Government

This week in Rhode Island

Links to every meeting at the Rhode Island State House this week, plus a little extra.
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Published on May 2, 2022
By Uprise RI

Monday May 2, 2022

5:30pm; Room 313

Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight

  • Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee meets on Monday to hear from new Providence Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Javier Montañez
  • The Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight will be meet to review the ongoing Providence Public School District Turnaround Action Plan.
  • The committee is chaired by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) and will hear testimony from Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of the RI Department of Education and Dr. Javier Montañez, Superintendent of the Providence Public School District.
  • The public is welcome and invited to testify.

Tuesday May 3, 2022

3pm; Rhode Island State House Library

  • Sens. Cano, Acosta and Reps. Giraldo, Williams to join Fuerza Laboral for a press conference tomorrow celebrating worker cooperatives
    • Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket),  Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) and Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) will be joined by Fuerza Laboral for a press conference tomorrow celebrating the fourth anniversary of legislation passed allowing worker cooperatives in Rhode Island.
    • The event will commemorate the fourth anniversary of the approval of legislation (2017-S 0676Aaa) which allowed cooperatives to work under the Rhode Island Business Corporation Act. 
    • Fuerza Laboral, a non-profit organization fighting labor discrimination and wage theft, and the RI-P.O.W.E.R. Network, a cooperative incubator, will host a fair on the second floor of the State House from 3 to 5 p.m. for many of the cooperatives currently operating in Rhode Island.

4pm; House Chamber

4pm; Senate Chamber

  • Rhode Island Senate
    • The full Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on matching legislation (2022-S 2751) sponsored by Environment and Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown).

5pm (Rise of the House); Room 35

  • House Committee on Finance
  • Among the legislation being heard are the following bills:
    • 2022-H 7236, sponsored by Rep. Julie A. Casimiro (D-Dist. 31, North Kingstown, Exeter), allows for a tax credit of $500 for certain nurse practitioners or physicians.
    • 2022-H 7391, sponsored by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence), exempts from taxation the retail sale of cloth or disposable face masks and facial coverings.
    • 2022-H 7494, sponsored by Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence), raises the earned-income tax credit from 15 percent to 50 percent for the tax years 2023 and beyond.
    • 2022-H 7984, sponsored by Rep. Jacquelyn Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston), exempts beer and malt beverage from the sales tax.

5pm (Rise of the House); Room 101

  • House Committee on Labor
    • H8159 by Potter provides for contractor liability for debts owed to an employer or third party on the wage claimants behalf, incurred by a subcontractor.

5pm (Rise of the Senate); Senate Lounge

  • Senate Committee on Finance
  • The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to hear testimony on the proposed state budget, particularly related to the Department of Health and the ongoing COVID response.
  • Members will hear testimony on the budget of the Department of Health along withbudget proposals under the American Rescue Plan Act, specifically related to ongoing COVID response.
  • The Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln). 

5pm (Rise of the Senate); Room 211; Secret Hearing!

  • Senate Committee on Health & Human Services
    • The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold hearings several bills concerning Medicare and Medicaid tomorrow.
  • Among the bills on the committee’s calendar are:
    • 2022-S 2073 — This bill sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) would raise Rhode Island Medicaid primary care payment rates to not less than federal Medicare rates for the same services.
    • 2022-S 2896 — Sponsored by Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), this bill would establish a premium payment program to help individuals and families transition from expired COVID-19 Medicaid coverage to commercial health insurance, avoiding a gap in medical coverage.
    • 2022-S 2196 — This bill sponsored by Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) increases eligibility for the three federal Medicare savings programs and eliminates the asset test for these programs.

5pm (Rise of the Senate); Room 310; Secret Hearing!

5pm (Rise of the Senate); Room 313

  • Senate Committee on Judiciary
    • The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on a number of bills concerning law enforcement, including some aimed at reforming the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.
  • Among the bills on the calendar are:
    • 2022-S 2718 — Sponsored by Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), this bill would amend the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights to provide greater accountability in the disciplinary process over law enforcement.
    • 2022-S 2379 — This bill sponsored by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) specifies and restricts the use of excessive physical force by peace officers, creates a civil action for constitutional rights violations, imposes a duty to intervene on officers on the scene and requires the reporting of incident information. 
    • 2022-S 2629 — Sponsored by Sen. John P. Burke (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), this bill mandates that police officers qualify in the use of firearms in both daylight and nighttime conditions twice annually and that correctional officers qualify annually instead of once every two years.
    • S2799 by Archambault increases committee in law enforcement officers’ bill of rights hearing to 5, three as permanent. Hearings commenced in 15 days, allow for summary suspension of 5 days and would mandate pay suspended while the case is pending.

Wednesday May 4, 2022

3pm; State House

  • Medicare for All PRESS CONFERENCE / RALLY
    • Learn about state bills from legislators, physicians, faith leaders and community members
    • Show the General Assembly that RIers support Medicare for All

3:30pm; House Lounge

4pm; 404 Broad St., Providence

  • Southside Community Land Trust

4pm; House Chamber

4pm; Senate Lounge

4pm; Room 313

  • Senate Committee on Environment & Agriculture
    • The Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee meets Wednesday to vote on the House version of the bill granting the Department of Environmental Management emergency powers to deal with a bird flu outbreak, discuss advice and consent on two appointments to state boards, and hold hearings on two bills concerning electric vehicles.
  • It is scheduled to vote on:
    • 2022-H 7785 — Sponsored by Rep. Brandon Potter (D-Dist. 16, Cranston), this bill authorizes the DEM to establish quarantine zones for animals and would permit the examination of any quarantined animal therein.
  • The committee is slated to hold hearings on:
    • The appointments of Kate Sayles to the Conservation Committee, and Karen Chilton Wilder to the Rhode Island Rivers Council.
    • 2022-S 2448 — Sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown), this bill would provide for a plan and structure to transition to green energy in motor and other vehicles.
    • 2022-S 2692 — Also sponsored by Senator DiMario, this bill would strive to make sales of all new medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the state zero-emissions by no later than 2050.

4pm; Room 211; Secret Hearing!

  • Senate Committee on Labor
    • S2238 by Calkin exempts certain executive, administrative, and professional employees from overtime pay if their weekly wages exceed one thousand thirty-six dollars ($1,036), an increase from the current two hundred dollars ($200).
    • S2407 by DiPalma requires state contracted human services providers to pay their employees a starting hourly wage, of no less than $21.00 per hour, and to include wage incremental raises for existing employees.
    • Senate Resolution 2414 by Raptakis creates an 11 member special legislative study commission whose purpose it would be to study Rhode Island’s minimum wage, and who reports back to the Senate no later than May 4, 2022, and whose life would expire on January 4, 2023.
    • S2720 by Mack increases the wage amount for working prisoners, committed to the adult correctional institution, from $3.00 a day to the minimum hourly wage amount for most workers currently set at $12.25 per hour.
    • S2882 by Goodwin increases the hourly compensation for “individual providers” from no less than $15.00 on April 1, 2022, and gradually increases several times until June 30, 2023, when it would be $18.00 and continuing.

4:30pm; Room 310; Secret Hearing!

5pm (Rise of the House); Room 35

  • House Committee on Finance
  • Among the legislation being heard are the following bills:
    • 2022-H 7176, sponsored by Rep. David J. Place (R-Dist. 47, Burrillville, Glocester), provides a scholarship allowing a student in the care and custody of the DCYF to attend RIC without the payment of tuition and room and board as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of the program and the admission criteria of RIC.
    • 2022-H 7240, sponsored by Rep. June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), exempts reusable bags, not including paper or plastic bags, from the state sales tax.
    • 2022-H 7381, sponsored by House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence), allows a deduction from federal adjusted gross income for interest payments on outstanding student loans.
    • 2022-H 7636, sponsored by Representative Amore, establishes the Rhode Island Hope Scholarship Act to provide up to the cost of two years of tuition costs and mandatory fees for eligible students in hopes to increase the numbers for enrollment and graduation.
    • H7492 by Morales authorizes municipalities to tax school tuition and school meals. Contains exemptions from taxation.
    • H7622 by Morales creates the “green justice zone act” and the “environmental justice act” and makes amendments to several other areas of the general laws designed to create a system to provide clean water and air to the state.
    • H7916 by Morales requires that the state’s share to public libraries be fixed at twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount appropriated by the city or town in their budgets for fiscal year 2023, utilizing funds from the general fund or the American Rescue Plan Act.

5pm (Rise of the House); House Lounge

5pm (Rise of the House); Room 101

  • House Committee on Oversight
  • The House Committee on Oversight is scheduled to meet Wednesday with officials from the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals to review the current state of Rhode Island’s behavioral health system.
  • The committee will hear a presentation by Richard Charest, the director of the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; and Kevin Savage, the director, of the Division of Developmental Disabilities.
  • The committee will also hear provider-community perspectives on the behavioral health service delivery system from officials of the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of Rhode Island, including John J. Tassoni, Jr., vice president of operations for community and government relations, and Susan A. Storti, president/ and CEO; Christine Hathaway, senior director of Behavioral Health, Perspectives Corporation; and Mary Marran, president and COO, of Butler Hospital, and Joan Salhany, vice president of Gateway Operations.
  • The House Oversight Committee is chaired by Rep. Patricia Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick).

Thursday May 5, 2022

3:30pm; House Lounge

  • House Committee on Judiciary
  • The House Judiciary Committee will be meeting to vote on legislation which repeals the provision of the General Laws that declares prisoners serving a life sentence as civilly dead.
  • The bill (2022-H 7411) is sponsored by Rep. Evan Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick).

3:30pm; Room 101

4pm; House Chamber

4pm; Senate Chamber

5pm (Rise of the House); House Lounge

5pm (Rise of the House); Room 35

  • House Committee on Finance
  • Among the legislation being heard are the following bills:
    • 2022-H 7099, sponsored by Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick), reduces the fee to acquire an emailed duplicate motor vehicle registration certificate from $17 to $5.
    • 2022-H 7343, sponsored by Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket), requires fiscal notes regarding legislation creating a new crime or increasing the period of incarceration or modifying sentences.
    • 2022-H 7534, sponsored by Rep. Jean Philippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket), repeals the provisions of the General Laws allowing deferred deposit providers, also known as “payday lenders.”
    • 2022-H 7798, sponsored by Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown), increases the motion picture production company tax credit to $10 million and cap the available total of credits to $40 million. This act would also eliminate the sunset provision.
    • 2022-H 8006, sponsored by Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls), imposes a moratorium on the payment of the fuel tax until December 31, 2022.
    • H7866 by P Morgan eliminates the estate tax in Rhode Island.
    • H8153 by Morales establishes a lead water supply replacement program for public and private service lines within the next 10 years and requires the disclosure to tenants and buyers of real property of the presence of lead service lines.

5pm (Rise of the House); Room 101

5pm (Rise of the Senate); Room 310; Secret Hearing!

5pm (Rise of the Senate); Senate Lounge

  • Senate Committee on Finance
  • The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on legislation related to Providence’s unfunded pension liability.
  • Members will hear testimony on legislation (2022-S 2321) introduced by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) that would authorize the city of Providence to finance a contribution towards the unfunded pension liability of the employee retirement system by the issuance of bonds in the principal amount of $515,000,000.
  • If the bond is issued, Providence would have 25 years to pay it back at a fixed rate. The plan has the approval of the Providence City Council, which passed a resolution urging the General Assembly to approve the legislation.
  • The Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Sen. Ryan W. Pearson (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln).

5pm (Rise the Senate); Room 313

  • Senate Committee on Judiciary
  • The committee meets for hearings on a variety of bills, including:
    • 2022-S 2349 — Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), this bill amends the Hospital Conversions Act to require the transacting parties or a new hospital seeking conversion to supply additional information on staffing levels, pension plans and community impact for review by the Department of Health and the Attorney General.
    • 2022-S 2102 — This bill sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) would repeal the laws that establish the Health Services Council and amend several provisions relative to the review process of the Hospital Conversion Act pertaining to maintenance of services and required disclosures.
    • 2022-S 2787 — Sponsored by Sen. Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), this bill creates a dedicated District Court calendar for treatment and sentencing alternatives to eligible defendants deemed to suffer from serious and persistent mental illness.

Friday, May 6, 2022

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