Powdered Alcohol Possession and Use

    On January 21st, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend passage of both S.2059 and S.2061, bills relating to alcoholic beverages.  S.2059 makes the possession, purchase or sale of powdered alcohol a crime with a fine up to one thousand dollars ($1,000).  S.2061 bans the possession of alcohol without a liquid device.  People who purchase the powder simply add it to water and it becomes an alcoholic drink.  Your CHAMBER SUPPORTED passage of these bills because the use of powdered alcohol by customers in restaurants, bars and hotels could cause potential legal issues for establishments.  CHAMBER WIN http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/SenateText16/S2059.pdf  http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/SenateText16/S2061.pdf


    House Corporations Committee to Consider Additional Health Mandates

    On Tuesday, January 26th, the House Corporations Committee will take testimony on three new health care mandate proposals.  H.7162 requires health insurance policies include coverage for temporomandibular joint disorder. H.7163 requires policies/plans issued by health insurers to cover abuse-deterrent drug formulations of opioid analgesics.  The CHAMBER continues to ask that economic impact analyses be done prior to adding any new health care mandates as each mandate adds to the cost of health care premiums. CHAMBER OPPOSES WITHOUT FURTHER ANALYSIS. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/HouseText16/H7162.pdf




    Foreclosure Bill Affecting Financial Institutions and Certain Businesses to be Heard

    On Tuesday, January 26th, the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on H.7241.  This legislation would affect financial institutions and business entities that purchase residential property on which they held a mortgage prior to the sale.  H.7241 places a burden on the entity by requiring it to post a bond with the municipality in an amount equal to 25% of the assessed value of the property.  If the municipality determines that the property is in violation of any municipal code, it must notify the entity who then has 30 days to fix the problem.  After 30 days, the municipality can take the bond, order the work to be done and require the entity to purchase a new bond.  If the new bond is not purchased within 10 days of notice, the municipality can sell the property at public sale.  While cities and towns will support the legislation, the bill places additional costs and burdens on businesses, not all owners who purchase foreclosed properties.  CHAMBER OPPOSES. http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/HouseText16/H7241.pdf


    House Labor Committee to Hear Bill Concerning Employee Wage Withholding

    On January 28th at 3:30, the House Labor Committee will take testimony on H.7254.  This bill would bar employers from deducting or withholding any monies (not including federal or state required withholdings) without first receiving written approval from the employee.  This would include items such as health insurance co-payments.  If the bill passes, employers would face treble damages for unauthorized deductions.  CHAMBER POSITION IS UNDER REVIEW.



    Below is a list of new legislation that was filed this week.  The list contains bill numbers, links to the legislation, and summary explanations. 


    House Bill No. 7233AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - SALES AND USE TAXES - LIABILITY AND COMPUTATION (Eliminates the sales tax on taxi and other transit and ground passenger transportation


    House Bill No. 7252AN ACT RELATING TO COMMERCIAL LAW--GENERAL REGULATORY PROVISIONS -- DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES (Repeals certain exemptions to the deceptive trade practices act for actions permitted under laws administered by the department of business regulation.)


    House Bill No. 7255AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS - GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (Requires all food businesses, with the exception of restaurants, that have gross sales of over $500,000 to post a sign informing their customers that all their food products contain modified organisms, unless their labels say otherwise.)


    House Bill No. 7257AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- SANITATION IN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS (Permits dogs in outdoor dining areas of restaurants under certain circumstances.)


    House Bill No. 7280AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC PROPERTY AND WORKS - LABOR AND PAYMENT OF DEBTS BY CONTRACTORS (Requires, prior to the award of authority, that all bidders for public works contracts provide a list of the subcontractors to be utilized.)


    House Bill No. 7285AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- MINIMUM WAGE (Increases the minimum wage to ten dollars and fifty cents ($10.50) on January 1, 2017 and eleven dollars ($11.00) per hour on January 1, 2018.)


    Senate Bill No. 2099AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY - PET GROOMING AND PET RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS - SPRINKLERS (Requires sprinklers within pet grooming and retail pet sales stores.)


    Senate Bill No. 2103AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL OFFENSES -- TRESPASS AND VANDALISM (Requires a property owner to maintain trees or shrubs that create a nuisance to an abutting property owner.)

    Senate Bill No. 2105AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT (Sets forth a process for tenants to retrieve their abandoned personal property from former dwelling units and the placement in storage of a tenant's personal property.)


    Senate Bill No. 2124AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS - PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYER ORGANIZATIONS ACT OF 2004 (Amends certain definitions relative to workers compensation and classifications of temporary and leased employees and amends certain benefits thereto.)


    Senate Bill No. 2125, AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS -- PAYMENT OF WAGES (Creates additional private rights of action and relief for workers concerning employment applications, employment files, employer transportation service charges, temporary disability benefits and payment of wages.)