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    Under the Dome: 4/30/18

    April 30, 2018
    An Update from the State House
    After completing their break, the legislature is back in action, although the pace is a little bit
    slower at this point – mirroring the old cliché “the calm before the storm.” The House and
    Senate Finance committees have begun to discuss the budget in the hopes of completing a
    spending plan by mid-June (the end of June may more likely); and the remainder of the
    committees are starting to pass bills for consideration by the full body. Still – a few new bills
    have been introduced and hearings continue to proceed.
    H.8117, a new bill listed below, will be heard by the House Corporations Committee Tuesday.
    Under current law, The Division of Taxation is required to send a report to the Department of
    Motor Vehicles listing the names, social security numbers and addresses of those individuals
    who fail to pay taxes to the State of Rhode Island as required. There is no administrative or
    appellate review. The DMV will then refuse to register a vehicle or transfer one until the taxes
    are paid. H.8117 requires the Tax Administrator to send a notice to everyone on the list in order
    to provide them with the opportunity to pay the amount due or to contest the finding.
    S.2226 (Sen. Lynch Prata, McCaffrey, Miller, Metts, and Nesselbush) will be heard in the
    Senate Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday. This bill simply requires all
    hospitals to offer flu vaccinations, during the flu season, to patients (inpatients and outpatients)
    who are 65 years of age or older. The 2017-2018 season was particularly active. Sadly, between
    October 1 st and April 4 th , Rhode Island lost 42 people to flu-related death – 38 were age 65+.
    Hospitals reported that 822 inpatients age 65+ tested positive for the flu. 605 outpatients age
    65+ tested positive for the flu. In addition, the Rhode Island Department of Health has reported
    that Memorial Hospital ER in Pawtucket was treating about 80 people each day with Influenza
    like symptoms, at full capacity, thus sending patients with Influenza like symptoms to other
    Providence area hospitals. Proponents hope that more opportunities to obtain the flu shot will
    result in less deaths or hospitalizations.
    S.2461 (Sen. Metts, and Quezada) adds the same restrictions concerning second-hand exposure
    to marijuana and vaping. In a nutshell, if a person can’t legally smoke tobacco in a specific
    location (i.e. in a commercial building, by the door) then if S.2461 passes, a person could not
    smoke marijuana or use a vapor system in that location. S.2461 will be heard by the Senate
    Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
    The opponents of the Burrillville Power Plant have another opportunity to stop the siting of the
    plant. H.8120 (Rep. Keable, Newberry, Price, Handy, Ruggiero) was filed last Friday and will
    receive a hearing in the House Committee on Environment and Energy Thursday. H.8120
    increases the number of people on the Energy Facilities Siting Board from 3 to 9. Under current
    law, the Director of the PUC, DEM and the Director of Administration for Planning are the
    members of the board. This bill would add the Department of Health, Attorney General, 4
    members of the public (2 of which must be residents of the proposed host community of a
    facility, 1 appointed by the Attorney General with specific qualifications, and 1 who is a member

    of the Rhode Island Bar Association with specific qualifications). If H.8120 were to pass it
    would be very difficult to site any energy facility in the state.
    H.7905 (Rep. Craven) will be heard in the House Labor Committee Thursday. H.7905 allows
    for employers, in workers' compensation actions, to shift the legal burden to employees to prove
    they were not intoxicated at the time of injury or death, after a showing that the employee had a
    positive test for intoxicating substances. Passage would mark a small victory for the business
    community.

    The following bills were filed last week:
    House Bill No. 8109
    BY  Marszalkowski, Morin, Ruggiero, Marshall, Edwards
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT --
    MANUFACTURING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT-- TAX INCENTIVES (Establishes
    the "refundable investment tax credit act" to provide for a refundable investment tax credit for
    certain investments in the construction of facilities, acquisition of tangible property, and the
    training of employees in the state.)
    House Bill No. 8117
    BY  Costantino, Lima, Marshall, Bennett, Winfield
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR AND OTHER VEHICLES --
    REGISTRATION OF VEHICLES (Requires tax administrator to send written notice to persons
    failing to file tax returns/pay taxes informing them they will be prevented from renewing
    operator license/vehicle registration and procedures to contest determination.)
    House Bill No. 8120
    BY  Keable, Newberry, Price, Handy, Ruggiero
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - ENERGY
    FACILITY SITING ACT (Makes changes to the membership of the energy facilities siting board
    by increasing the size of the board from three (3) to nine (9) members, and also imposes
    additional requirements on applicants for energy facilities. Effective 1/1/2019.)
    House Bill No. 8122
    BY  Abney, Marshall, Ruggiero
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO LICENSES GENERALLY (Simplifies the process of
    doing business in Rhode Island by eliminating unnecessary licensing requirements of various
    business entities.)
    Contact:
    Stephen Lombardi
    (401) 885-0020