Chamber Connections BLOG
Chamber Connections BLOG
Last Week at the State House
All of the bills mention in last week’s edition were held for further study: S.2243 (parental leave expansion), S.2245 (TDI expansion), S.2130 (employee commuter benefits), S.2075 (employer tax for Children Relief Fund), and S.2274 (increase renewable source for electricity).
State’s Landfill Update – RI Resource Recovery provided an update on the status of the State’s landfill. The good news is that the life expectancy of the site has been extended from 2036 to 2040. The extension was achieved by increasing the fees for disposal. Because the fees were so low, the landfill was attracting customers from all over the state. With the increase in fees, certain customers found it more feasible to use other landfill sites for disposal needs. The landfill takes in 650,000 tons of waste a year. Approximately 23% of the items placed into recycling bins are contaminated and make their way back to the landfill.
This Week at the State House
Wednesday, April 6th
The Chamber has been asking, and the House Oversight Committee has answered the call. On Wednesday at 1:30pm in the House Lounge, the Committee will hear from a number of agencies concerning renewable energy programs in Rhode Island. Policy programs from 100% renewable electricity supply, to electric vehicle sale requirements, to electrification of all buildings in the state are up for consideration. Rhode Island has one of the highest electricity rates in the country. If the transition to renewable energy is not planned out carefully and data driven, the economy will suffer and supply may not keep pace with demand. The Committee will hear from: Linda George, Administrator of the Division of Public Utilities; Karen Stewart, Renewable Energy Fund Program Director for RI Commerce Corporation; and Chris Kearns, Policy and Legislative Liaison for the Office of Energy Resources. The meeting will be live streamed at https://www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx
The Senate Labor Committee will hear a bill requested by the Rhode Island Department of Labor. S.2816, An Act Related to Labor and Labor Relations – Employment Security, extends the partial unemployment insurance benefits put into place during the pandemic. S.2816 extends the increase in the total amount of earning a partial -unemployment insurance claimant can receive before being disqualified for benefits. It also extends the increase in the amount of earnings that is disregarded when calculating the claimant’s weekly benefit. These additional benefits are set to expire June 30, 2022. S.2816 would extend the benefits to June 30, 2023. The hearing will take place at 4:00 pm in room 211 at the state house.
Thursday, April 7th
Two committee meetings of interest are scheduled for Thursday – Senate Commerce and House Labor.
Senate Commerce, scheduled to meet at the Rise (approximately 4:30 pm) in room 310, will take testimony S.2688, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Consumer Credit History Employment Protection Act, prohibits employers from asking questions about a job applicant’s financial past or from checking their credit history. There are exemptions for those seeking jobs where a credit check is required under state or federal law, or a national security clearance; where the person would have signatory authority over third parties worth $10,000 or more; non-clerical positions with access to trade secrets; or positions with the ability to modify digital security systems. If the job falls within an exemption, the employer must inform the applicant and obtain written permission prior to running the credit check.
The House Labor Committee will meet at the Rise in room 101 on Thursday. What is expected to be a busy and potentially long meeting will include the following bills:
If you wish to submit written testimony on any of these bills, email your name, bill number and position (in the subject line), along with your testimony, to HouseLabor@rilegislature.gov
Testimony should be submitted by 1:00 pm, Thursday.
The following new bill has been filed:
House Bill No. 8074 Solomon, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS -- LABOR STANDARDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS (Established labor standards applicable to renewable energy projects and conditions/procedures for applicants related to labor agreements with enforcement by department of labor and training (DLT).) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/HouseText22/H8074.pdf