Legislative Update from your
Chamber of Commerce Coalition
An Update from the State House
Chamber Supports Secretary of State’s Lobbying Bill
In an effort to make the lobbying process more transparent to the public as well as more clear for those participating in lobbying efforts, the Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea introduced legislation. The bill combines various definitions of lobbying in the current law into one definition that is more explicit. The legislation simplifies the reporting process, and gives the Secretary of State subpoena powers in order to find those individuals that are lobbying while avoiding the reporting requirements. Chamber CEO, John Gregory has authored a letter of support which may be published in a future edition of the Providence Business News.
House Budget Committee Vote Slated for Tuesday
At 8:17pm on Friday June 5th, the House posted the FY2016 budget for consideration by the House Finance Committee. Around 4:30pm on Tuesday June 9th, the committee will convene to vote on the $8.6 billion economic proposal for the state. For those interested, the process can be watched live on Capitol TV with amendments usually posted to the legislative website shortly after passage by the committee members. The Speaker has publicly stated that tolls will not be a part of the budget, nor will the luxury property tax sometimes referred to as the “Taylor Swift” tax. Many economic development tools requested by the Governor are expected to be imbedded in the budget, however with restrictions and oversight proposals in place. After the committee passes the budget, the House must wait seven (7) days before the bill can be go to the full House of Representatives for consideration. The Chamber will be watching the process closely. Please watch your email for legislative alert requests during this crucial week!
Toll Proposal on Trucks in Limbo
As the Governor suggested that her proposal to place a toll on trucks be limited by removing Class 6 and 7 vehicles, the Speaker of the House stated that the proposal would not be addressed in the State Budget. That means the proposal will most likely have to wait – either for a special session this fall or for 2016. Questions flooded the legislature from many interests concerning which vehicles are really included, how much the tolls would cost industries directly impacted, and even the cost of the technology as the proposal changed throughout the week. The Chamber will be watching the issue closely over the next couple weeks, and will continue to ask questions to ascertain the impact to the business community.
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. 6280, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - BARBERS, HAIRDRESSERS, COSMETICIANS, MANICURISTS, AND ESTHETICIANS (Requires commercial landlords to review and inspect the necessary licenses of barbers and hairdressers, who seek to rent their premises and increases the penalties for license violations.)
This bill was introduced June 4th and will be heard in the House Corporations Committee June 9th. The bill is under review. Because the end of session is approaching, if you have an interest in this bill, please contact the Chamber and your legislators immediately.
House Bill No. 6278, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS – MINIMUM WAGES (Prevents municipal firefighters and rescue service personnel from working a regular workweek that exceeds 42 hours and municipal police officers from working a regular workweek that exceeds 40 hours unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.) This bill will be heard in the House Labor Committee Labor June 9th. The Chamber opposes this bill.
The Senate version below will be heard in the Senate Labor Committee June 9th. Anyone interested should contact his/her legislator today!
Senate Bill No. 961, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS – MINIMUM WAGES (Establishes a forty-two (42) hour workweek for firefighters and rescue service personnel and a forty (40) hour workweek for municipal police officers unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties with regard to the payment of overtime.)
House Bill No. 5315, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - FAIR
EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES (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.). H.5315 will be voted on by the House Labor Committee June 9th. The Chamber has no position on this bill, but provides it for your information.
House Bill No. 5635, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY - RESIDENTIAL SECURITY DEPOSITS (Allows landlords to withhold from a security deposit paid by a vacating tenant, reasonable cleaning and trash disposal expenses they have incurred.) This bill is expected to pass the House Judiciary Committee June 9th. Since this bill was amended in the Senate and is back in the House, passage of the bill by the Committee and the full House thereafter, would send it directly to the Governor’s desk for her consideration.