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    Legislative Update from your
    Chamber of Commerce Coalition

     

    An Update from the State House

     

    House Budget Expected Soon

    The House and Senate are busy working on the budget with the hopes of bringing the document out of the House Finance Committee Wednesday or Thursday of this week.  If successful in meeting the goal, it is possible that the legislature could adjourn before the end of June.  Many issues will be addressed in the coming weeks.

     

    Governor Releases New Toll Proposal on Trucks

    The Governor released a new proposal entitled “Rhode Works.”  Noting that Rhode Island is ranked 50th in the country in bridge and road conditions and that 22% of our 1162 bridges are structurally deficient, the Governor unveiled the idea of a proposed tax on certain trucks that pass over the state’s roads.

    RoadWorks calls for the issuance of a $700 million revenue bond for the repair of bridges ($300 million for bridges throughout the state and $400 million for bridges on Routes 6 and 10).  At the news conference, it was stated that a “user fee” would be assessed on trucks traveling across 17 to 20 bridges throughout the state, on Routes 95, 195, 295, 146, 6 and 10.  Trucks would also pay multiple times if they passed over more than one of these bridges during one trip through Rhode Island.  The user fee is, in essence, a toll.  Below is a chart that was released by WPRI to help explain which trucks are intended to be included in the fee/toll program.

     

     

     

    Peter Alviti, the new Director of the Department of Transportation stated that the RhodeWorks program would save an estimated $1 billion by fixing various bridges now thereby avoiding more costly repairs in the future. The DoT’s goal is to reach 90% structural sufficiency for the state’s bridges by 2024.  While no firm fee/toll amount has been released yet, the goal is to raise about $100 million a year in order to pay off the bond.

    To view the Governor’s proposal go to:  http://www.dot.ri.gov/news/rhodeworks.php

    A hearing on the proposal will be held in the House Finance Committee June 2nd around 4:30pm in room 35 of the state house.

     

    Below is a list of legislation that was filed last week or that is active this week.  The list contains bill numbers, links to the legislation, summary explanations and the Chamber’s position if applicable. 

     

    House Bill No. 6248AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY - RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT (Requires full payment for all back rent upon stay of execution in landlord/tenant action and establishes rights relating to removal of tenant's personal property when execution is obtained by default.)  This bill was filed May 27th and is currently under review.

     

    House Bill No. 5019, AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE—PROCEDURE GENERALLY - CAUSES OF ACTION {LC228/1} (Would create a cause of action for employees who are discharged or otherwise sanctioned by an employer on account of being required to attend court pursuant to a subpoena.) The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on this bill June 2nd.  The bill is expected to be amended.  The Chamber is watching the final format of the legislation closely.

     

    Senate Bill No. 134AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL OFFENSES - IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION (Creates the Identify Theft Protection Act of 2015, to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use, modification, destruction or disclosure, and to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of such information.).  S.134 is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate Judiciary Committee June 2nd. The Chamber opposes this bill.

     

    Senate Bill No. 746, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - FAIR

    EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES {LC2234/1} (Prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for failing to report to regularly scheduled work when employee is responding to an emergency in his or her capacity as a volunteer firefighter or ambulance technician.)  The Senate Labor Committee is scheduled to pass this bill June 3rd.  The Chamber has no position on this bill at this time.