Coming up in Committee: Nineteen Sets of Bills to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, Today, April 8

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1. H5507: Establishes a legal regime for physician assisted suicide in Rhode Island. (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Apr 8)

2. H5708: Bans non-competition agreements in Rhode Island “unless the non-competition agreement is integral to, and part of the consideration for  the sale of the stock or assets of a business, or the dissolution of a partnership or the withdrawal of a partner from a partnership”. (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8)

3. Bud. Art. 17: Limits General Assembly budgetary authority over the Department of Children, Youth and Families to authorizing a total amount, giving the director the power to spend his or her budget without regard to any specific allocations. (S Finance; Wed, Apr 8)

4. H5576: Requires that a photo-ID be shown when using an EBT card. (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Apr 8)

5. Bud. Art. 11, sec 5: Allows the division of taxation to enter into contracts with private parties that can take a cut of “taxes, interest, or penalty or the reduction of refunds claimed” that they recover for the state. (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8) Are these kinds of tax-privateering arrangements common in other states, or is this a Rhode Island thing?

6. S0194 increases the minimum wage from $9.00 per hour to $10.10 per hour beginning in 2016. S0272 sets the minimum wage according to this formula: “On January 1, 2016, and on January 1 of each year thereafter, the minimum wage then in effect shall be increased by an amount equal to the percentage increase calculated to the nearest increment of fifty cents ($.50) in the United States Department of Labor Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the northeast region during the most recent calendar year for which such data is available; provided, however, that no annual increase so calculated shall exceed fifty cents ($.50)”. S0291 raises the minimum wage for employees who receive tips to the same minimum wage as other workers by 2010. (S Labor; Wed, Apr 8)

7. S0560: Sets construction permit fees statewide, removing municipal government from the process, and giving final authority to the Rhode Island building code commission. (S Housing and Municipal Government; Wed, Apr 8)

8. H5579: “No service provider of any covered facility may use a prone restraint at anytime”. A “covered facility” is defined as “any agency, organization, or public or private entity, regardless of the state agency under whose authority its license or certification is established, that provides support or care, residential support, education, health care, treatment, or direct supervision [but] does not include any law enforcement department, the department of corrections, the training school for youth, or the forensic unit at the Eleanor Slater Hospital”. (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Apr 8)

9. S0762: Adds “requirement for public safety reinforcement” to the list of circumstances where the Governor can activate the National Guard. (S Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs; Wed, Apr 8)

10. Bud. Art. 11, sec 7: Exempts the purchase of “electricity, gas, and every type of fuel used in heating” by commercial entities from the state’s sales tax. (Residential purchase is already exempted, see sections (20) and (21) here). (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8)

11. S0558: Imposes a moratorium on construction “impact fees” for 36 months, or “until new statewide single family permit activity exceeds 1,500 units per year”. (S Housing and Municipal Government; Wed, Apr 8)

12. H5451: Eliminates the exemption the state board of elections has from the administrative procedures act. (H Judiciary; Wed, Apr 8)

13. Bud. Art. 11, sec 13-14: Phases out the 2% “surcharges” (i.e. taxes) on outpatient health care facility services and medical imaging services. (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8)

14. H6010: After some adding and deletion of phrases, the law ends up reading “an insurer authorized to do business in Rhode Island shall not use a customer’s credit report to underwrite or rate risks”. (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8)

15. S0274: Mainly, sets up a legal process for recovering wages not paid by an employer… (S Labor; Wed, Apr 8) …but may also quietly expand the definition of “employee” in the law, to include contractors (that’s been an issue that’s come up more directly in past years).

16. S0496: Allows accessory family dwelling units (if possible, with “no additional exterior entrances”) to be built alongside owner-occupied single family residences, for family members “who are 62 years of age or older”. (Presently, this is allowed only for family members with disabilities). (S Housing and Municipal Government; Wed, Apr 8) This bill comes awfully close, if not being fully into, a regime of picking and choosing whom basic laws will apply to.

17. S0649: Removes the ban in current law against building a hotel at Twin River casino site. (S Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs; Wed, Apr 8)

18. H5423: Extends hurricane and other catastrophic insurance regulations that currently apply only to residential properties to commercial properties, e.g. “no insurer may refuse to insure, cancel, nonrenew or surcharge a policy or contract covering damages to commercial property solely as a result of damages sustained in a catastrophic event”. (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8)

19. H5161: Makes “attendance at a seminar relating to financial literacy, developed and conducted by the department of human services” a condition of the Rhode Island Works program (where “parents are mandated to enter into an employment plan, as a condition of eligibility for cash assistance”). (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Apr 8)

Ranking Indeterminate: H5978: An “electric supplier consumer bill of rights”. (H Corporations; Wed, Apr 8)

Inobvious Priorities: H5577 >> Requires a “certified food safety manager” to be on the premises of any food-establishment that “prepare[s] potentially hazardous foods.

Local Impact: Charlestown



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