Full video: First meeting of the House Committee on Corporations

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The House Committee on Corporations is chaired by Representative Robert Jacquard (Democrat, District 17, Cranston). Meeting for the first time this session on Tuesday, the hearing was held in room 203, with no cameras, at the same time as the House Committee on the Judiciary was hearing bills on reproductive rights.

The hearing opened with roll call, followed by a vote to hold all bills for further study.

H5091 introduced by Representative Rebecca Kislak (Democrat, District 4, Providence) is an act to vacate the forfeiture or revocation of the charter of Ten Trees Group, Incorporated.

H5028 introduced by Representative Joseph McNamara (Democrat, District 19, Warwick), creates “The Rhode Island Utility Fair Share Roadway Repair Act” which requires public utilities to properly repair and repave roadways affected by the actions of the utility.

Written commentary:

The Kingtown Water District opposes the bill.
The Pawtucket Water Supply Board opposes the bill.
Providence Water opposes the bill.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) supports the bill, with some small changes.
The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns supports the bill.

H5092 introduced by Representative John Lombardi (Democrat, District 8, Providence), prohibits the practice of patient brokering and provides penalties and enforcement.

H5093 introduced by Lombardi, provides that any rate increase with respect to electric distribution companies would be no greater than the increase in the Consumer Price Index or 5.5 percent, whichever is greater.

Written commentary:

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) writes that the General Assembly is already required to review rate increases of more than 5.5 percent, and additionally, the bill may face state constitutional issues, including a violation of separation of powers.

H5094 introduced by Lombardi, requires the identification of prescription drugs on which the state spends significant health care dollars due to increase in costs and requires the drug’s manufacturers to provide relevant information and documentation to justify costs increases.

Written commentary:

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), located in Washington DC, opposes this bill, writing that (a) the reporting requirements included in the bill will interfere with the market-based ecosystem of the United States healthcare system, (b) the reporting requirements included in the bill would overly burden small, emerging biotechnology companies, (c) transparency provisions should focus on what matters most for patients, including lowering out-of-pocket costs and improving patient access and (d) the bill will reduce, not improve competitiveness in the marketplace by failing to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information manufacturers are require to report.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) opposes the bill because (a) innovative pharmaceutical companies already disclose a wide range of data on their products, (b) meaningful transparency that is helpful to patients must include the entire supply chain of stakeholders, (c) drug costs are the only costs in the health care system that diminishes over time.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) would be happy to work with the legislature to craft a bill in this vein, modeled after similar legislation in California and Nevada.

H5095 introduced by Lombardi, prohibits price-gouging of prescribed drugs or pharmaceuticals in times of market emergency or market shortages and makes violators guilty of a felony and subject to injunctive relief.

H5169 introduced by Representative Kathleen Fogarty (Democrat, District 35, South Kingstown), requires electric transmission and electric distribution companies to conduct periodic equipment inspections.

Written commentary:

The PUC wrote that the requirements in this bill are duplicative of pre-existing laws and regulations

H5183 introduced by Fogarty, requires the DOT to establish a schedule of all maintenance, including landscaping and mowing of lawns on state roads, and provide a copy of said schedule to the department of public works in any city or town where the state road is located.

S0033 introduced by Senator Susan Sosnowski (Democrat, District 37, Block Island, South Kingstown)is an act to vacate the forfeiture or revocation of the charter of Washington County Builders, Incorporated.

H5116, H5129 and H5184 were postponed at the request of the sponsors.


Francis McMahon, lobbyist for National Grid and Verizon

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About Steve Ahlquist 998 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade.Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading.atomicsteve@gmail.com