March 12, 2012

Coming up in Committee: Sixteen Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, March 13 - March 15, Part 1

Carroll Andrew Morse

Local Impact: Johnston, Middletown/Newport, North Kingstown, North Providence, North Smithfield, Pawtucket 2 3 4, Providence 2, Tiverton 2, Westerly.

16. H7882: Adds the Governor's Office to the list of government departments that can participate in the operation of a State House gift shop (H Municipal Government; Thu, Mar 15).

15. H7687: Requirement that all healthcare plan participants in Rhode Island designate a primary care provider (H Corporations; Tue, Mar 13). Perhaps a step in changing the standard delivery model for healthcare in Rhode Island to something more HMO-like?

14. Bud Art. 24, Sec 3: Extends, for the next 10 years, a sales tax exemption for Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation projects, but excludes retail projects and specifically retail banking from being granted sales tax or any other tax benefits by the EDC (H Finance; Wed, Mar 14). Added to the list, because it seems as if a specific project or two is being removed from the list of possible tax exmeptees.

13. S2606: A vaguely-worded prohibition on price gouging of essential commodities; price gouging would be prohibited not only during a "a declaration of a state of emergency by the governor, or federal disaster declaration by the president", but also during any "actual or anticipated market emergency or economic emergency" (S Corporations; Tue, Mar 13). Do the past several years count as an economic emergency that would trigger this bill?

12. H7650: Prohibits the Department of Human Services from requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to use "any alternative brand name prescription drug" prior to using another brand-name drug. (Generic drugs could still be given preference) (H Health, Education and Welfare; Wed, Mar 14).

11. Budget articles relating to state personnel, including Article 13 authorizing the department of administration "to adjust the salaries of directors of state executive departments in an amount comparable to monetary adjustments for cost of living provided to classified state employees as a result of the most recent collective bargaining agreement", and Article 33 removing election day from the list of state employee holidays (H Finance; Thu, Mar 15).

10. H7474: Allows motor vehicle registration renewals to be submitted to city/town clerks, if authorized by an individual municipality (H Municipal Government; Thu, Mar 15).

9. S2226: One of many bills on the issue of workers' compensation being heard by the Senate Labor Committee on Wed, Mar 14; this particular bill repeals a large section of the law related to "partial incapacity".

8. S2343: Establishes conditions that must be met, which go beyond the IRS regulations currently in use, for someone being paid to be considered a contractor and not an employee (S Labor; Wed, Mar 14).

7. H7045: Requires that cities and towns change auditors every 3 years (H Municipal Government; Thu, Mar 15).