Coming up in Committee: Ten Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, May 22 – May 24
Local Impact: Coventry, Cumberland, Foster 2, North Kingstown, Richmond 2 3, Smithfield, Warwick.
10. H7866: A package of zoning law changes, including a cap on the minimum allowed size for buildable lots, an exclusion on considering slope as a development potential criteria, and the addition of “protecting natural resources and promoting efficient use of land” to the list of factors to be taken into account in zoning ordinances (H Municipal Government; Thu, May 24).
9. H7136: “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a foreclosing owner shall not evict a tenant except just for just cause or unless a binding purchase and sale agreement has been executed for a bona fide third party to purchase the housing accommodation from a foreclosing owner and the foreclosing owner has disclosed to the third-party purchaser that said purchaser may be responsible for evicting the current occupants of the housing accommodation after the sale occurs” (H Judiciary; Tue, May 22).
8. S2712: Extensive new regulations on quasi-public corporations. In addition to mandating that public corporation board members must do things like “understand operational decisions” of their corporations, this bill also requires the establishment of executive compensation and governance committees by quasi-publics… (S Finance; Tue, May 22) …but the best part is the new section 42-155-4(3) of the law, which would the extend to quasi-public corporations the code of ethics that the legislature refuses to accept for itself!
7. H7359: Allows out-of-state businesses to operate in RI during a declared disaster without being immediately treated, for purposes of taxation and regulation, as having opened a branch office in RI (H Corporations; Wed, May 23).
6. H8024: Charges the Economic Development Corporation with reviewing all state regulations (within 4 years) for their impact on small business. One criteria to be examined, new to Rhode Island law, is whether “the benefit conferred by the regulation is outweighed by the cost” (H Small Business; Tue, May 22). On the one hand, this might be a better mission for the EDC than making dubious loan guarantee deals. On the other hand, if this becomes a core mission of the EDC, it might make sense to pull it directly into the executive branch. Then again, it may make sense to end the EDC’s debt-issuing powers and pull it into the executive branch in any event.
5. H7283: Replaces a 5-section/7-subsection part of the law prohibiting for-profit “corporations, subsidiaries, or affiliates” from applying to “convert” more than 1 hospital in a 3-year period, with 1 section (sans subsections) expressly stating that for-profits can apply to “convert” more than one hospital per year (H Corporations; Thu, May 24).
4. H8143: Allows “any elected Rhode Island state or municipal official” to designate “a structure, sculpture, inscription, or icon, or similar item” on public property and meeting certain other criteria as a “category one memorial item”, and explicitly states that such a designation is not an attempt to establish a religion (H Judiciary; Thu, May 24). I don’t think the courts will care about the category one designation in their decision making. However, the bill also makes it a state responsibility to pay the legal costs associated with lawsuits demanding the removal of a category one memorial item…
3. H7859: An attempt to bring independent electioneering expenditures under a campaign-finance regime. Anyone — including individuals, not just corporations — who wants to independently spend more than $250 in a calendar year supporting/opposing a candidate for office or a position in a referendum would have to register with the Board of Elections (H Judiciary; Thu, May 24).
2. H7112/S2179: Eliminates good-behavior reduction of prison sentences for individuals convicted under sections 11-23-1 (Murder), 11-26-1.4 (Kidnapping of a minor), 11-37-2 (First degree sexual assault), 11-37-8.1 (First degree child molestation sexual assault) or 11-37-8.3 (Second degree child molestation sexual assault) of Rhode Island law (H Judiciary; Tue, May 22).
1. S2872: The Woonsocket supplemental property tax. Related; S2860 would adjust the education aid “funding formula” so if Woonsocket moves to full-day kindergarten, “the kindergarten students in the city of Woonsocket shall be considered full-time equivalent students, and the reference year used to determine the average daily membership for the city of Woonsocket shall be moved forward one year and projected into the fiscal year for which the appropriation is to begin” (H Finance; Tue, May 22).