Under The Dome 5/28/2024

    May 28, 2024

    This Week At the State House


    As we approach the last few weeks of session, most of the bills mentioned in this publication will be scheduled for a vote by the committee, with a few hearings sprinkled throughout. The House Finance Committee has not posted the budget yet, but is expected to do so at any moment.


    Tuesday, May 28th


    H.7837, An Act Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Workers Compensation is scheduled for a vote in the House Labor Committee at 3:45. The Senate version (S.2472) has already passed the Senate. The bill calls for independent contractors to file annually with the Department of Labor. A similar bill passed last year and became effective January 1, 2024. The court reviewed the statute and determined the language required further revision to clarify the intent of the Act. H.7837 specifies that independent contractors must file annually for each client to be legally considered an individual contractor. The process is simple. To file DWC-11-IC form online, go to: https://dlt.ri.gov/workers-compensation/independent-contractors If you are a company that hires independent contractors, the Chamber encourages you to verify the form has been filed.


    The Senate Finance Committee will take testimony on S.2347, An Act Relating to Taxation – Tax on Gains From the Sale or Exchange of Real Property at the Rise (approximately 5:00). The bill creates a new tax on gains realized from the sale of real property held for six years or less.


    Gain as a percentage of basis (tax cost)

    Years property held by transferor 0-99% 100-199% 200% or more

    Less than 4 months 60% 70% 80%

    4 – 8 months 35% 52.5% 70%

    8 months - 1 year 30% 45% 60%

    1 - 2 years 25% 37.5% 50%

    2 - 3 years 20% 30% 40%

    3 – 4 years 15% 22.5% 30%

    4 – 5 years 10% 15% 20%

    5 – 6 years 5% 7.5% 10%


    Failure to pay the proper tax or to attempt to evade the tax comes with a penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of $10,000 or five times the amount of the tax that was owed.

    If you wish to submit testimony, send it to SenateFinance@rilegislature.gov The bill can be viewed in its entirety at https://webserver.rilegislature.gov/BillText/BillText24/SenateText24/S2347.pdf



    A second bill scheduled for hearing at the Rise in Senate Finance is S.2366, An Act Relating to Public Utilities and Carries. This bill creates a tiered rate system for electricity and natural gas customers whose household income level is below 150% of the federal poverty level and who are eligible for LIHEAP assistance or Medicaid. For these households, the plan envisions capping electric rates to ensure that they pay no more than 3% of their income on electricity or 6% of their income if the house utilizes electricity as a sole source of heat. The program will be

    funded by increased rates assessed on all other customers. The most current US Census estimates 10.8% of population in Rhode Island meets the definition of living in poverty. The census does not say how many are living at 150% of the federal poverty level. The Rhode Island total population at the time of the census was 1,095,962. Testimony may be submitted at SenateFinance@rilegislature.gov


    The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on S.3056, An Act Relating to Corporations, Associations, and Partnerships – Rhode Island Business Corporations Act. The bill allows the Division of Taxation to share certain information with the Secretary of State’s office. If a business fails to pay taxes to the state as required under law of the period of a year, and no settlement agreement has been entered, a notice of intent to revoke the company’s charter will be sent to the business. If not corrected, the charter will be revoked. This bill would take effect January 1, 2025.



    Wednesday, May 29th


    If you are in the real estate business, are in the market to buy or sell a house, or if you are a house inspector, contact your legislator quickly. H.7015 SubA, An Act Relating to Businesses and Professions is scheduled for a vote in the House Corporations Committee at the Rise (approximately 5:00). The Senate version (S.2120) had a hearing in April and was held for further study, keeping it alive for possible consideration. H.7015 bans anyone, other than a licensed electrician, from testing wires, conduits and apparatus which includes fixtures, lighting, etc. What this means, is that a potential buyer’s house inspector would no longer be able to inspect switches, lights, or look at a panel to alert the buyer to potential problems. Buyers, should they wish to have the dwelling’s electrical system included in an inspection would need to hire a licensed electrician to perform the inspection – within the customary ten-day inspection period. Under current law, a house inspector is permitted to look at these items and recommend the buyer seek advice from a licensed electrician if something appears amiss. If passed into law, the bill would take effect January 30, 2025.



    Thursday, May 30th


    The Senate Finance Committee will be taking testimony on S.2355, An Act Relating to Taxation – Personal Income Tax. The bill imposes a Rhode Island personal income surtax of three percent (3%) on taxable income over $1,000,000, with the existing three-bracket personal income tax structure remaining in place. This surtax would be imposed on taxable income after all modifications, standard deductions, and exemptions have been applied; and would apply to tax years ending December 31, 2025 and beyond. The additional revenue would be placed in a restricted receipt account to be used for child care, public education, roads and bridges and public transportation. Testimony can be emailed to SenateFinance@rilegislature.gov



    Action Needed Now – Contact Your State Senator and Representative


    Even if you have spoken to you legislators months ago when the Chamber first issued a “Call for Action,” we ask you to contact your state representative and state senator again concerning H.7171/S.2121 – expansion of temporary care giver benefits.


    H.7171 and S.2121 Acts Relating to Labor and Labor Relations – Temporary Disability Insurance

    · Expand the TCI benefit to cover employees who wish to take time to care for a sibling (including half-siblings and foster siblings), a grandchild or a “care recipient.” A “care recipient” is defined as “a person for whom the employee is responsible for providing or arranging health or safety related care, including, but not limited to, helping the person obtain diagnostic, preventive, routine, or therapeutic health treatment.”

    · Increase the benefit provided to twelve (12) weeks in a benefit year beginning January 1, 2025. This benefit was first extended to employees in 2014 at four (4) weeks. The legislature increased it to five (5) weeks in 2022 and to six (6) weeks in 2023. The employer is required to hold the job for the employee that is on leave.


    What should I say? Talk about the difficulties your business is having finding employees in the current market. Talk about what will happen to your business if one, two, three or ten employes take leave at the same time. If you have experienced yourself, tell the story. If you know of a business that is struggling in Massachusetts following the expansion of paid leave, share the story. It is not hard; and the message or phone call does not have to be lengthy.


    In a state like Rhode Island, standing up for your business can seem like a daunting task. But that is exactly why we need voices like yours to tell lawmakers the real-world impact of certain policy choices. If they do not hear your story, they cannot be expected to understand the impacts legislation can have on your business.


    Name E-mail Address

    Representative Edith H. Ajello rep-ajello@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Christopher R.

    Blazejewski rep-blazejewski@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Nathan W. Biah rep-biah@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Rebecca M.

    Kislak rep-kislak@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Anthony J.

    DeSimone rep-desimone@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Raymond A.

    Hull rep-hull@rilegislature.gov

    Representative David Morales rep-morales@rilegislature.gov

    Representative John J.

    Lombardi rep-lombardi@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Enrique George

    Sanchez rep-sanchez@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Scott A. Slater rep-slater@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Grace Diaz rep-diaz@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Jose F. Batista rep-batista@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Ramon A.

    Perez rep-perez@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Charlene M.

    Lima rep-lima@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Barbara Ann

    Fenton-Fung rep-fenton-fung@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Brandon C.

    Potter rep-potter@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Jacquelyn M.

    Baginski rep-baginski@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Arthur Handy rep-handy@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Joseph M.

    McNamara rep-mcnamara@rilegislature.gov

    Representative David A.

    Bennett rep-bennett@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Camille F.J

    Vella-Wilkinson rep-vella-wilkinson@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Joseph J.

    Solomon, Jr. rep-solomon@rilegislature.gov

    Representative K. Joseph

    Shekarchi rep-shekarchi@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Evan P.

    Shanley rep-shanley@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Thomas E.

    Noret rep-noret@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Patricia L.

    Morgan rep-morgan@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Patricia A.

    Serpa rep-serpa@rilegislature.gov

    Representative George A

    Nardone rep-nardone@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Sherry Roberts rep-roberts@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Justine A.

    Caldwell rep-caldwell@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Julie A.

    Casimiro rep-casimiro@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Robert E.

    Craven, Sr. rep-craven@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Carol Hagan

    McEntee rep-mcentee@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Teresa Ann

    Tanzi rep-tanzi@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Kathleen A.

    Fogarty rep-fogarty@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Tina L. Spears rep-spears@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Samuel A. Azzinaro rep-azzinaro@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Brian Patrick

    Kennedy rep-kennedy@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Megan L.

    Cotter rep-cotter@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Michael W.

    Chippendale rep-chippendale@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Robert J.

    Quattrocchi rep-quattrocchi@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Edward T.

    Cardillo, Jr. rep-cardillo@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Deborah A.

    Fellela rep-fellela@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Gregory J.

    Costantino rep-costantino@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Mia A.

    Ackerman rep-ackerman@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Mary Ann

    Shallcross Smith rep-shallcross-smith@rilegislature.gov

    Representative David J. Place rep-place@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Brian C.

    Newberry rep-newberry@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Jon D. Brien rep-brien@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Stephen M.

    Casey rep-casey@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Robert D.

    Phillips rep-phillips@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Alex

    Marszalkowski rep-marszalkowski@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Brian Rea rep-rea@rilegislature.gov

    Representative William

    W.O'Brien rep-obrien@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Arthur J.

    Corvese rep-corvese@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Joshua J.

    Giraldo rep-giraldo@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Brandon T.

    Voas rep-voas@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Cherie L. Cruz rep-cruz@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Jennifer A.

    Stewart rep-stewart@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Karen Alzate rep-alzate@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Leonela Felix rep-felix@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Mary Duffy

    Messier rep-messier@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Katherine S. Kazarian rep-kazarian@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Brianna E.

    Henries rep-henries@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Matt S. Dawson rep-dawson@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Jennifer Smith

    Boylan rep-boylan@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Jason Knight rep-knight@rilegislature.gov

    Representative June

    Speakman rep-speakman@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Susan R.

    Donovan rep-donovan@rilegislature.gov

    Representative John G.

    Edwards rep-edwards@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Michelle E.

    McGaw rep-mcgaw@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Terri Cortvriend rep-cortvriend@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Marvin L.

    Abney rep-abney@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Alex Finkelman rep-finkelman@rilegislature.gov

    Representative Lauren H.

    Carson rep-carson@rilegislature.gov





    The following new bill was filed last week:

    House Bill No. 8312 McEntee, Spears, Bennett, Fogarty, McGaw, Cortvriend, McNamara, Boylan, Kislak, Carson, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- BEVERAGE CONTAINER DEPOSIT RECYCLING ACT (Establishes beverage container recycling to be regulated by DEM.)