Legislative Update from your
    Chamber of Commerce Coalition


    The legislature is busy working to create its own version of the FY2016 budget.  With the good news that came at the May Revenue Estimating Conference, there is hope that the budget may come a little earlier in June rather than the last week as has happened traditionally.  An increase in income tax revenues and corporate tax revenues, coupled together with some decreases in spending this current fiscal year, has given the State roughly $173 million in surplus revenue that can be applied to the budget over the next two years.  How that money will be used (restoration of program cuts, reduction in taxes, new spending) remains to be seen as the House and Senate leaderships both have priorities in mind.


    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. 5607, AN ACT RELATING TO BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS – MOTOR VEHICLE GLASS REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT (Creates a procedure for the licensing of motor vehicle glass repair or replacement shops.) The Chamber has no position on this bill, but encourages any company involved in auto glass repair to review this bill closely.  The bill is scheduled to be voted on by the House Corporations Committee May 19th.


    PURCHASES (Directs the department of administration to adopt regulations granting preference in awarding of state contracts to businesses whose highest paid executive receives compensation equal to or less than 25 times the median pay of its non-executive employees.)  The Chamber opposes this bill.  It will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee May 19th.

    House Bill No. 6178AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT - THE RHODE ISLAND LOBBYING REFORM ACT (Simplifies and clarifies the rules governing lobbying.)  This bill was filed on May 7th.  It will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee on the 19th.  The bill contains some positive changes to the current system, but it is still under review by the Chamber.

    Senate Bill No. 839, AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES - MEDICAL ASSISTANCE (Would provide for annual adjustments to provider reimbursement rates.)  This bill is under review as it changes reimbursement rates for certain services.  It will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee May 19th.

    Senate Bill No. 918AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY -- REVERSE MORTGAGES (Allows a reverse mortgage lender to order a credit report and other information for a loan application prior to a mortgagor completing a counseling program.)  This bill was newly filed on May 15th.  It is under review.

    House Bill No. 6210AN ACT RELATING TO FOOD AND DRUGS -- SANITATION IN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS (Permits dogs in outdoor dining of restaurants under certain circumstances and does not affect the rights of an individual to use a service animal.) This bill was newly filed on May 15th.  It is under review.