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Today the Pell Center announced our Spring 2017 event series. Tickets to Pell Center events are free. Please RSVP in advance for each event on the Pell Center’s Eventbrite page, and call 401-341-2927 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Please note, most events this spring will take place at the Bazarsky Lecture Hall in the O’Hare Academic Center. The exception is our March 28, 2017 event, “Rockin’ the Free World,” which will take place at the DiStefano Lecture Hall in the Antone Academic Center.
The 1916 Easter Rising and the Origins of Modern Irregular Warfare
February 15, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Bazarsky Lecture Hall
Dr. Timothy D. Hoyt, John Nicholas Brown Chair of Counterterrorism, U.S. Naval War College
On April 24, 1916 (Easter Monday), Irish rebels seized key locations in downtown Dublin and declared an independent Irish Republic. The “Easter Rising” ended in ignominious defeat, but also marked a new stage in Ireland’s struggle for national independence. Lessons learned from the Rising contributed directly to the success of Irish rebels in the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921. They also served as a model for future anti-colonial and independence struggles around the globe later in the 20th century.
Racial Equity: What is the Call to Action for Higher Education?
Thursday, March 2, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Bazarsky Lecture Hall
Bethany Johnson-Javois, CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network
Bethany Johnson-Javois, Former Ferguson Commission Managing Director and CEO of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network will engage with attendees to re-connect with their leadership purpose and reflect on lessons learned from her work to address community-level trauma and toxic stress spurred by the events in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014. Ms. Johnson-Javois will outline a series of calls to action for higher education that offer a path to what generational change will require, using the lens of racial equity.
The Future of U.S. Asia Policy Under a Trump Administration
Thursday, March 21, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Bazarsky Lecture Hall
A panel of distinguished experts will discuss the future of the U.S. Asia Policy under a Trump Administration. In the course of the moderated discussion, the panelists will discuss issues such as the threats posed to freedom of navigation in the Asian maritime commons, the future of the US-India relationship, and perceptions of the new U.S. administration and of its Asia policy from different Asian capitals, including Beijing. The presentations will be followed by a short Q and A with the audience.
Rockin’ the Free World
Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
DiStefano Lecture Hall
Dr. Sean Kay, Professor in the Department of Politics and Government, Ohio Wesleyan
In Rockin’ the Free World, international relations expert Sean Kay takes readers inside “Bob Dylan’s America” and shows how this vision linked the rock and roll revolution to American values of freedom, equality, human rights, and peace while tracing how those values have spread globally. Rockin’ the Free World then shows how artists have engaged in advancing change via opportunity and education; domestic and international issue advocacy; and within the recording and broader communications industry. The book is built around primary interviews with prominent American and international performing artists ranging from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and Grammy winners to regional and local musicians. The interviews include leading industry people, management, journalists, heads of non-profits, and activists. The book concludes with a look at how musical artists have defined the American experience and what that has meant for the world.
Unconditional Surrender: The Failure of Peace Negotiations in the American Civil War
April 20, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
Bazarsky Lecture Hall
James M. McPherson, George Henry Davis ’86 Professor of American History Emeritus at Princeton University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Most wars in American history have been ended by peace negotiations that led to a treaty between the contending parties: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, even in some respects the Vietnam War. The two major exceptions are the Civil War and World War II, which ended in unconditional surrender and the utter destruction of the losing side’s government and political structure. The lecture will discuss the various efforts for a negotiated peace during the Civil War and will analyze why they failed–indeed, why they really had no chance to succeed.
Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War – Film Screening & Discussion
Tuesday, April 24, 2017, 7:00 p.m.
Bazarsky Lecture Hall
“Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War,” a film directed by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky, tells the story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, a Unitarian Minister and his wife from Wellesley, Massachusetts who spent nearly two years on life-threatening missions in Europe. The couple left their children behind in the care of their parish to help save political dissidents and Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation across Europe.
Newport Health Equity Zone
Community Project Mini-Grant
Request for Proposal
Due: Tuesday February 28, 2017
Awards will be announced by March 22, 2017
Anticipated Project Period: April 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017
Prompt: The Newport Health Equity Zone (HEZ) invites you to submit a project proposal for our Community Mini-Grant Project. We are looking for proposals that improve the health of residents in the HEZ through either neighborhood infrastructure improvements or supportive staffing. The Newport HEZ includes the North End and Broadway communities. In December of 2015, the HEZ collaborative members conducted a Needs Assessment which included surveys, interviews and focus groups. The data collected has been used to inform the content of this RFP and will be used to determine which project proposals are ultimately funded. Proposals are due no later than Tuesday February 28th at 11:59pm. Please e-mail all proposals to Olivia Kachingwe at email@example.com. Proposals can also be mailed to 114 Touro Street, Newport, RI 02840 and MUST be received prior to the due date.
For more information, click here
Representative Lauren Carson invites you to her First House District 75 constituent meeting of the 2017 Legislative session
On Monday evening February 6, at 6:30 in the Newport Library, Rep. Lauren Carson will be holding a special constituent meeting to discuss forming a House District 75 Small Business Advisory Council. She's asking small business owners to meet so that she may become a stronger advocate for them.
So join your neighbors and fellow business owners for a robust discussion on the Newport small business economy and how to make it stronger.
As usual, she will also report her activities in the 2017 Legislative session, and other legislative priorities, including flooding and sea rise, branding and tourism.
There is a school of thought, promoted right here in the Ocean State at Rhode Island School of Design, that calls for the integration of art and design with science and technology to provide a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
Innovation has often been synonymous with science, technology, engineering and math — STEM. With the addition of art and the flourishing design industry that follows, the STEAM movement can be instrumental in the creation of new industries and jobs to boost our economy. Science and creativity are converging, and we need to continue to equally support both to pull our economy forward.
In Rhode Island, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., has championed adding art and design into federal programs that target STEM fields to encourage innovation and economic growth. Government agencies have followed, and we are seeing the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts working together.
STEAM is becoming an emerging industry in Newport County with high-tech jobs and growth opportunities that are backed by workforce development initiatives.
As a voice for local businesses, the Newport County Chamber of Commerce seeks to highlight the importance and breadth of our emerging STEAM industries and their innovative capabilities. It is important that we align our efforts with the state’s focus, so we are an active partner in our state’s future success.
We plan to showcase the innovative work taking place in Newport County and provide our members with the opportunity to see first-hand the exciting new capabilities in our community. The Newport County Chamber of Commerce’s STEAM Before Hours series will offer an interactive experience for our members to see such exciting innovators as FabNewport and the capabilities of Community College of Rhode Island cyber range and the International Yacht Restoration School of technology and trade. We are hoping to visit Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, and some of our area’s top technology companies as well.
We encourage our members to join with us for our upcoming STEAM Before Hours series, which will be announced in our Chamber Spotlight, e-news, and at newportchamber.com. We also hope that all members of the community embrace the importance of STEAM as a catalyst for our future.
Erin Donovan-Boyle is executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce. Commerce Spotlight appears every third weekend of the month in The Daily News and online at Newport DailyNews.com.
An Update from the State House
What’s in the Governor’s Budget?
Not Sick Pay
After searching high and low for a budget article adopting a mandatory sick time policy, the Chamber was unable to find one. According to the Governor’s staff, she will be submitting a separate stand-alone bill in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!
Article 3 – Promise Scholarship
The Governor’s tuition program begins with the graduating class of 2017. The program would be funded by General Revenues as well as any donations that might be received, and covers both tuition and any mandatory fees assessed by the University of RI (URI), RI College (RIC), and the Community College of RI (CCRI). To qualify, the student must be less than 19 years of age at the time of graduation or at the time he/she earns a GED. If the student wishes to attend CCRI, he/she must enroll as a full-time student immediately after graduation. If the student wishes to attend URI or RIC, he/she must already be enrolled and completed 60 credits before the application for the tuition program is submitted. The student is required to be a full-time student (special circumstances exempted), maintain a 2.0 GPA and stay on track to finish on time.
Article 19 – Electric Vehicle Programs
Article 19 simply creates a new state program to encourage the lease or purchase of light-duty electric vehicles. The language calls for the program to begin in 2018 and sunset in 2022. For FY2018 (which starts 7/1/2018), the Office of Energy Resources would receive $250,000 to distribute, as rebates, to drivers licensed in Rhode Island or who can prove residency in the state, and who purchase or lease the electric vehicle from an establishment in Rhode Island.
Article 21 – the Article of Business Penalty Increases
The first four sections of Article 21 actually eliminate fees, including the twenty-dollar ($20) fee for individuals who must register their apprenticeship application with the Division of Professional Regulation. Under current law, apprentices in the following disciplines are required to pay the fee: electrical lightning protection installer, plumbing, water filtration installer, irrigator, pipefitters, and refrigeration/air conditioning. Apprentices in the Plumbers, Irrigators and Water Systems field are required to file this fee annually.
From the business side, sponsors of apprentices, not exempted under Chapter 28-45 of the General Laws would no longer be required to pay an annual fee of $120 to the Department of Labor and Training. Sponsors who are licensed master or contractors were exempt under current law.
All other apprentices that were charged a $24 fee to register their apprenticeship with the state, would receive a break through the elimination of their fee requirement.
HOWEVER, the remainder of this Article is dedicated to raising the penalties on employers who fail to comply with any violation related to the payment of wages, which includes the following:
Misclassification of Employees: While misclassification is covered under the administrative penalty section (meaning a penalty of 15% - 50% of back wages is assessed depending on the infraction), Article 21 adds an additional penalty for misclassifying employees. Under current law, an employer that declares an individual to be an independent contractor when that person should be an employee, would be liable for a civil penalty between $500 and $3,000 for each misclassified employee for the first offense and up to $5000 for subsequent offences. That penalty would be divided equally between DLT and the employee. Article 21 raises the $500 threshold penalty to $1500 per misclassified employee.
Quarterly Wage Report Penalty: Failure to file the state’s quarterly wage report is not covered under the new proposed administrative fee in Article 21, but it does carry its own penalty. Under current law, all employers must file quarterly reports detailing the wages paid to employees. The report includes each employee’s name, social security number and total wages paid (and any other information requested by DLT). Failure to file the report results in a $25 fine plus $25 per month that the report is delinquent up to $150. Article 21 raises the maximum fine to $200.
Penalties for Failure to Contribute or File Reports: Article 21 raises a number of other penalties starting July 1, 2017. Under current law, if an employer KNOWINGLY fails to pay an amount due to a state agency a fine of $10 - $100 will be assessed. Article 21 raises the fine to $25 - $200. If an employer fails to file a required report (does not have to be KNOWINGLY) to a state agency, the penalty was $10. The new penalty would be $25.
Penalty for Working as an Electrician Without a License: Section 5 of Article 21 increases the fine for violating the Electrician’s law (Chapter 5-6). If an individual works without a license, has the wrong license for the job to be done, fails to keep up with continuing education requirements or fails to adhere to the electrician apprenticeship ratios, the penalty levied will be $1500 for the first violation (was $500) and $2,000 for a subsequent violation (was $950). This penalty can be assessed on a person, firm or corporation after notice and a hearing before the board of examiners of electricians.
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5197, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- ENERGY SITING (Requires environmental impacts be considered in energy plant siting proceedings.)
House Bill No. 5217, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS -- LITTER CONTROL AND RECYCLING (Defines as "litter" any commercial/private/political sign/poster/notice subject to penalty provisions of §37-15-7.)
House Bill No. 5222, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - REAL ESTATE BROKERS AND SALESPERSONS (Requires a real estate broker to release customer or client funds in an escrow account as instructed by the parties to a failed real estate transaction, within ten (10) days of receipt of a written release.)
House Bill No. 5225, AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- UNFAIR SALES PRACTICES (Defines the term "regular price" for purposes of the law regulating discount price advertisements.)
House Bill No. 5235, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- ESTATE AND TRANSFER TAXES (Provides that estates in Rhode Island be taxed at a rate equal to the maximum credit for state death taxes allowed by the federal revenue act, which exemption is set at five million, four hundred ninety thousand dollars ($5,490,000) in 2017.)
House Bill No. 5242, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES-- AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT SOCIAL PROTECTION ACT (Creates an accident compensation fund to provide payments and benefits to those injured by uninsured motorists, to be administered by the DHS.)
An Innovative Manufacturing Incubator and Commercial Makerspace is coming to RI. A group of business and community leaders are creating a place that will provide shared workspace, manufacturing and rapid prototyping equipment, tools, expertise and business development services to make things and grow businesses collaboratively. Any individual, business or organization can participate no matter where you are located. We will provide affordable access to a wide variety of equipment otherwise unavailable to a single individual or small business, including everything from traditional metal, wood-working, and electronics tools to 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines. Also available will be sewing, chemical-work, composites, and CAD stations. Dry, wet, and hooded work areas will be included. Rhode Island has a rich manufacturing heritage and is a center for excellence in marine trades, jewelry, clothing, and advanced composites among others. We want to build on this made-with-skilled hands tradition and support a new generation of makers, thinkers and tinkerers; those who will start and grow businesses, those who will improve products and advance technology, and those who will learn and pass along skills. The plan is to create an innovative and collaborative environment that serves the Rhode Island community, which is why your feedback and participation is critical. Whether you are an entrepreneur or hobbyist, an established business or a start-up, a retiree or a teenager, this will be your home for making things. A place to meet and swap ideas. A place to tackle and solve problems. A place to create new products, launch new businesses, grow existing ones, teach new skills and create new jobs. If you had affordable access to shared space, equipment, and expertise, what would you make? Please take our Needs Assessment Survey at http://bit.ly/2jsyxGv - it is short and takes only a few minutes and is much appreciated!
The Matchmaker is co-hosted by RI PTAC and the DoD Northeast Regional Council. The Matchmaker will be held at Crowne Plaza in Warwick on March 22nd and 23rd. March 22nd is a Small Business Professional Training for Prime Contractors and Agency staff and March 23rd is the Matchmaker itself. Additionally, Polaris MEP will be holding a Manufacturing B2B event that day also at the Crowne.
Registration for any of these events can be done at http://www.ribusinessmatch2017.org/. Early bird pricing will continue until February 1st.
They will also be holding Matchmaker Preparation workshops for small businesses a few weeks prior to the event, sign-ups for these are on our website: http://riptac.ecenterdirect.com/events.
An Update from the State House
Governor’s Budget Released
Governor Raimondo released her vision of the State’s 2018 budget on Thursday evening. H.5175 (link provided below) details the $9.3 billion revenue and spending plan that includes two years of free tuition for Rhode Island high school students as well as a continuation of many of the economic development programs that were created last year.
In a first blush, brief overview of the budget, the revenues seem to rely on current sources of revenue, an increase in sales tax due to the extension of the tax to on-line purchases, an increase in a few fees, and a fifty cent ($.50) increase in tax on the sale of cigarettes – the new tax rate would be $4.25 per pack giving Rhode Island the second highest tax in the country (New York is the highest).
In the coming weeks, the Chamber will be highlighting budget Articles of interest to the business community.
Article 2 – Manufacturers
Article 2 seeks to assist manufacturers in order to grow the economy. It expands the purpose of the current Innovation Voucher program by allowing up to $1 million of the fund to be used for research and development by and for small manufacturers. “Research and development” would include: research, technological development, product development, commercialization, market development, technology exploration, and improved business practices that implement strategies to grow business and create operational efficiencies. This voucher can NOT be used in conjunction with R&D tax credits available under current law.
This Article also establishes a Refundable Tax Credit. A manufacturer could submit an application for up to $200,000. The Commerce Corporation must review the application – prior to the manufacturer actually making the investment. The Commerce Corporation would determine how much the manufacturer would be entitled to receive based on: “the nature and amount of the business’s investment; the necessity of the investment and/or credit; whether the business is engaged in a targeted industry; the number of jobs created by the business’s investment; whether the investment took place in a Hope community as defined in general law 42-64.20-3 and the regulations promulgated thereunder; and such other factors as the commerce corporation deems relevant.”
The Refundable Jobs Training Tax Credit can be found in Article 2. Similar to the Refundable Tax Credit program, an applicant for the Job Training Tax Credit must submit an application to the Commerce Corporation PRIOR to expending funds on job training efforts. Again, the maximum amount a manufacturer can apply for is $200,000, and the credit must be used in the tax year in which the training funds were expended. Lastly, the Commerce Corporation is required to supply the names and addresses of any qualified employer that enters into an incentive agreement with the State. That list will be given to the Tax Division and will be available on a public website.
Article 4 – Vehicle Surcharge
Under the Raimondo budget, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will add a $1.50 surcharge to every transaction. The fees collected are to be deposited into a DMV Technology restricted receipt account to be used for debt service, projects and maintenance of the DMV computer system. The Article states that the fee will sunset on June 30, 2022.
Article 4 pushes back the requirement to purchase a new license plate to 2018 (the current law calls for drivers to get a new plate by April 1, 2017.
Article 4 diverts 0.5% of the monies in the Highway Maintenance Account to the DMV for operation expenditures and continues this practice on an annual basis
The following bills were filed last week:
House Bill No. 5132, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS - TAXICAB'S FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (Cuts in half the amount of property and personal injury motor vehicle mandatory insurance coverage that taxicab companies are required to maintain on their vehicles.)
House Bill No. 5140, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- EMPLOYMENT SECURITY - BENEFITS (Increases the maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate to the higher of fifty-seven and one-half percent (57.5%) of the average weekly wages paid to workers in the prior calendar year or six hundred sixteen dollars ($616) per week.)
House Bill No. 5141, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION (Establishes a surtax on the business corporation tax for publicly traded corporations subject to SEC disclosure and reporting requirements, if corporation's ratio of compensation for its CEO to median worker is equal to or greater than 100 to 1.)
House Bill No. 5142, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Eliminates assessment of sales and use tax on taxicab services effective July 1, 2017.)
House Bill No. 5175 (Governor), AN ACT RELATING TO MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE STATE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2018
House Bill No. 5182, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES -- MOBILE TELEPHONE USE (Prohibits the use of a non-hands-free personal wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle, except for public safety personnel or in an emergency situation, and would provide for monetary fines for violations.)
Senate Bill No. 29, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS - STATE PURCHASES (Requires the state and municipalities to award bids for purchases of goods or services to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder whose bid is the lowest price.)
Senate Bill No. 38, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - ENFORCEMENT AND COLLECTION (Enacts a 10 year statute of limitations on tax assessment or collection action for sales/use/estate/personal income/business corp. tax.)
Senate Bill No. 79, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- WORKERS' COMPENSATION--MEDICAL SERVICES (Requires employers to pay the reasonable transportation costs for employees that travel round-trip to receive workers' compensation related health care services.)
Every Friday, GoLocalProv's Russ Moore breaks down who is rising and who is falling in RI politics, business, and sports. Moore has worked on both sides of the desk in Rhode Island media, both for newspapers and on political campaigns.
This Friday, he nominated Chamber member, Patricia Raskin for "Who's Hot?" He says, "For the past 25 years, Raskin has been providing small business owners and entrepreneurs valuable advice on how to solve problems creatively and in a way that helps them and their customers at the same time. Raskin’s show, heard on 630 WPRO on Saturdays from 3-5 continues to be a great resource for small business owners and all businessmen and women."
Join us at the Chamber on Tuesday, February 21st for Patricia's seminar on Using Talk Radio to Grow Your Business.