This Week at the General Assembly: February 1, 2013
Here are the highlights from news and events that took place in the General Assembly this week. For more information on any of these items visit http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/News/.
‘Katie’s Law’ bills introduced in both chambers
Sen. David E. Bates (R-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence) and Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-Dist. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) have introduced legislation (2013-S 0041, 2013-H 5205) known as “Katie’s Law,” which would require collection of a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a crime of violence. The bills have been referred to their respective Judiciary committees. Currently, the state requires collection of a DNA sample only from individuals convicted of a felony. Click here to see news release.
Assembly, RIEDC, RIPEC cooperate on business resource database
General Assembly leaders announced this week that the legislature is working with the R.I. Public Expenditure Council and the R.I. Economic Development Corporation to create a database for tracking business-related legislation in the 2013 session. Bills dealing with the state’s tax structure, regulations, public safety or economic development programming will be monitored and updated weekly on the RIPEC and RIEDC websites. Click here to see news release.
Internship Tax Credit program proposed
In response to recommendations from the Rhode Island Partnership Project, which was established to address the skills gap in the state, Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) has introduced legislation (2013-H 5134) to create the “Rhode Island Internship Tax Credit Act” to make tax credits available to companies that employ college students or recent graduates through an internship program. Click here to see news release.
Aquidneck Island legislators seek to reverse Sakonnet River Bridge toll
Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) introduced two bills that could block the R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) from placing a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge. The first bill (2013-H 5137) repeals Article 20 of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, which prevents the R.I. Department of Transportation from turning control of the Sakonnet River and Jamestown Verrazzano bridges over to RITBA. The second bill (2013-H 5069) changes the makeup of RITBA and replaces appointments from the governor with elected officials (or their designees) from Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton andJamestown. Sen. Walter S. Felag Jr. (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton) sponsored the first bill (2013-S 0020) in the Senate and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) is slated to introduce the second bill’s Senate companion. Click here to see news release.
Guthrie bill sets taxing authority, powers for fire districts
Although fire districts in the state have for years taxed different entities like residences and businesses at different rates, state law does not expressly permit them to do so. Legislation (2013-H 5176) introduced by Rep. Scott J. Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry) proposes a law to allow fire districts to implement tax classification systems, and spells out other powers and duties of the fire districts. Click here to see news release.
Corvese bill targets SNAP fraud
Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence) has filed legislation aimed at combating trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps. The legislation (2013-H 5059) would make it a felony to buy or sell, or attempt to buy or sell, food assistance benefits, and would punish perpetrators with up to five years in prison. Click here to see news release.
Finn bill would exempt service animals’ needs from sales tax
Rep. Linda Finn (D-Dist. 72, Middletown, Portsmouth) has introduced legislation to provide an exemption to the new sales tax on pet care services for those provided to service animals. Representative Finn’s bill (2013-H 5049) would give the owners of service animals – such as assistance, therapy or companion animals who serve the blind or disabled – an exemption to the sales tax for services, such as grooming or boarding, provided to those animals, as well as for food and supplies for them. Click here to see news release.
Walsh bill takes aim at marine debris
Backed by environmental advocacy groups, Rep. Donna M. Walsh (D-Dist. 36, Charlestown, Westerly,South Kingstown, New Shoreham) announced legislation that would give producers of consumer products some responsibility for the recycling or disposal of their products’ packaging, in large part to reduce the amount of packaging waste that winds up in the ocean. Click here to see news release.
McLaughlin, Walaska sponsor bills to cut minimum corporate income tax
Rep. James N. McLaughlin (D-Dist. 57, Cumberland, Central Falls) and Sen. William A. Walaska (D-Dist. 30, Warwick) introduced legislation (2013-H 5030, 2013-S 0088) that would reduce the state’s minimum income tax for corporations from $500 to $250. Click here to see news release.
Chippendale bill strengthens business-friendly environment
Rep. Michael W. Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry) has submitted legislation (2013-H 5192) that would prohibit cities and towns from enacting ordinances that are more restrictive than regulations established and enforced by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) or the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). Click here to see news release.