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Current RI Legislative Update

RI Legislative Update

Recent Results of Hearings on Legislation Being Followed This Session

House Bill No. 7490

BY  Barros, Giraldo, Kislak, Casimiro, Solomon, Alzate, Felix, Cassar, Messier

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES — PUBLIC ASSISTANCE ACT (Allows SNAP recipients to receive a minimum of $0.50 credit on their EBT card, for each $1.00 spent on fruits and vegetables also creates a separate SNAP fund to allocate funds from the general fund to effectuate this act.)

{LC4761/1}

02/16/2022 Introduced, referred to House Finance

04/22/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration

04/25/2022 Committee postponed at request of sponsor (04/28/2022)

05/06/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (05/12/2022)

05/12/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

 

House Bill No. 7496

BY  Bennett, Cortvriend, Speakman, Carson, Ajello, Kislak, Donovan, Henries, Hull, Williams

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY — ECONOMIC AND CLIMATE RESILIENCE ACT OF 2022 (Establishes a fee on companies that sell fossil fuels in Rhode Island.)

{LC3279/1}

02/16/2022 Introduced, referred to House Finance

04/22/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (04/26/2022)

04/26/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

 

 

House Bill No. 7593  SUB A

BY  Slater, Hull, Williams, Kazarian, Solomon, McNamara, O’Brien, Potter, Bennett, Morales

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS — THE RHODE ISLAND CANNABIS ACT (Establishes the Cannabis Control Commission. Legalizes recreational marijuana possession and use.)

{LC3594/A/1}

03/01/2022 Introduced, referred to House Finance

03/18/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/22/2022)

03/22/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

05/13/2022 Scheduled for consideration (05/18/2022)

05/17/2022 Proposed Substitute

05/18/2022 Committee recommends passage of Sub A

 

Senate Bill No. 2430  SUB A

BY  Miller, McCaffrey, Goodwin, Ruggerio, Coyne, Pearson, Acosta, Kallman, Archambault, Murray

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS — THE RHODE ISLAND CANNABIS ACT (Establishes the Cannabis Control Commission. Legalizes recreational marijuana possession and use.)

{LC5360/A/1}

03/01/2022 Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary

03/11/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/15/2022)

03/15/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

05/13/2022 Scheduled for consideration (05/18/2022)

05/17/2022 Proposed Substitute

05/18/2022 Committee recommends passage of Sub A

05/18/2022 Placed on Senate Calendar (05/24/2022)

 

enate Bill No. 2486  SUB A

BY  Ciccone, Lombardo, F Lombardi

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS — DIGNITY AT WORK ACT (Establishes the Dignity at Work Act, to provide workers with more protection from bullying and harassment in the workplace.)

{LC5135/A/1}

03/01/2022 Introduced, referred to Senate Labor

03/04/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/09/2022)

03/09/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

05/06/2022 Scheduled for consideration (05/11/2022)

05/10/2022 Proposed Substitute

05/11/2022 Committee recommends passage of Sub A

05/12/2022 Placed on Senate Calendar (05/17/2022)

05/17/2022 Senate passed Sub A

05/18/2022 Referred to House Labor

 

Senate Bill No. 2673

BY  DiMario, Sosnowski, Valverde, Burke, Cano, Lawson, Bell, Miller, Murray, Kallman

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS – SANITATION IN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS (Allows cottage food manufacturers upon registration with the DOH and directs the department to permit home food manufacture and sales direct to consumers.)

{LC5081/1}

03/10/2022 Introduced, referred to Senate Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs

04/21/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (04/27/2022)

04/27/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study


Senate Bill No. 2775

(Attorney General)

BY  McCaffrey

ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS — PAYMENTS OF WAGES (Increases the criminal penalties for wage theft and employee misclassification.)

{LC5061/1}

03/24/2022 Introduced, referred to Senate Judiciary

04/01/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration

04/01/2022 Meeting postponed (04/05/2022)

05/06/2022 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (05/12/2022)

05/12/2022 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

 

 

In Other Legislative News:

 

Recreational marijuana moved closer Wednesday to becoming a reality in the Rhode Island. The Senate Judiciary and House Finance committees both advanced legislation to their respective chambers. The legislation passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, 9-1, and in the House Finance Committee, 12-2. The bills will go to the full Senate and House for votes, which are set to take place on Tuesday. 

“I’ll be willing to sign the piece of legislation if it gets to my desk the way I understand it’s going to be delivered,” said Gov. Dan McKee.  McKee had concerns about the previous draft, but the bill has since been revised.

 

One of the biggest changes is automatic expungement for any prior civil violation, misdemeanor, or felony conviction for possession of marijuana decriminalized by the bill. If it becomes law, people at least 21 years old would be able to sell and possess up to 1 ounce of pot and keep no more than 10 ounces in their home and grow a small amount.  It would also allow 33 retail licenses across six zones in Rhode Island. Marijuana would be a cash crop for the state through a 10% cannabis tax, a 7% sales tax, and a 3% tax for the place that sold it.

 

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Rhode Island’s budget surplus just keeps getting bigger.  The latest projections of state tax collections and spending show Rhode Island ending the fiscal year with an $877.5-million surplus, according to a new report from the Office of Management and Budget.

That new expected surplus, driven by a $387-million upgrade to expected state revenues collected in the year ending June 30,  is larger than the $618-million year-end surplus projected last November.  State spending is forecast to end the year $75 million higher than budgeted, according to the third-quarter report from Budget Officer Joe Codega. The new expenses include $57 million in payments to settle four-year union contracts with state workers.

However, the report said that despite the new contract, the state is struggling to retain workers.

 

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Rhode Island’s state economic development agency Wednesday approved $21 million in state incentives for the renovation and conversion of the Industrial Trust Tower into apartments.

The unanimous vote by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation’s board of directors is one of the first steps in the proposed $220-million rescue plan for the Art Deco landmark known as the Superman Building.

The incentives approved Wednesday – $15 million in Rebuild Rhode Island tax credits and $5.7 million from the Commerce Corp’s “First Wave” fund – are part of a $41-million package of state and city financial aid.

The redevelopment plan, put forward by building owner David Sweetser of High Rock Development, would build 285 apartments in the 26-story tower, 57 of them reserved at below-market rents. 

 

Update On the 2022 Elections:  Governor

Gov. Dan McKee and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea are neck and neck in the Democratic primary for governor, but more voters are undecided than supporting either candidate, an exclusive 12 News/Roger Williams University poll released Tuesday shows.

The survey of 400 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters finds McKee at 25% and Gorbea at 23%, but 37% of voters are undecided. McKee’s lead over Gorbea is within the margin of error.

The other three Democratic candidates are still in single-digits: former Secretary of State Matt Brown is at 7%, former CVS executive Helena Foulkes is at 6% and community activist Luis Daniel Muñoz is at 2%.

“There is no question — this race is wide open,” said 12 News political analyst Joe Fleming, who conducted the poll. The primary is Sept. 13.

The cellphone and landline interview poll was conducted Monday, May 9, through Thursday, May 12, by Fleming & Associates of Cumberland, R.I. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus approximately 4.9 percentage points. Fleming has been conducting polls for WPRI 12 since 1984.

McKee and Gorbea are benefiting from their higher profiles as the only two candidates currently serving in elected office, Fleming said. Foulkes has the most money of the five Democrats but only began running TV campaign ads on Tuesday, after the poll was completed. She is the first candidate in the primary to go on the air.

“These numbers could change greatly between now and September,” Fleming said. “The other candidates in the race do not have high name recognition, which is why they need to get out there and start doing their media, to build their name recognition up, to give the voters an idea of what they stand for.”

The poll finds a sizable gender gap among Democratic primary voters. McKee leads Gorbea by double-digits among male voters, 32% to 17%, while Gorbea leads by double-digits among female voters, 28% to 18%.

Gorbea is well ahead of McKee among voters ages 18 to 39, while McKee leads among voters ages 60 and older. McKee has a slim lead among both self-identified Democrats and self-identified independents, while Gorbea has a slight lead among voters who say they are “very likely” to cast a ballot in the September primary.

The Democratic primary winner will go on to face the Republican nominee. Political newcomer Ashley Kalus, who began a six-figure advertising campaign in April, is viewed as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

Update On the 2022 Elections:  Congress 2nd District

 

Half of Democratic primary voters are undecided in the race to replace Congressman Jim Langevin, and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is the only candidate who has substantial support so far, an exclusive 12 News/Roger Williams University poll released Tuesday shows.

The survey of 250 likely Democratic primary voters in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District finds Magaziner at 33%, but even more voters — 50% — remain undecided with four months to go before the Sept. 13 primary.

Three other Democratic candidates — former state Rep. David Segal, former Langevin aide Joy Fox, and former Biden administration official Sarah Morgenthau — are closely clustered together with 4% to 5% each. Providence firefighter Cameron Moquin has 1%, and Refugee Dream Center founder Omar Bah has 0.4%.

“The big winner in CD2 is — undecided,” said 12 News political analyst Joe Fleming, who conducted the poll.

The cellphone and landline interview poll was conducted Monday, May 9, through Thursday, May 12, by Fleming & Associates of Cumberland, R.I. The survey has an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus approximately 6.2 percentage points. Fleming has been conducting polls for WPRI 12 since 1984.

“Keep in mind, Seth Magaziner has been elected statewide twice,” Fleming said. “He’s more of a name that is known around the state. The other five candidates that are running are not known, they don’t have high name recognition, so I’m not surprised with these results at this point.”

Magaziner has by far the most money among the six Democrats, sitting on $1.4 million as of March 31. Morgenthau, Segal and Fox were the only other candidates that had raised six-figures, and last week Morgenthau became the first of the Democrats to start airing campaign ads on TV.

“I expect the other candidates to start going up with their buys shortly, and that could change these numbers greatly,” Fleming said. “With half the voters undecided, there is still a lot of movement that can happen in this race.”

The poll is decent news for Magaziner, Fleming said, showing the two-term treasurer starts the primary race with about one in three voters behind him.

“The question is, how solid is that third?” Fleming said. “Are some of those people voting because he is the name I know, or are they rock solid and they aren’t going to change from voting for him? There could be some soft support there, which I am sure his opponents are hoping.”

Among subgroups of voters, Magaziner is running particularly strong among older primary voters, with 47% support among those ages 60 and up. His support is relatively weak with self-identified independent voters, 28% of whom are supporting him but 59% of whom are undecided.

The nominee chosen in the Democratic primary will go on to face the winner of the Republican 2nd District primary between former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and former state Rep. Bob Lancia. State and national GOP leaders are hoping they can make the November election competitive due to voter frustration about issues such as inflation.

In a news release issued after the poll results came out, Magaziner’s campaign trumpeted his 6-to-1 advantage over his nearest rival, Segal.

“Treasurer Magaziner’s wide lead shows that our message of fighting for middle-class families by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, making child care more affordable, and protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is resonating with voters across the district,” said Magaziner spokesperson Patricia Socarras. “Magaziner is in a strong position to win the Democratic nomination and take on Republican Allan Fung in November.”

Appearing live on 12 News at 4 just before the poll came out, Segal sought to tamp down expectations.

“I guessed you might ask me this one,” Segal told 12 News anchor Kim Kalunian, laughing.

“I think we’re going to see that I have some room to grow,” he said. “I’m also confident that support for me and this effort is going to grow as people hear more about my message, about my years of work on these important issues, about support from folks like Elizabeth Warren and a variety of local and national organizations that stand for building a fair economy.”

 

Note: Information obtained from Providence Journal, WPRI and WJAR legislative news sources