passed
Before formally closing out the 2021 session on January 4th, the legislature passed a supplemental budget allocating a portion of the federal funds that were given to the State. H.6494 Sub A http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText21/HouseText21/H6494A.pdf was quickly signed into law by the Governor. The following is a list of approved authorizations contained in the legislation. Keep in mind that agencies will have to promulgate rules regarding the new programs prior to distributing funds for their purposes listed:
CHAMBER MEMBER ACTION REQUEST - Preparations for 2022 Session
With the new House rule, and the potential to be meeting remotely for a period of time,
the Chamber may be calling you, asking for your assistance as we prepare for this new session. Please go to https://vote.sos.ri.gov and click on “Find Your Elected Officials.” Enter zip code and address. Find your “Representative District” legislator and your “Senate District” legislator (if you live in Rhode Island). Email your name and the legislators name to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Chamber will be compiling a database for future grassroots efforts. If you also know, a legislator who lives in another district, please send that information to the Chamber as well and we will include it in the database.
Thank you for your help!
The following new bills have been filed:
Senate Bill No. 2014 Kallman, DiMario, Murray, Valverde, Ruggerio, Burke, Ciccone, DiPalma, Euer, Miller ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC FINANCE -- RHODE ISLAND SECURE CHOICE RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM ACT (Establishes the Rhode Island secure choice retirement savings program as a public corporation managing IRA-type investments. Requires employers to offer the program to employees or be subject to a $250 penalty per employee.)
House Bill No. 6605 Amore ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Same as 21H-5364 -- Extends the sales tax exemption of a manufacturer who processes raw materials into finished goods.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6605.pdf
House Bill No. 6628 Filippi ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS, AND PARTNERSHIPS -- THE RHODE ISLAND LIMITED-LIABILITY COMPANY ACT (Same as 21H-5348 --Permits a member or members of a limited-liability company to avoid dissolution by buying the units owned by the other member or members seeking dissolution.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6628.pdf
House Resolution No. 6646 McGaw, Cassar, Kislak, Morales, Potter, Felix, Ajello, Cortvriend, Henries, Donovan ENTITLED, HOUSE RESOLUTION RESPECTFULLY URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING AN IMPROVED "MEDICARE FOR ALL" SINGLE PAYER PROGRAM THAT WOULD PROVIDE UNIVERSAL, COMPREHENSIVE AND AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE (Same as 21H-6078--) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6646.pdf
House Bill No. 6647 McGaw, Vella-Wilkinson, Baginski, Fellela, Alzate, Shekarchi, Kislak, Ackerman, Ajello, Cassar ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE -- MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR EPINEPHRINE INJECTORS (Same as 21H-5463--Requires group health plans and health insurance issuers that provide prescription benefits to cover prescribed epinephrine injectors and cartridges/No copayment or deductible would be required to obtain a prescribed epinephrine injector) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6647.pdf
House Bill No. 6650 Nardone, Chippendale, Place, Quattrocchi, Price ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- ESTABLISHING AN OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL (Same as 21H-5795--Establishes the office of inspector general as an independent administrative agency charged with the responsibility to investigate, detect, and prevent fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the expenditure of public funds.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6650.pdf
House Bill No. 6652 Noret, Casimiro, Vella-Wilkinson, Alzate, Solomon, Craven, Amore, Casey, Lima, Lombardi ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN (Same as 21H-5619 -- Requires children who seek a special limited work permit to successfully complete a training program which shall address workers' rights, workplace health and safety, and workers' compensation, to be established and funded by the DLT.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6652.pdf
House Bill No. 6658 Phillips, Caldwell, Noret, O'Brien, Serpa, Hawkins, Lima
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- STATE TAX OFFICIALS (Same as 21H-5213 -- Changes the rate of interest for underpayments of tax to prime rate plus six percent (6%). Also limits the assessment of interest to four (4) calendar years prior to the date on which notice of the delinquent payment is sent.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6658.pdf
House Bill No. 6659 Phillips, Caldwell, Carson, Cortvriend, Fellela, Casey, Filippi, Lima ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- UNFAIR SALES PRACTICES (Same as 21H-5769 Sub A --A provider of a club, facility, or services to a consumer must stop automatic deductions from the consumer’s account or credit card within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving a notice to stop from the consumer.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6659.pdf
House Bill No. 6664 Potter, Cassar, Baginski, Morales, Cortvriend, Kislak, McGaw, Tanzi, Giraldo, Ajello ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- THE RHODE ISLAND HEALTH CARE REFORM ACT OF 2004 -- HEALTH INSURANCE OVERSIGHT (Same as 21H-5772 -- Requires the health insurance commissioner to adopt a uniform set of medical criteria for prior authorization and create a required form to be used by a health insurer.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6664.pdf
House Bill No. 6670 Shallcross Smith ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- COLLECTION OF TAXES GENERALLY (Same as 21H-6092 -- Prohibits the tax sale of properties when litigation is pending disputing the amount owed.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6670.pdf
House Bill No. 6676 Tobon, Cardillo, Vella-Wilkinson ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- LEVY AND ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL TAXES (Same as 21H-5634 -- Requires cities and towns to assess renewable energy resources to be taxed as tangible property and the real property on which it is located shall not be reclassified, revalued or reassessed.) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H6676.pdf
Thursday, January 6, 2022 12:35 PM
Subject: Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Final Rule
Today, Treasury adopted the final rule implementing the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) program under the American Rescue Plan. The final rule is the result of extensive dialogue with our stakeholders, including Congressional offices and recipient governments, and will enhance the capacity of state, local, and Tribal governments to meet immediate pandemic response needs and promote longer-term recovery.
The State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program provides governments across the country with the resources needed to:
Additional information and background on the final rule is provided below. Treasury invites House and Senate staff to attend an informational session on the final rule on Friday January 7th. You can register for the informational session using the following link.
About the Final Rule:
The final rule – which takes effect on April 1, 2022 – provides state, local, and Tribal governments with even broader flexibility to pursue a wider range of uses to respond to local public health and economic needs – as well as greater simplicity so they can focus on responding to the needs in their communities and maximizing the impact of their funds. Recipients may find the full text of the final rule on our website with available supporting materials.
Prior to April 1, 2022, recipients may take actions and use funds in a manner consistent with the final rule, and Treasury will not take action to enforce the Interim final rule if a use of funds is consistent with the terms of the final rule, regardless of when the SLFRF funds were used. Please see the Statement Regarding Compliance with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Interim Final Rule and Final Rule for more information.
Additional Treasury Resources for Navigating the Final rule:
Treasury is committed to working with recipients to help them digest the final rule and effectively maximize their use of funds.
Recipients are encouraged to consult the Overview of the Final Rule, which is a user guide that boils the rule text down into an easy-to-understand summary. The Overview of the Final Rule includes a non-exhaustive list of projects that recipients can undertake with these funds without undergoing additional independent analysis.
Treasury is hosting webinars with recipients and stakeholders to brief and answer questions about the Final Rule. We encourage Congressional offices to share these links with their local officials. Treasury will also provide a follow up briefing in the coming weeks for interested members of Congress.
If Treasury reaches RSVP capacity and you cannot attend a webinar or prefer to be briefed at your convenience, Treasury will post a recording of the webinar hosted on January 7, 2022.
Treasury looks forward to working with recipients to navigate any remaining questions that they may have about the final rule so they can deploy these resources in their communities with confidence. Please email our inbox at email@example.com with your questions and Treasury will respond as soon as possible.
Special Assistant, Office of Legislative Affairs
U.S. Department of the Treasury
This legislative session saw several bills pass that will make it easier to do business in
Rhode Island. Below is an update on changes that may affect your business or
Annual Report Alignment - H5984A/S789A
What the new law does:
Secretary Gorbea heard from business owners across the state that the staggered filing
periods for different types of business entities was confusing and sometimes resulted in
late filings. She introduced this legislation to establish a single filing period that aligns
with the state’s annual tax filing deadline.
Why it matters:
The change continues the work the Secretary has done to make our state a better and
more predictable place to do business. Specifically, the new law:
• Establishes one filing period for all entities – February 1 to May 1 of each
• Aligns the filing period for both businesses and nonprofits to coincide with
their annual tax filing periods.
• Moves the non-profit filing period to the beginning of the calendar year
instead of the middle of the summer when many non-profits aren’t
• Allows more time to file by extending the filing period an additional 30
Non-Profit Conversion/Merger - H6064A/S836A
What the new law does:
The Rhode Island General Laws lacked the mechanism for conversion, so Secretary
Gorbea introduced this law creating a conversion process and established a more
inclusive statutory framework for the merger or consolidation of non-profit corporations.
This is the same conversion process that business corporations already have today.
Why it matters:
By establishing modern and flexible laws and filing options, our State has created an
environment that supports accessibility, sustainability, and growth for our vibrant nonprofit community. New conversion and merger forms are now available.
Withdrawal of a Revocation Certificate [Reinstatement]- H5051/S0024
What the new law does:
This law increases the timeframe where entities can be revoked and still reinstate their
charter with the Business Services Division from 10 years to 20 years.
Why it matters:
The law eliminates long wait times and drastically reduces legal fees for entities
formerly required to either petition the General Assembly or Superior Court for
permission to reinstate. By increasing the reinstatement timeframe from 10 years to 20
years, more RI businesses and non-profits will now have access to a predictable and
timely reinstatement process.
Email the Business Services Division (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any
Rhode Island Department of State
Rhode Island Tabletop Show Connects Local Anchor Institutions to EmergingBrands and Iconic Staples to Encourage Purchasing of More Local Food
MEDIA CONTACT: Lisa Raiola
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EVENT: RI Tabletop Show
DATE: Tuesday, December 7, 2021
WHERE: 10 Sims Street, Providence, RI
TIME: 1- 4PM
Rhode Island Tabletop Show Connects Local Anchor Institutions to Emerging
Brands and Iconic Staples to Encourage Purchasing of More Local Food
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND USA – Hope & Main, Rhode Island's premier culinary
incubator, is partnering with Supply RI, Relish Rhody and Farm Fresh RI to connect local
anchor institutions, including Universities, hospitals, K-12 schools and other corporate and
government purchasers, with mission-aligned food producers in the Ocean State.
This food trade show, the first of its kind, includes dozens of Rhode Island food and farm
businesses including staples like Narragansett Creamery and Blackbird Farm to emerging
brands such as Chi Kitchen and Kassumay Hibiscus Fruit Spread, recently included on
Whole Foods Top Ten Foods Trends for 2022. The line-up of diverse producers and
growers was designed to help purchasers buy more high quality, sustainably produced local
food, and to build a more inclusive supply chain.
Tuesday’s RI Tabletop Show was curated especially for the State’s institutional buyers, many
of whom are part of Supply RI. Says Julianne Stelmaszyk, Rhode Island’s Director of Food
Strategy, “Rhode Islanders spend about $5 billion on food, but not enough of that money
goes to purchasing local products and supporting local production. The purchasing power of
these public and private organizations has the potential to transform our local food
landscape and build a more resilient food system for Rhode Island.”
Rhode Island is committed to the New England Food vision and the goal of building the
capacity for the region to produce 50% of its own food by 2060. Nikki Ayers, Market
Mobile Sales Director at Farm Fresh RI says, “Part of having a robust economy in Rhode
Island is keeping local food producers making and thriving here. With this show, we are
bringing more established and new producers together for the first time in our new facility in
Providence to help expand their local markets.”
Doris Blanchard, Director of SupplyRI says, “It is so important to help our small businesses
meet the needs of larger purchasers in the State. Making the connection is sometimes not
enough. We have to break down the barriers that create logistical and other challenges for
institutional purchases to buy local and diversify their supply chains. That is what today’s
program is about.”
Lisa Raiola, President and Founder of Hope & Main explains that access to markets is
one of the main pillars of the incubator’s program. “We are moving in the direction of
specially curated Tabletop Shows for our members and the broader local food and
beverage community so local buyers will come to expect a broad roster of highquality producers in our backyard. We think the future of our local food system stands
on the shoulders the small and innovative food companies we, along with our many
devoted partners, are incubating in Rhode Island.
About Farm Fresh RI: Farm Fresh RI’s mission is to grow a local food system that values the
environment, health, and quality of life of the farmers and eaters in our region. Their Community
Access programs increase the availability and affordability of locally sourced foods and share
knowledge of how these fresh ingredients fit into a healthy lifestyle. Their Food System Enterprise
services create transparent systems and market-based opportunities for farmers and producers, as
well as increase farm viability and financial sustainability for our organization. Their new home is a
purpose-designed 60,000 sq. ft. facility located at 10 Sims Avenue in Providence — half of which
houses all of Farm Fresh RI’s programs and operations, including a year-round farmers market.
About Hope & Main: Serving as Rhode Island’s premier food business incubator, Hope & Main is
committed to empowering an inclusive community of entrepreneurs to jumpstart and cultivate
thriving food businesses that are the foundation of a more just, sustainable, and vibrant local food
economy. Our shared use facilities provide affordable access to aspiring food-preneurs of all means
and backgrounds, including 61% women-led and 40% BIPOC-led businesses, to drive economic
mobility. Hope & Main’s incubation program offers affordable and accessible resources, including
six on-site commercial kitchens in a shared use facility, that can be rented on an hourly basis without
a long-term lease. We also offer technical and business assistance to aspiring food and beverage
entrepreneurs and recovering food businesses to assist them to scale, pivot, and thrive.
About SupplyRI: SupplyRI helps connect local suppliers to the needs of larger Rhode Island
institutions, our Anchors, through our database, website, trainings and events. The SupplyRI team
not only connects local suppliers with our Anchor institutions, but also guides local businesses to
better understand the processes and needs of the Anchor institutions. Rhode Island suppliers can
become a member of the SupplyRI Database at no cost. SupplyRI is a public-private initiative
funded by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Heron Foundation and the Rhode Island
BRISTOL, RI- On Thursday, November 25th, 2021, the Town of Bristol announced the launch of Propel East Bay RI.
Propel East Bay RI is a new online job board dedicated to promoting work opportunities in Bristol County, Rhode Island. This free-to-use platform is available to local businesses, residents, and students.
Users have the ability to create online profiles to search, save, and apply to selected jobs. Businesses have access to a dashboard to manage job postings, create custom applications, and view job listing statistics.
Propel East Bay RI was created in collaboration with the Bristol Town Administration, the Bristol-Warren Regional School District (BWRSD), and the East Bay Chamber of Commerce. The initiative also received support from the Town of Warren and the Town of Barrington.
"As we continue to deal with impacts of COVID-19 on our local economy, businesses are having a difficult time finding talent to fill job openings," said Chris Vitale, Bristol's Economic Development Coordinator. "The goal of this platform is to help bridge the gap between our local businesses and job seekers and encourage workforce participation."
Propel East Bay RI is sponsored in part by the Town of Bristol and BWRSD through a Pell Grant. The job board also offers paid Premium Listings, which give businesses a way to promote immediate openings while supporting the platform's maintenance costs.
In addition to listing available full-time, part-time, and seasonal job opportunities, BWRSD is also working with local municipalities to develop an internship program. Students can explore their career interests more in-depth and access opportunities directly through the job board.
"As a district, we want to expand access for each student to gain valuable on-the-job experience to develop their skills for whichever career they decide to pursue," said Dr. Nicole Lyons, College and Career Coordinator at Bristol-Warren Regional School District. "The job board will allow the community access to the untapped power of our students and connect students with our local economy."
During the development of Propel East Bay RI, students at Mt. Hope High School played an integral role in designing the branding for the platform.
"The MHHS Art Department appreciated the opportunity for our graphic design students to work with the Town of Bristol to create the logo for the new Propel East Bay RI job board," said Mt. Hope High School Teacher Lauren Enjeti. "Seniors Chelsea Goodman, Brandon Nelson, Kristiana Cabral, and Logan Justa contributed to the design, with Chelsea Goodman taking the lead on the finished logo."
Businesses, residents, and students in the East Bay are encouraged to register for the online job board at propeleastbayri.com.
For additional questions, please contact Chris Vitale, Economic Development Coordinator at email@example.com, or by calling 401-253-7000 ext. 129.
SBA Announces Updated Guidance Regarding Applicant Deadlines for COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Release Date: November 19, 2021
Release Number: 21-110
SBA Announces Updated Guidance Regarding Applicant Deadlines for COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Agency Strongly Encourages Submission of Supplemental Advance Applications by December 10; All Applications Due by December 31
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced updated guidance for COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program applicants to better serve small business owners in need, while funding remains available. Since its inception, the COVID EIDL program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels, has approved nearly $300 billion in relief aid. Specifically, the following updated guidance is being provided:
“The COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs still have billions of dollars available to help small businesses hard hit by the pandemic. More than 3.8 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” said Patrick Kelley, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Capital Access. “Key enhancements have been made to the loan program that will help our nation’s businesses recover and get back on track.”
In September, Administrator Guzman announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Key changes announced included:
How to apply
Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. Applications received by December 10 for Supplemental Advance will be processed in the order received and the SBA cannot guarantee processing of all applications by December 31. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible to allow for processing. For additional information on COVID EIDL and other recovery programs, please visit www.sba.gov/relief.
Small business owners may call SBA’s Customer Service Center 1-833-853-5638 (855-440-4960 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov for additional assistance. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Abbreviated hours will be observed during the Thanksgiving holiday (closed on Thanksgiving Day; open Friday, November 26 – Sunday, November 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST). Multilingual representatives are available.
Small business owners may also contact SBA’s Resource Partners by visiting www.sba.gov/local-assistance.
Application Process and Fraud Control Enhancements
In addition to the policy enhancements, the SBA has invested in optimized processes and increased capacity to improve the customer service experience for applicants. Directed by Administrator Guzman to swiftly and drastically enhance COVID EIDL, the revamped management team implemented new processes and performance management such as prioritizing personnel for COVID EIDL and increasing the average number of application decisions made. The SBA accelerated daily processing of loan increases from close to 2,000 applications to more than 37,000 applications daily. Loan officer productivity also went from 1.86 applications per day to 15 applications per day. As a result of these increased loan review rates, the 600,000+ loan increase backlog has been cleared and new applications are processed immediately. At the same time, and to ensure taxpayer dollars are used to support businesses that need COVID EIDL funding most, the SBA increased fraud controls and is working in collaboration with the SBA Inspector General to closely monitor the program.
All business owners that have received previous loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), or Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) may still benefit from COVID EIDL. To learn more about the application process, visit www.sba.gov/eidl.
About Economic Injury Disaster Loans
In response to COVID-19, small business owners, including agricultural businesses, and nonprofit organizations in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories can apply for the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). The purpose of EIDL is to provide financial assistance for small businesses to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
SBA Administrator Guzman Enhances COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to Aid Small Businesses Facing Challenges from Delta Variant
SBA Administrator Guzman Enhances COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to Aid Small Businesses Facing Challenges from Delta Variant
September 9, 2021 | Release Number 21-81
Increased Loan Cap to $2 Million, Expanded Use of Funds to Pay and Prepay Business Debt, Streamlined Review Processes, and Deferred Payments; First Approval and Disbursement of Loans of $500,000 or Less Also Introduced.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, a federal disaster relief loan designed to better serve and support our small business communities still reeling from the pandemic, especially hard-hit sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and hotels. The SBA is ready to receive new applications immediately from small businesses looking to take advantage of these new policy changes.
“The SBA’s COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan program offers a lifeline to millions of small businesses who are still being impacted by the pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “We’ve retooled this critical program – increasing the borrowing limit to $2 million, offering 24 months of deferment, and expanding flexibility to allow borrowers to pay down higher-interest business debt. We have also ramped up our outreach efforts to ensure we’re connecting with our smallest businesses as well as those from low-income communities who may also be eligible for the companion COVID EIDL Targeted Advance and Supplemental Advance grants totaling up to $15,000. Our mission-driven SBA team has been working around the clock to make the loan review process as user-friendly as possible to ensure every entrepreneur who needs help can get the capital they need to reopen, recover and rebuild.”
Key changes being announced by the SBA include:
o Increasing the COVID EIDL Cap. The SBA will lift the COVID EIDL cap from $500,000 to $2 million. Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt.
o Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period. The SBA will ensure small business owners will not have to begin COVID EIDL repayment until two years after loan origination so that they can get through the pandemic without having to worry about making ends meet.
o Establishment of a 30-Day Exclusivity Window. To ensure Main Street businesses have additional time to access these funds, the SBA will implement a 30-day exclusivity window of approving and disbursing funds for loans of $500,000 or less. Approval and disbursement of loans over $500,000 will begin after the 30-day period.
o Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds. COVID EIDL funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.
o Simplification of affiliation requirements. To ease the COVID EIDL application process for small businesses, the SBA has established more simplified affiliation requirements to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
The enhancements to the COVID EIDL program will allow more businesses greater and more flexible support from the over $150 billion in available COVID EIDL funds. Additionally, these changes will help entrepreneurs access capital at a time when, according to a recent Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses survey, 44 percent of small business owners report having less than three months of cash reserves, and only 31 percent reporting confidence in gaining access to funding.
How to apply
Eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and agricultural businesses in all U.S. states and territories can apply. Visit www.sba.gov/eidl to learn more about eligibility and application requirements. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.
For additional information on COVID EIDL and other recovery programs please visit www.sba.gov/relief. Small business owners may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard of hearing) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov for additional assistance. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Multilingual representatives are available. Small business owners may also contact SBA’s Resource Partners by visiting www.sba.gov/local-assistance.
Application Process and Fraud Control Enhancements
In addition to the policy enhancements, the SBA has invested in optimized processes and increased capacity to improve the customer service experience for applicants. Directed by Administrator Guzman to swiftly and drastically enhance COVID EIDL, the revamped management team implemented new processes and performance management such as prioritizing personnel for COVID EIDL and increasing the average number of loan application decisions made. The SBA accelerated daily processing of loan increases from close to 2,000 applications to more than 37,000 applications daily. Loan officer productivity also went from 1.86 applications per day to 15 applications per day. As a result of these increased loan review rates, the 600,000+ loan increase backlog has been cleared and new applications can be processed immediately. At the same time, and to ensure taxpayer dollars are used to support businesses that need COVID EIDL funding most, the SBA has increased fraud controls and is working in collaboration with the SBA Inspector General to closely monitor the program.
All business owners that have received previous loans through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), or Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) can still benefit from COVID EIDL. To learn more about the application process, visit www.sba.gov/eidl.
Under the Dome New Law 2021 Wrap Up
We, at the Chamber, hope you are enjoying your summer. The House and Senate have been transmitting bills periodically to Governor McKee for his consideration. As explained earlier, this is a normal process to avoid inundating the Governor with hundreds of bills to sign, veto or allow to go into law without his signature, within a seven-day period. It is finally time to release a list of 32 new laws passed in 2021 that touch the business community. There are many other laws that passed this year, but in the interest of time and space, we have limited the report to these 32 new laws. The House and Senate may still return in the fall. If that happens, all bills that have not passed, remain alive. We will let you know as soon as the Chamber receives confirmation of any fall legislative plans.
Senate Bill No. 1 as amended Chapter 016, Quezada, Ruggerio, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Cano, Miller, Gallo, Goldin, Valverde, Seveney,; and House Bill No. 5130 SUB A Chapter 015, Bennett, Williams, Solomon, Ranglin-Vassell, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGES, increase the minimum wage from $11.50 per hour to $12.25 January 1, 2022; $13.00 January 1, 2023; $14.00 January 1, 2024; and $15.00 January 1, 2025.
Senate Bill No. 270 SUB A Chapter 168, Goldin, Ruggerio, Gallo, Coyne, Goodwin, Valverde, Mendes, DiMario, Mack, Miller and House Bill No. 5261 SUB A
Chapter 169, Donovan, Williams, Alzate, Blazejewski, Speakman, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES, also known as the “pay equity” law, comprehensively addresses wage discrimination. This new law takes effect January 1, 2023. A detailed summary will be forthcoming soon.
Senate Bill No. 273 SUB A Chapter 173, F Lombardi, Lombardo, Felag, de la Cruz, E Morgan and House Bill No. 5585 SUB A Chapter 172, Amore, J Lombardi, Potter, Giraldo, Alzate, Morales, ACTS RELATING TO HOLIDAYS AND DAYS OF SPECIAL OBSERVANCE -- WORK ON HOLIDAYS AND SUNDAYS, rescinds the director of the Department of Labor and Training’s authority to exempt certain classes of employees from receiving overtime pay for Sunday and holiday work. Exemptions granted prior to July 1, 2021 remain in full force and effect.
Senate Bill No. 297 SUB A Chapter 188, Lombardo, Ciccone, Picard, Gallo, Sosnowski, Archambault and House Bill No. 5856 SUB A Chapter 189, Hawkins, Costantino, Biah, ACTS RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS -- LABOR AND PAYMENT OF DEBTS BY CONTRACTORS, relieve regulatory burdens by allowing contractors to submit certified payroll using federal forms for all public works projects or to provide actual payroll records. This law is now in effect.
Senate Bill No. 434 SUB A Chapter 151, Goodwin, McCaffrey and House Bill No. 6011 SUB A Chapter 153, Batista, S RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- HEALTHY AND SAFE FAMILIES AND WORKPLACE ACT, grants paid sick leave and safe leave benefits to construction employees who work under multi-employer collective bargaining agreements, provided that certain conditions are met. The new law takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill No. 688 SUB A Chapter 179, Lawson, Lombardo, Seveney, Quezada, Miller, Sosnowski, Cano, Pearson, Euer, Burke and House Bill No. 6090 SUB A
Chapter 178, Kazarian, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- TEMPORARY DISABILITY INSURANCE – BENEFITS, increase temporary caregiver benefits to 5 weeks in a benefit year starting January 1, 2022 and increase temporary caregiver benefits to 6 weeks in a benefit year beginning January 1, 2023.
Senate Bill No. 550 Chapter 393 Kallman, DiMario, Euer, Acosta, Ciccone, Seveney, Mack, Coyne, Miller, Quezada and House Bill No. 5855 Chapter 394, Morales, Alzate, Kazarian, Ranglin-Vassell, Felix, Batista, J Lombardi, Potter, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- THE RHODE ISLAND WHISTLE BLOWERS' PROTECTION ACT, prohibit an employer from reporting (or threatening to report) the immigration status of an employee, prospective employee, applicant or independent contractor. A notice of this law must be posted in a prominent location in all languages known to be spoken by employees. Damages for violating the law is injunctive relief, treble damages or both. A civil action can be brought within three years of the violation. This new law is in effect now.
Senate Bill No. 808 F Lombardi, Ciccone, Raptakis, Lombardo, Archambault, Picard and House Bill No. 6218 Fenton-Fung, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY -- BENEFITS -- RHODE ISLAND BACK TO WORK INCENTIVE PROGRAM, provide incentive benefits for persons collecting unemployment benefits who return to work in the amount of $150 per week for 13 weeks based on a 40-hour work week (with prorated benefits for persons working less than 40 hours). Upon completion of the 13-week period, additional compensation up to a maximum of $1,950 would be paid on a prorated basis. These benefits expire on January 1, 2022.
Senate Bill No. 858 as amended Chapter 017, Goodwin, Ciccone, Ruggerio and House Bill No. 6249 SUB A Chapter 018, McEntee, Carson, Felix, Cortvriend, Phillips, Costantino, Giraldo, Fogarty, Caldwell, Kazarian, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY -- GENERAL PROVISIONS, increase partial unemployment benefits. For weeks starting May 23, 2021, and continuing through June 30, 2022, an employee would be deemed “partially unemployed” in any week of less than full-time work if they fail to earn wages for that week in an amount equal to or greater than 150% of the weekly benefit rate for total unemployment to which they would be entitled if totally unemployed and eligible. This is meant to serve as an incentive for employees to return to work.
Senate Bill No. 937 SUB A Chapter 402, Ciccone, F Lombardi, McCaffrey and House Bill No. 6376 SUB A Chapter 403, Williams, ACTS RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- WORKERS COMPENSATION – BENEFITS, create a new formula for determining a totally and partially disabled injured workers' weekly benefit entitlement. For injuries sustained after January 1, 2022, rendering the person partially incapacitated, the person will receive 62% (instead of 75%) of the difference between his or her average weekly base wages, earnings, or salary before the injury as computed, and his or her weekly wages, earnings, salary, or earnings capacity after that, but not more than the maximum weekly compensation rate for total incapacity as set forth in § 28-33-17. For all injuries on or before December 31, 2021, while the incapacity for work resulting from the injury is partial, the employer shall pay the injured employee a weekly compensation equal to 75% of the difference between his or her spendable average weekly base wages, earnings, or salary before the injury, and his or her spendable weekly wages, earnings, salary, or earnings capacity after that, but not more than the maximum weekly compensation rate for total incapacity, as set forth in § 28-33-17. The bills also eliminate the current ambiguity in an injured workers' entitlement, when the person suffers a recurrence of disability. These bills were put forward by the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council which is comprised of labor and business members.
Senate Bill No. 78 SUB A Chapter 001, Euer, Ruggerio, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Sosnowski, Coyne, Cano, Murray, Valverde, Kallman and House Bill No. 5445 SUB A Chapter 002, Carson, Cortvriend, Blazejewski, Kazarian, Ruggiero, Donovan, Speakman, Knight, McEntee, Alzate, ACTS RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- 2021 ACT ON CLIMATE, speed up the reduction of greenhouse gas emission targets to 45% reduction over 1990 levels by 2030, 80% reduction over 1990 levels by 2040 and net zero emissions by 2050. The new law allows the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) to require agencies to promulgate rules necessary to reach the targets.
Senate Bill No. 155 SUB A Chapter 202, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Ruggerio, Miller, Euer, Kallman, Lombardo, Valverde, DiMario, DiPalma and House Bill No. 5131 SUB A Chapter 203, Bennett, ACTS RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAWS, prohibit a food service establishment from providing a consumer with a single-use plastic straw, unless the consumer requests such a straw. The penalty for a first and second violation is a notice of violation. Subsequent violations are subject to a $25 fine up to $300 annually. This new law takes effect January 1, 2022.
Health Insurance Related Laws
A number of health insurance mandates were passed into law in 2021. Rhode Island has a high number of health care mandates which affects insurance premium costs. The following is a list of new items that must be covered or changed.
Senate Bill No. 3 SUB A Chapter 089, Sosnowski, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Gallo, Felag, Coyne, Lawson, Cano, Acosta, DiPalma and House Bill No. 5763 Chapter 088, Kazarian, Kislak, Fogarty, Alzate, Potter, Casimiro, Henries, Handy, Felix, McGaw, ACTS RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES, prohibit health insurance companies from varying the premium rates charged for a health coverage plan based on the gender of the individual policy holder, enrollee, subscriber, or member. This new law takes effect January 1, 2023.
Senate Bill No. 4 SUB B as amended Chapter 184, Miller, Goldin, Valverde, Goodwin, Felag, Coyne, Burke, Cano, Seveney, Lawson and House Bill No. 6032 SUB A as amended Chapter 199, Casey, Kazarian, Filippi, Edwards, Kennedy, Kislak, Cassar, C Lima, Solomon, Fogarty, ACTS RELATING TO INSURANCE -- THE TELEMEDICINE COVERAGE ACT, require insurers to cover medically necessary and clinically appropriate services provided through audio, video, remote monitoring or other online adaptive interviews. Telemedicine does not include email messaging or fax transmissions. In-network primary care providers, registered dietitian nutritionists, and behavioral health providers must be reimbursed at rates not lower than services delivered by the same provider through in-person methods. Prior authorizations must be no more stringent than those required for in-person appointments. Dentists providing telemedicine are subject to the same standard of care that would apply to the procedure in an in-person setting. The law takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill No. 170 SUB B Chapter 163, Murray, McCaffrey, Miller, Goodwin, Mack, Lawson, Kallman, Bell, Valverde, Goldin and House Bill No. 5196 SUB A as amended Chapter 110, Kennedy, Azzinaro, Bennett, Vella-Wilkinson, Solomon, Diaz, Morales, ACTS RELATING TO INSURANCE -- PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS, limit health insurance carriers that provide coverage for prescription insulin drugs used to treat diabetes to $40 for a copayment for a 30 day supply of medically necessary insulin.
Senate Bill No. 383 as amended Chapter 007, Goodwin, Ruggerio, McCaffrey, Miller, Coyne and House Bill No. 5432 SUB A Chapter 008, Ackerman, Chippendale, Hawkins, Baginski, McNamara, ACTS RELATING TO INSURANCE -- ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE POLICIES -- THE MARYELLEN GOODWIN COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING ACT, require insurance coverage for prostate/colon cancer screening.
Senate Bill No. 877 SUB A Chapter 161, DiMario, Valverde, Sosnowski, Acosta, Lawson, Mendes, Anderson, Kallman and House Bill No. 6208 SUB A Chapter 145, Morales, Williams, Kazarian, Potter, Nardone, McGaw, Solomon, Hull, Kislak, Caldwell, ACTS RELATING TO INSURANCE, prohibit insurance carriers from charging out-of-pocket expenses to the insured for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic and mandates that all COVID-19 testing or vaccination is free.
General Business or Industry Specific Laws
Senate Bill No. 133 SUB A Chapter 143, Coyne, Seveney, DiMario, Murray, DiPalma, Euer and House Bill No. 6237 SUB A Chapter 144, Knight, Kislak, Newberry, Batista, Felix, McEntee, ACTS RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE -- SMALL CLAIMS AND CONSUMER CLAIMS -- PROCEDURE IN PARTICULAR ACTIONS, increase the maximum amount to be recovered in civil court action as a small claims from $2,500 to $5,000. This new threshold is effective immediately.
Senate Bill No. 198 SUB A Chapter 120, Raptakis, Murray, Felag, E Morgan, Lawson and House Bill No. 6409 Chapter 119, Azzinaro, Casey, McLaughlin, Knight, Serpa, Fellela, Vella-Wilkinson, Kennedy, ACTS RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- REGISTRATION OF VEHICLES, allow business vehicles which are owned by an entity which a veteran owns, and is registered and authorized to conduct business in Rhode Island, to register the business vehicles with veteran plates. The law takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill No. 264 SUB A Chapter 074, Coyne, Sosnowski, Valverde, Burke, Seveney, Euer and House Bill No. 5642 SUB A Chapter 073, Solomon, ACTS RELATING TO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS -- THE ELDER ADULT FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION PREVENTION ACT, require employees of regulated financial institutions to report suspected financial exploitation of elder adults to the institution which, in turn, must assess the situation and notify the Office of Healthy Aging within 2 days if the institution believes exploitation may have occurred. The new law provides authority to the regulated financial institution to place a temporary hold on transactions. The new law takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill No. 268 SUB A Chapter 157, Sosnowski, Lombardo, Picard, Seveney, Gallo, and House Bill No. 5768 SUB A Chapter 152, McEntee, Craven, Cardillo ACTS RELATING TO BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS -- ROOFING CONTRACTORS, amend the registration and licensure requirements of roofing contractors. The new law takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill No. 555 SUB A as amended Chapter 129, Gallo, Euer and House Bill No. 5105 SUB B Chapter 130, Baginski, Noret, Casimiro, ACTS RELATING TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - RETAIL LICENSES, authorize a holder of a Class B liquor license to sell alcoholic beverages with take-out food orders. The law sunsets on 3/1/2022.
Senate Bill No. 580 Chapter 295, Picard and House Bill No. 6039 Chapter 294, Cardillo, Hull, Solomon, Hawkins, Noret, Kazarian, Potter, Costantino, Vella-Wilkinson, Williams, ACTS RELATING TO TAXATION -- PROPERTY SUBJECT TO TAXATION, extend the manufacturing machinery and equipment exemption by eliminating the requirement the machinery and equipment be new and that it must be purchased after December 31, 1974. To qualify, the equipment now needs only be acquired or used by a manufacturer after December 31, 1974. This change is now in effect.
Senate Bill No. 654 SUB A Chapter 333 DiMario, Valverde, Kallman, Raptakis, Murray, Pearson, Quezada, Mendes and House Bill No. 6119 SUB B Chapter 332 McEntee, Costantino, Caldwell, Cortvriend, Phillips, Carson, Cassar, Giraldo, Casimiro, Slater, ACTS RELATING TO TOWNS AND CITIES -- SMALL BUSINESSES -- ZONING ORDINANCES, impose a moratorium on enforcement of a municipal ordinance or a zoning requirement that penalizes owners of food service establishments/bars for modifications/alternations to their premises in response to an emergency declaration. This is meant to allow restaurants to continue to “take it outside.” The moratorium remains in effect until April 1, 2022.
Senate Bill No. 684 SUB A Chapter 206, (Attorney General) Archambault, Lombardo, Sosnowski, Coyne and House Bill No. 6142 SUB A Chapter 329, (Attorney General) C Lima, Phillips, Carson, Caldwell, Serpa, Fellela, Fenton-Fung, Casey, ACTS RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES, expand the Attorney General’s authority to bring charges of deceptive trade practices against any business, unless the business can show that its activities are subject to regulation by a state or federal agency and the activity is in compliance with orders, including insurance bulletins, or rules of a statute administered by a federal or state government agency. Prior to the passage of this law, the AG could not bring an action against a business if it was deemed to be regulated by a state or federal agency, even if the “regulated” activity was only a granting of a license. This law takes effect immediately.
Senate Bill No. 686 SUB A as amended Chapter 187, Felag and House Bill No. 5437 SUB A as amended Chapter 186, Edwards, ACTS RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS – ELECTRICIANS, allow 288 hours of trade school training to qualify for the journeyperson "B" electrical exam. The law also increases the period of indentured apprenticeship with the Department of Labor and Training and a licensed electrician master to 4 years.
Senate Bill No. 718 SUB A Chapter 210, McCaffrey and House Bill No. 5573 SUB A Chapter 323, Noret, ACTS RELATING TO PROPERTY -- RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT, require a landlord to obtain and have in full force and effect a general liability policy of at least $100,000 to compensate persons injured on the premises due to the negligence of the landlord.
Senate Bill No. 736 SUB A Chapter 387, Archambault, McCaffrey and House Bill No. 5867 SUB A Chapter 388, Craven, ACTS RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE -- PROCEDURE GENERALLY -- CAUSES OF ACTION, eliminated the complete defense to product liability for manufacturers or sellers of a product that was subsequently altered by a purchaser. The remedy is now covered under a comparative negligence standard. If the alteration is deemed to have caused 40% of the injury, then the manufacturer or seller would pay 60% of the damages.
Senate Bill No. 770 DiPalma and House Bill No. 6055 Barros, ACTS RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW -- GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES, create a law designed to limit in-application payments for software applications and purchases. A proprietor of a digital application distribution platform for which cumulative gross receipts from sales on the digital application distribution platform to residents of Rhode Island exceed $10,000,000 in the previous or current calendar year may not: (1) Require a developer to use a digital application distribution platform or digital transaction platform as the exclusive mode of distributing a digital product, (2) Require a developer to use an in-application payment system as the exclusive mode of accepting payment from a user to download a software application or purchase a digital or physical product through a software application., or (3) Retaliate against a developer for choosing to use an alternative application store or in application payment system. The new law is now in effect.
Senate Bill No. 789 SUB A Chapter 137, (Secretary of State) Archambault, Pearson and House Bill No. 5984 SUB A Chapter 138, (Secretary of State) Shallcross Smith, ACTS RELATING TO CORPORATIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS -- RHODE ISLAND BUSINESS CORPORATION ACT, require annual reports of domestic and foreign business corporations, nonprofit corporations, and limited liability companies be filed with the secretary of state between February 1 and May 1 of each year. The effective date is January 1, 2022.
Senate Bill No. 981 Chapter 303, Picard and House Bill No. 6446 Chapter 302, Shekarchi, ACTS RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- STATE BUILDING CODE, establishes E-permitting for construction permitting.
House Bill No. 5214 SUB A Chapter 309, Phillips, Caldwell, Serpa, Hawkins, S Lima, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- SALES AND USE TAXES -- ENFORCEMENT AND COLLECTION, eliminates the ten dollar ($10.00) fee requirement for the sales tax permit.