Notes from the Field


Bill Tracker update: FEB 13

Ten House bills with potential impacts on our food system were added to the bill tracker this past week.  Brief descriptions are offered below, and full bill text and additional information can be found in the Bill Tracker.  

No Senate bills at all were posted as of Sunday evening, which may indicate some type of system issue on the RI Legislature website.  We will update as soon as possible.  

New bills added to the tracker this week:

  • HB5425 – (Rep. Kislak): The Green Buildings Act creates building energy performance standards based on the size of buildings and mandates a statewide analysis of energy use and strategies to increase energy efficiency
  • HB5437 – (Rep. Potter): Prohibits force-feeding to create a force-fed poultry product (re-submitted from last year)
  • HB5450 – (Rep. Sanchez): Prohibits municipalities from charging any recycling fees
  • HB5471 – (Rep. Boylan): Bans state purchases of plastic bottles, bags and polystyrene and requires state funds to be used to lease or purchase alternative fueled vehicles and renewable energy efficient technologies for use on state property
  • HB5502 – (Rep. McEntee): Beverage Container Deposit Recycling Act Of 2023 – Establishes a system for the recycling of beverage containers working with the Department of Environmental Management
  • HB5476 – (Rep. O’Brien): Exempts from the sales and use tax the sale of animal supplies, food and related products 
  • HB5414 – (Rep. Felella): Clarifies the types of electrical services involved in solar installations that require an electrical contractor’s license
  • HB5447 – (Rep. Diaz): Increases the taxable wage base upon which employees make contributions to the TDI and TCI funds, increases individual benefit rates for lower wage individuals, and creates an opt- in option for self-employed workers
  •  HB5491 – (Rep Ackerman): Creates a definition for “private entity” to be included in net-metering regulations
  • HB5457 – (Rep. Cortvriend): Establishes regulations for the registration and operation of low-speed vehicles (including farm vehicles) in this state.

Also, there will be six food system bills reviewed in committees this week, as follows:

The House Corporations Committee (Wednesday, 4pm) will review HB5334 which allows happy hour drinks to be served along with some categories of food.

The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee (Thursday, Rise of the House) will review 5 bills:  

  • HB5037 which would restrict future aquaculture leases on the Sakonnet River
  • HB5086 which would prohibit the marketing/sale of products labeled ‘compostable’
  • HB5171 which increases the composting requirement to a 30 mile distance from a composting/digestion facility
  • HB5250 which places new limits on the issuance of multipurpose commercial fishing licenses
  • HB5345 which establishes RI’s acceptance of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

The RIFPC Bill Tracker is a reference, covering all legislation affecting the Rhode Island food system and all topics of interest to Council Members. The Tracker is updated daily during the legislative session (January-June), and organized by major impact areas.