Bills Introduced in the Rhode Island Senate (Regulatory Emphasis), January 11-13

This is the first in what is intended to be a regular series on the legislation submitted to the Senate in the prior week. (An abbreviated introduction to the series is part of the post; the full intro is here.)

My hope is that this can become not just a one-way or even a two-way street for discussions on pending legislation, but one of those five-way Rhode Island intersections, navigable without major damage on regular basis with a little bit of practice, even when the rest of the drivers are other Rhode Islanders. Think of this as the opportunity to help crowdsource the equivalent of a staff position or two that could be an aid to your legislator (though I can’t offer you a state pension for contributing to the crowdsourcing effort). Citizens can make their cases for why the rest of Rhode Island should be concerned about certain bills, either why they should not be relegated to the black hole of “being held for further study” or, alternatively, why some of the bills introduced are terrible ideas that should not passed into law.

The floor will also always be open for advocates of bills, inside and outside of the legislature, to explain the meaning and rationale of particular legislation, to explain which matters are active in the backroom legislative processes that often determine which bills actually make it to the floor and possibly to suggest when citizen voices, at legislative hearings or through other means, could have a significant impact.

This series of posts will be regularly pushed out to the Anchor Rising Facebook site, so individuals who want to comment on the legislation in a less-anonymous forum will have the opportunity to do so.

The first raft of Senate bills is immediately below…

Significant Rewrites with Statewide Impact

S0021Changes long-term land use planning requirements imposed by the state.

Targeted Changes with Statewide Impact

S0005Moves Capitol Television under the control of the Rhode Island Public Telecommunications Authority (more colloquially, RI PBS).
S0006Public utilities have to pay for costs incurred during “maintenance, construction or reconstruction or any municipal right-of-way” done by a “municipal corporation”.
S0007Landscape gardeners have to register and be licensed and, by the way, buy insurance. (Comment: The bill mentions specifically individuals “engaged either part-time or full-time in the cutting of grass”. What if want to hire the kid across the street to do my lawn? Can he do that without a license under this law?)
S0009From the official explanation: “This act would provide that public water systems would reduce radon levels in drinking water to a maximum of four thousand (4,000) pCi/L no later than January 1, 2014.”
S0019Requires motorcycle parking spots at public buildings.
S0020“The state building standards committee shall be responsible for the publication of the state building code and shall post the entire state building code on the Internet making it available to the general public at no cost.”
S0025Adds cemeteries to properties exempt from “adverse possession” laws (Comment: Any lawyers with knowledge of land use want to help us with the technical terms here?).
S0026a) Rent overdue by 10 days can trigger eviction proceedings (it is currently 15) b) tenants no longer responsible for costs of having their property removed during an eviction, and c) possessions of a tenant still on the premises after eviction are deemed forfeited.
S0034Hourly-wage employees don’t have to be paid on a weekly basis by their employers, if the employer is ” in the financial services or investment advisory”, “the employer and its affiliates have more than 2,000 employees located in Rhode Island”, and “the employer’s average payroll exceeds 125% of the average compensation of all employees in the state”. (Comment: But I’m sure this is not the result of some big company in Rhode Island lobbying for its own exemption to the rules).

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Phil Hirons, Jr.
Phil Hirons, Jr.
13 years ago

S0007 & S0034 – More crap from my state senator. The landscape bill is pure function creep. We regulate landscape architects so let’s expand to 2 guys with a mower and a rake. Possibly related to the fact that Rainone Landscaping just put up a large HQ in Smithfield?
If bi-weekly pay is a good idea then all employers should be able to do it. Not just Fidelity (a large presence in Smithfield) with the permission of some bureaucrat.
At least the Senator from Council 94 is not sponsoring Charlestown related bills like my Rep Peter “Smoking Jacket” Petrarca

13 years ago

“Requires motorcycle parking spots at public buildings.”
Is any kind of parking already required at public buildings? And isn’t there already motorcyle parking spots? They’re not not specifically for motorcycles. Why can’t motorcycles just park in the same spots as cars?

13 years ago

S0025 is brought because neighbors of an historic cemetary in North Smithfield have been clearing land that is part of the cemetary property and using it as their own. After ten years, they can file to include the taken property as their own (adverse possession). The caretaker of the cemetary is trying to protect the rest of the cemetary from being taken by the neighbors.
I hope the bill passes. It is sometimes the only way to protect cemetaries that are no longer used from being stolen without a distant caretaker being close enough to know it’s happening.

13 years ago

Adverse possession after only ten years??? That’s insane, John, whatever the property type.

13 years ago

Yep, ten years.
§ 34-7-1 Conclusive title by peaceful possession under claim of title. – Where any person or persons, or others from whom he, she, or they derive their title, either by themselves, tenants or lessees, shall have been for the space of ten (10) years in the uninterrupted, quiet, peaceful and actual seisin and possession of any lands, tenements or hereditaments for and during that time, claiming the same as his, her or their proper, sole and rightful estate in fee simple, the actual seisin and possession shall be allowed to give and make a good and rightful title to the person or persons, their heirs and assigns forever; and any plaintiff suing for the recovery of any such lands may rely upon the possession as conclusive title thereto, and this chapter being pleaded in bar to any action that shall be brought for the lands, tenements or hereditaments, and the actual seisin and possession being duly proved, shall be allowed to be good, valid and effectual in law for barring the action.

13 years ago

Newly elected union mouthpiece Morrison (D-Bristol) is also in the process of stealing land from the town of Bristol via this 10-year “no, it’s mine” law.

13 years ago

Just for the record – RI’s penchant for verbal shortcuts notwithstanding – WSBE (Rhode Island PBS) is a separate entity from cable access (home of Capitol TV).
This may sound like hair splitting, but it’s actually an important distinction. Public television and public access are very different, and operate under different FCC and PUC rules. Public access (and Capitol TV) is only available to cable subscribers; public television (WSBE Rhode Island PBS on 36.1 and our second channel WSBE Learn on 36.2) are free over the air to anyone with a TV set. Moreover, the programming is completely different and not interchangeable.
Cable access is formally known as PEG Access (which stands for Public, Education, and Government Access) or PEG RI.
Here’s where some of the confusion comes in: the RI Public Telecommunications Authority (another RIPTA) is the state’s governing body for both WSBE and PEG RI; the Rhode Island PBS FOUNDATION (emphasis added) is authorized by RIPTA to operate the day-to-day functions of cable access. The Foundation is also basically the fundraising arm of WSBE. Except for one (maybe two) administrative positions, employees and staff of WSBE and PEG RI do not overlap, are not shared or interchangeable, and do not work on the same projects.
Thanks so much, Andrew, for your extensive research on all of these bills. You are performing a great service!

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