An Update from the State House
Proposal to Change Corporate Tax Payment Schedule Floated
An idea for changing the Corporate Estimated Tax schedule is being floated for input. Under current law, companies pay 40% of their estimated taxes in the third month of their fiscal year and then pay 60% is the sixth month. However, most states – and the federal government – collect estimated corporate tax payments on a more uniform schedule over the course of the year: 50% in April and 50% in September. If you have any thoughts on this proposal, please email the Chamber so that we can pass the information along to the appropriate party.
Bill Seeks to Place New Rules on Drive Through Windows
S.498, An Act Relating to Food and Drugs – Drive Through Windows, will be heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday, June 20th. S.498 state that “Every establishment selling drinks or food by the use of drive-through windows shall install at the ordering station…equipment to be used to assist the deaf and hard-of hearing in ordering and shall train its personnel in the use of such equipment.” The bill, if passed, would take effect upon passage.
Chicken/Veal/Pig Bill passes House Environment Committee
H.6023 An Act Relating to Animal Husbandry – Unlawful Confinement of A Covered Animal, passed the House Environment Committee last week in a SubA form (amended). The bill no longer addresses the purchase and sale of animals raised in confined spaces, which would have forced restaurants and hotels to determine if the meat they want to buy complies with the proposed law concerning the treatment of chickens, calves and sows. As passed by the House Committee, the bill bans farmers from raising chickens in cages if they are unable to completely spread their wings while in the cage. Sows must be able to turn around completely in the holding area; and calves may not be raised on short tethers or in small cages. For non “foodies” this means, if this bill is enacted by the Senate and Governor, Rhode Island farmers will no longer be permitted to raise veal as customers know it.
Senate’s Turn to Address Sugary Drinks
S.452, An Act Relating to Taxation – Sugary Drinks, will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee Thursday at the Rise in room 211. This bill – identical to H.5787 - places a tax on drinks based on the sugar content per ounce: Tier 1: Beverages with less than five grams (5g) of sugar per twelve fluid ounces would not be taxed; Tier 2: Beverages with more than five grams (5g) but less than twenty grams (20g) of sugar per twelve fluid ounces (12 fl. oz.) would be taxed at a rate of one cent ($0.01) per ounce. Tier 3: Beverages with twenty grams (20g) of sugar or more per twelve (12) fluid ounces would be taxed at a rate of two cents ($0.02) per ounce. As an example, a 14 oz. bottle of ice tea having 21g of sugar would be taxed $0.28. Medical drinks, pure fruit juices and milks are exempt. The tax is to be paid by the distributor; but if the distributor fails to pay the tax, then the retailer is responsible for payment. Proponents believe S.452 would raise at least $30 million annually.
The following new bills were filed:
House Bill No. 6293, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - ELECTRICIANS - TRADES LICENSING - PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS (Each individual violating law governing electricians, plumbers, and other trades constitutes a separate offense for firms/corporations.)
House Bill No. 6305, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- RESILIENT RHODE ISLAND ACT OF 2014 - CLIMATE CHANGE COORDINATING COUNCIL (Directs the climate change coordinating council to study a carbon pricing program.)
House Bill No. 6307, AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - UNIFORM CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT (Requires health care professionals upon issuance of initial opioid prescription to discuss with patient/parent/guardian risk of developing dependence/addiction/potential of overdose/death/adverse risks of concurrent use of alcohol/other psychoactive drugs)
Senate Bill No. 937, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- HOSPITAL CONVERSIONS (Streamlines the procedure for the approval of mergers of nonprofit hospitals.)
Senate Bill No. 941, AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS -- TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANY SERVICES (Subjects TNC vehicle owners to the regulation of transportation network companies.)
Senate Bill No. 942, AN ACT RELATING TO INSURANCE - INSURANCE CONSUMER PROTECTION SALES ACT (Creates a system of consumer protection for regulation by DBR of noninsurance business entities in disclosing personal identifiable financial information for insurance sales.)