Coming up in Committee: Twenty-Eight Sets of Bills Scheduled to be Heard by the RI General Assembly, March 26 – March 28, Part 2
14. Various proposed changes to campaign finance and expenditure laws; H5074 limits all campaign contributions to the General Assembly between January 1 and the passage of the state budget, H5187 limits campaign contributions from lobbyists between January 1 and July 1, H5385 requires disclosure of four year’s worth of political contributions by anyone hired by the state, H5502 prohibits lobbyists from contributing more than $200 to any candidate who sits on a committee that the lobbyist appeared before and H5490 prohibits anyone who has contracted with the state for $5,000 or more for contributing to an officeholder responsible for that contract. (H Judiciary; Tue, Mar 26)
13. H5825: Limits the use of automated license plate readers to outstanding parking or traffic violations, identifying a vehicle registered to an individual for whom there is an outstanding warrant, identifying a vehicle associated with a missing person; or for the purpose of electronic toll collection, and creates other regulations regarding how data collected is to be maintained and used. (H Judiciary; Wed, Mar 27)
12. S0441: Adds, to the section of the law allowing school committees to “establish joint purchasing agreements between and among themselves or with the Rhode Island Association of School Committees”, a section allowing school committees to “to enter into agreements, trusts, contracts, consortia, and other arrangements among themselves and/or with any college or university, and/or with the Rhode Island association of school committees”, expanding both the scope of who can be contracted with, and what can be contracted for. (S Education; Wed, Mar 27)
11. H5380: Makes “statements, writings, gestures, or affirmations made by a health care provider or an employee of a health care provider that express apology, sympathy, compassion, condolence, or benevolence relating to the pain, suffering, or death of a patient…with the exception of the admission of liability or fault” inadmissable in lawsuits against healthcare providers. (H Judiciary; Wed, Mar 27)
10. S0402: Establishes a program where employers can offer a prospective new hire 6 weeks of 24 hour-per-week training before putting them on the payroll, and the prospective employee won’t lose unemployment benefits during this training period. (S Labor; Wed, Mar 27)
9. H5485: Mainly, a bill to raise campaign contribution limits in Rhode Island. It also caps the fine for not filing campaign finance reports at $2,000, and prohibits campaign expenditures by anyone who hits that limit, or who fails to file four or more reports. (H Judiciary; Tue, Mar 26)
8. S0754: Prohibits health insurance pharmacy benefits from having a “dollar limit” (S Health & Human Services; Tue, Mar 26)
7. S0201: Prohibits medical health insurance premium rates for individual and and group policies from varying based on gender, excluding disability income, long-term care, Medicare supplements, specific disease indemnities and several other categories of insurance. (S Health & Human Services; Tue, Mar 26)
6B. H5681: Requires a warrant in order to obtain the location information being transmitted by an electronic device. (H Judiciary; Wed, Mar 27)
6A. H5180: Requires a search warrant for the search of any “portable electronic device” in the possession of an individual under arrest. (H Judiciary; Wed, Mar 27) This is the bill that was passed by both chambers but vetoed by the Governor last year.
5. S0639: Mandates that the state Board of Education create a “dual enrollment policy that shall allow students to enroll in courses at postsecondary institutions to satisfy academic credit requirements in both high school and…postsecondary institutions” where “funding allocated for that student shall follow the student to the enrolled higher education institution”. (S Education; Wed, Mar 27)
4. On Wednesday, March 27, the House Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the “Background, Implementation status and budget” of the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange. Their budget request for the health benefits exchange in the Governor’s revised budget for this fiscal year (all funded by Federal dollars) is a 30% increase over what was originally requested.
3. H5516: “A patient who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and is in need of a referral to a medical specialist shall have the right to specify the specialist to whom he or she shall be referred”. (H Health, Education & Welfare; Wed, Mar 27)
2. H5802: “Not later than July 1, 2014, and thereafter, all heating oil sold in the state shall contain not less than five percent (5%) of a biobased product”. (H Environment & Natural Resources; Tue, Mar 26)
1. H5342: 1) Repeal of the Caruolo act, and the addition of a governing requirement that city or town councils ratify school department contracts. (H Labor; Tue, Mar 26)