Senator’s Wife Caught Up in RI Licensing

Channel 10 investigative reporter Jim Taricani caught former Smithfield Town Council member Jean Cerroni running an unlicensed daycare center on her property:

The I-Team investigation showed that she ran the day care for school teachers who dropped their children off at her Miss Jean’s Pleasant View facility in Smithfield throughout the school year. The I-Team staked it out and found, on one day alone, at least eight children being dropped off by their parents.

According to state law, any day care facility caring for more than four children has to be licensed by the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. But the I-Team found that Cerroni had no license.

Licensing for this sort of business activity is likely to be seen as more justified than for, say, manicurists or others of the 49 low-to-moderate income occupations for which Rhode Island requires licenses. Still, who decides the thresholds at which regulations kick in and which professions don’t require state approval at all?

Presumably, Cerroni’s husband, Sen. John Tassoni (D, Smithfield, North Smithfield) could have some role in such determinations. I asked Sen. Tassoni whether four children is too low of a threshold for day cares and whether he thinks the state should reduce the burden of licensing more generally. He replied that he “can’t comment.”