Under the Dome
Legislature Adjourns for 2022
The Legislature adjourned at 1:00am on Friday, June 24th, following a few hours of impasse over the Speaker’s affordable housing package and the Senate leadership’s desire to name a CCRI building after former Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed. The housing package did pass; the naming of the building will be an issue for another year.
The Senate passed the budget and transmitted it to the Governor who is expected to sign it this week.
Over the next couple weeks, the legislature will transmit bills to the Governor for his consideration. Should he veto any bill, the legislature will then decide whether to come back into special session to address those vetoes. Once that procedure is complete, the Chamber will send out a special edition of this publication to provide a list the new laws and links to those laws for your use.
The end of session includes the reading of a resolution for each house and senate member that has decided not to run for re-election. This year provided one surprise as Minority Leader Blake Filippi of Charleston/New Shoreham/South Kingstown/Westerly announced he will not run again. He immediately submitted a letter of resignation as Leader. Representative Michael Chippendale of Coventry/Foster/Glocester was named the new Minority Leader with Representative David Place of Burriville/Glocester as Minority Whip.
Chamber Legislative Wins
- Unemployment Trust Fund will be replenished $100 million. While this does not fully restore the fund to pre-pandemic levels, it is expected to decrease the UI tax rate by one schedule. Keep in mind that most employers have experienced an increase in wage bases; the rate may go down, but the overall tax may stay the same or increase.
- The legislature did NOT pass the wage theft/misclassification felony bill.
- The legislature did NOT pass any new significant labor bills like minimum wage, family leave expansion, employer contributions to TDI or TCI, workplace bullying, etc.
- No tax increases were included in the budget
- A last-minute bill to place an assessment on self-insureds and health insurance premiums to pay for psychiatric services for Rhode Island residents (currently paid for with a federal grant until June, 2023) did NOT pass.
- Efforts to place additional data transparency requirements on businesses that use the internet for customers did NOT pass. This issue may be discussed over the fall with stakeholders.
New Laws of Note
H.8056SubA and S.2666SubA, Acts Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Department of Labor and Training – Digital Credentialing were signed into law June 21st. Starting July 1, 2023, the DLT will be required to obtain verified electronic credentials such as certifications, licenses, degrees and training completion certificates issued by workforce and training programs in addition to any paper-based credentials that it receives from participants. law22115 (state.ri.us) law22116 (state.ri.us)
Also signed on June 21st were H.7863SubA and S.2816SubA, Acts Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Employment Security. These laws extend the increase in the total amount of earnings a partial-unemployed insurance claimant can receive before being entirely disqualified for benefits and an increase in the amount of earnings disregarded when calculating a weekly benefit rate. This COVID-19 program was set to expire June 30, 2022. It is now extended to June 30, 2023. law22117 (state.ri.us) law22118 (state.ri.us)
2022 Campaign Update – How Can You Help
With the session now over, the campaign season will ramp into high activity mode. If your Representative or Senator (or a business-friendly candidate running for a seat) has been helpful to business, we ask you to consider helping them in the following ways:
- After filing for candidacy, which takes place this week, they must collect signatures in order to qualify to be on the ballot – consider helping them collect signatures.
- They will be walking door to door to greet residents. Volunteer to walk with them or to introduce them to your neighbors. This is extremely helpful to a candidate.
- Offer to place a campaign sign on your property.
- Volunteer to work on Primary Day – September 13th. This could mean holding a sign at a polling place, making phone calls to those who have not yet voted, driving voters to the polls, etc.
- Make a donation to the individual’s campaign to help them pay for mailers, signs, postage, etc. (this helps, but your time is even more valuable if possible)