• Under The Dome

    Last Week At the State House

    The House passed the nearly $14 billion budget on a vote of 69-5 in almost record time.  The funding plan had few amendments added during the debate.  While balanced, the budget utilizes surplus funds for programs that are not one-time programs.  The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear and vote on the bill at the Rise on Tuesday, June 11th 

    This Week At the State House

    Barring a breakdown between the House and Senate, for those that remember the “chicken cage” bill, the General Assembly should complete its work this week.  Many bills are posting for hearings and SubAs are popping up on an hourly basis.  Below are the bills and the SubAs of particular interest that are on the agenda at the time of writing this edition.

    Monday, June 10th 

    Temporary Caregiver Expansion – Both H.7171 and S.2121 are posted for a vote in the House Labor Committee at 3:30. The bills have been amended by eliminating the increase in dependents allowance and expanding the benefit to any new groups of employees.  The number of weeks is lengthened to seven weeks beginning January 1, 2025, and to eight weeks beginning January 1, 2026.

    Radon Inspection and Mitigation – H.8335 is scheduled for a hearing in House Corporations Monday at the Rise as well as Tuesday at 3:00.  This bill requires sellers to provide buyers with the results of a radon test that was conducted no later than one year prior to the signing of a purchase and sale agreement.  If the test uncovers a radon level greater than 4.0 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), then the seller must pay for and complete mitigation of the radon prior to the closing date.

    Data Transparency and Privacy – S.2500 SubA requires any person or entity that processes personal data to identify all categories of information the controller collects, when the controller may disclose such information, how a customer may exercise their customer rights, the purpose for processing the personal data, categories of personal data share with a third party, and means to contact the controller. Entities that control or process personal data of not less than 35,000 customers or at least 10,000 customers and derive more than twenty percent (20%) of gross revenue from the sale of personal data are subject to additional disclosure requirements and must allow customers the right to opt out of the collection of personally identifiable information. There is an exemption for entities subject the federal Gramm Leach Bliley Act.  Any violation of this act would constitute a violation of the general regulatory provisions of commercial law and constitute a deceptive trade practice. If passed, the law would take effect on January 1, 2026.  

    Citizens Bank Tax Proposal – H.7927 is scheduled for hearing and or consideration in House Finance at 3:30 Monday as well as Tuesday at 3:30. The bill allows a financial institution to elect to be taxed under the single sales factor test like many another multi-jurisdictional businesses in Rhode Island.  

    Tuesday, June 11th  

    Budget – The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the budget at the Rise.

    Citizens Bank Tax Proposal – The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to take testimony on S.3152 at the Rise which is identical at this time to H.7927.

    Housing Package – if you are interested in the housing package and zoning, there are twenty bills scheduled for a vote in the Senate Housing Committee at the Rise.  The entire hearing notice can be viewed at  https://status.rilegislature.gov/documents/agenda-20505.aspx  

    Washington Bridge Statute of Repose – S.3145 is scheduled for hearing at the Rise.  While the bill is directed at the Washington Bridge, it gives rise to concerns about retroactive changes to law.  The bill retroactively changes the statute of repose for the Washington Bridge.  What does that mean?  Under current law, any person, firm, corporation or legal entity that is involved in the design, construction, repair, modification, etc. to real property can be sued for damages or injuries within ten years of the “substantial completion” of a construction project.  This was litigated in 1985 and upheld by the Rhode Island Supreme Court and it is similar to laws in 46 other states.  S.3145 changes the law as it pertains to the Washington bridge by extending the statute of limitations to ten years from the “date of discovery” or by December 1, 2033, whichever is later, unless the case would be time barred as of the date this legislation becomes law.  So, if the bill were to pass into law July 1, 2024, any entity involved in the Washington bridge where “substantial completion” did not occur before July 1, 2014, would be reachable to sue for liability.  In some instances, this extends the window of liability to close to 20 years.  The reason for setting a time limit to sue in most cases relates to ability to find eye witnesses with memories that are accurate, loss of potential evidence, the influence of other factors that are hard to quantify or qualify over the years.  Insurance companies rely on statutes of limitations and statutes of repose to assess risk in setting premiums or deciding to insure entities.

    The following new bill was filed last week:

    Senate Bill No. 3144  Valverde, McKenney, DiMario, Miller, Kallman, Euer, Sosnowski, Murray, Gu, Pearson, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSIT RECYCLING ACT (Establishes beverage container recycling to be regulated by DEM.)  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText24/SenateText24/S3144.pdf  

    Senate Bill No. 3145  Lawson, Britto, Lauria, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE -- PROCEDURE GENERALLY -- CAUSES OF ACTION (Clarifies the statute of limitations for all causes of action not otherwise time barred that seek damages arising out of or related to the design/construction/supervision/or inspection of the Washington Bridge No. 700, located in East Prov. RI.)  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText24/SenateText24/S3145.pdf 

    Senate Bill No. 3152  DiPalma, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION -- TAXATION OF BANKS (Provides banks with an election to use the allocation and apportionment method of income for purposes of taxation.)  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText24/SenateText24/S3152.pdf  

    House Resolution No. 8345  McEntee, Spears, Morales, Bennett, JOINT RESOLUTION EXTENDING THE REPORTING AND EXPIRATION DATES AND AMENDING THE PURPOSE OF THE SPECIAL JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION TO STUDY AND PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES FROM PLASTIC BOTTLE WASTE (Extends the reporting and expiration dates, and amend the commission’s purpose to include glass and aluminum products, and would report back by April 30, 2025, and expire on May 5, 2025.)  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText24/HouseText24/H8345.pdf 

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