Bills Introduced in the Rhode Island Senate, January 18-20

Significant Rewrites with Statewide Impact

S0045Changes to the “disclosure, transparency, and accountability” requirements for life insurance.
S0047Regulates emissions from outdoor wood-burning boilers or outdoor wood boilers (aka “outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters”).
S0050Allows insurance corporations created by town councils or school committees to manage trusts for paying for “other post-employment benefits”.(Comment 1: Is there a good reason for this change (from the taxpayer perspective), or does it mainly give business to someone who couldn’t otherwise take it? Comment 2: Can you spot the single word that is changed, and its effect, as a result of the modifications between lines 18 and 25 on page 2? )
S0051More changes, related to “other post-employment benefits”, similar to S0050.
S0052Creates a uniform system of accounting for municipal finances and allows state aid to be withheld, if a municipality does not comply with said system.
S0061Licensing of genetic counselors

Targeted Changes with Statewide Impact

S0046Raises age of mandatory public school attendance from 16 to 18 (with provisions for students on alternative learning plans). Companion to H5061
S0048The Director of Environmental Management must inform the appropriate city or town council when an application for development impacting freshwater wetlands is made. (City or town councils already have the right to disapprove of the project).
S0056The state mandated “reference resource center” for RI’s library system is no longer required to be at the Providence public library, but at a public library to be chosen on an annual basis.
S0060Charges the Department of Health with developing a women’s cardiovascular disease screening pilot program in Pawtucket, Providence, Woonsocket, Newport, West Warwick and Central Falls.
S0062Prohibits medical laboratory tests not authorized by a physician. (Comment: Actually, it’s a physician or “other person authorized by law to use the findings of such laboratory examination”. Does this mean that the law assumes that individuals need to get legal authorization to be able to use information that is pertinent to his or her own body and physical condition?)
S0066Registrar of Deeds can set document formatting standards, subject to approval by the Secretary of State.
S0067Requires a uniformed police officer paid for by the Board of Elections to be at every polling place during a general election.
S0068School committees don’t have publish a notice of their meetings in a dead-tree newspaper. (Comment: This is different from H5064, in that it does not include a mandate requiring electronic notification, in place of newspaper notification).
S0070“Petty misdemeanors” involving domestic violence can trigger enhanced penalties.
S0071Moves the date for notifying teachers of dismissal or suspension from March 1 to June 1.
S0072Shared jobs for teachers only count towards retirement service time if they involve “a school district” (Comment: Is this an attempt to make implementing charter schools more difficult?).
S0073Arbitrators in cases involving police officers and firefighters can bring a “bargaining agreement up to date, regardless of the amount of years in question”, contingent on agreement by both parties. (Comment: I know this may seem like a silly question, but if the parties can agree to let an arbitrator bring the agreement up to date, how come they can’t directly agree on new terms? What’s the catch here?)
S0074Requires bidders on public contracts to supply a list of all subcontractors they plan to use.
S0075Places the following non-binding question on the next general election ballot: “Shall the State of Rhode Island pursue the facilitation of shared municipal services for the purposes of achieving more economic, efficient and effective management of the state’s overall resources?”

Changes with Local Impact

S0049(West Kingston Fire District) Changes in the terms of bonds that have been issued.
S0063(Burrillville) Final ratification of charter amendments.

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