Previous RI Legislative News

 

American Rescue Plan:

With September now upon us attention is turning to how Rhode Island should spend the state’s $1.1 billion allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act. None of the money has been touched yet, and state lawmakers say they’ve acted to ensure the governor’s office can’t spend it unilaterally, unlike last year’s $1.25 billion CARES Act deposit, which Gina Raimondo doled out largely on her own.

15-member panel created by the Rhode Island Foundation has spent the summer gathering ideas for how the money should be spent, working in concert with RIPEC and the Economic Progress Institute. They’ve heard from about 150 people representing various organizations, commissioned five focus groups, and plan to do a series of community meetings as well. “The process has been much more robust and inclusive than I think I originally imagined,” Foundation CEO Neil Steinberg told me Friday.

He says the panel is on track to issue a final report by “early fall,” and expects it to propose three to five “big ideas” that the state could tackle with the money. “These need to be investments that deliver enduring change,” he said. Steinberg was coy about what he thinks the final ideas will be, but he did single out one issue as likely to make the cut: “Housing. That’s not a secret, but it comes up all through different aspects of this.”

He also emphasizes that the federal regulations around the money say states should prioritize projects which support the communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. And he wants to make sure that implementation and oversight gets as much attention as whatever programs are created. “The real test is, can we do what we say we’re going to do?” Steinberg said. “None of us wants to be here in five years, saying, ‘What happened to that billion dollars?’”

Special Session Or Not?

Speaking of the General Assembly — Speaker Shekarchi is taking his time deciding whether to bring reps back to Smith Hill for a special session before the end of the year to tackle marijuana, LEOBOR or American Rescue Plan spending. “No decisions have been made if, or when, there may be a fall session,” House spokesperson Larry Berman reports.

New Pay Equity Law:

The R.I. Department of Labor and Training is beginning to figure out how it will implement Rhode Island’s newly enacted pay equity law, which Bristol Democrat Susan Donovan successfully got through the House this year after a long effort. The law, which takes effect in January 2023, bans wage discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age or country of origin, and gives workers new options to challenge their pay.

DLT will hold three Zoom sessions seeking input on the issue next month, and is accepting public comment through Oct. 15, with the final regs scheduled to be out by Dec. 7. Meanwhile, PBN reports employers are being encouraged to conduct wage audits now in order to give themselves a defense against potential future litigation.

 

August 2020 RI Legislative Update

July 2020 RI Legislative Update

June 2020 RI Legislative Update

May 2020 RI Legislative Update

March 2020 RI Legislative Update

February 2020 RI Legislative Update

January 2020 RI Legislative Update

November/December 2019 RI Legislative Update

October 2019 RI Legislative Update

September 2019 RI Legislative Update

August 2019 RI Legislative Update

July 2019 RI Legislative Update

June 2019 RI Legislative Update

May 2019 RI Legislative Update

April 2019 RI Legislative Update

March 2019 RI Legislative Update

February 2019 RI Legislative Update

January 2019 RI Legislative Update

November/December 2018 RI Legislative Update

September 2018 RI Legislative Update 

July 2018 RI Legislative Update

June 2018 RI Legislative Update

May 2018 RI Legislative Update

April 2018 RI Legislative Update

January 2018 RI Legislative Update

October 2017 RI Legislative Update

September 2017 RI Legislative Update

July 2017 RI Legislative Update

June 2017 RI Legislative Update

May 2017 RI Legislative Update

March 2017 RI Legislative Update

June 2015 RI Legislative Update

May 2015 RI Legislative Update

March 2015 RI Legislative Update

March 2015 Positive Outcomes from RIFDA Initiatives

December 2014 RI Legislative Update

September 2014 RI Legislative Update

August 2014 RI Legislative Update

June 2014 RI Legislative Update

April 2014 RI Legislative Update

March 2014 RI Legislative Update

November 2013 RI Legislative Update

June 2013 RI Legislative Update

March 2013 RI Legislative Update

February 2013 RI Legislative Update

January 2013 RI Legislative Update

September 2012 RI Legislative Update

August 2012 RI Legislative Update

July 2012 RI Legislative Update

April 2012 RI Legislative Update

March 2012 RI Legislative Update