Notes from the Field


Bill Tracker update: FEB 20

Last week twenty-four bills were introduced in the General Assembly that could have an impact on our food system. The majority of these bills were added in the food business sector. Notably, there were a number of bills introduced related to our fisheries and aquaculture as well. 

The General Assembly is on vacation this week.  House and Senate Committees will not be meeting.

Descriptions of all the food system bills introduced last week are as follows:

  • HB5639 – Establishes new programs for free breakfast and lunch meals in all public schools (Rep. Caldwell)
  • HB5551 – Authorizes and empowers the Department of Transportation to plant pollinator-friendly species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and plants (Rep. Cortvriend)
  • HB5673 – Bans PFAS in various products including cookware (Rep. Cortvriend) 
  • SB196 – Bans PFAs in various products including cookware (Sen. Kallman)
  • SB200 – Establishes the Package Reduction and Recycling Program (Sen. Valverde)
  • HB5672 – Mandates that food service establishments only provide single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments to a customer upon request (Rep. McGaw)
  • SB300 – Extends COVID moratorium. Establishes outdoor dining act. (Sen. DiMario)
  • SB194 – Requires that a super majority of three-fifths (⅗) of the fully appointed council is required to override a recommendation by the CRMC staff (Sen. Sosnowski)
  • SB197 – Requires that the appointment of public members to the CRMC include an active licensed fisher, a representative from Save the Bay, and from an organization representing developers (Sen. Sosnowski)
  • SB198 – Requires all aquaculture leases in Sakonnet river area to be located at least one thousand feet from the median high tide/tide line. Existing oyster farms would be exempt and this restriction would expire on July 1, 2025  (Sen. DiPalma)
  • SB440 – Requires the division of motor vehicles to develop a form for registration of and a license plate for commercial fishing motor vehicles  (Sen. Sosnowski)
  • SB201 – Requires a covered entity generating organic waste materials of more than 52 tons/year and located less than 30 miles from an authorized composting facility or anaerobic digestion facility to recycle the waste at that facility beginning January 1, 2024 (Sen. Valverde)
  • SR244 – Senate resolution making an appropriation of $180,000 for the Rhode Island State Conservation Committee and its three conservation districts (Sen. DiPalma)
  • SB202 – Prohibits force-feeding to create a force-fed poultry product nor hire another to engage in force feeding of a poultry product (Sen. Gu)
  • HB5549 – Mandates that by January 1, 2025 all lawn care devices sold in the state have zero emissions and that by January 1, 2028 all lawn care devices used in the state have zero emissions (Rep. Kislak)
  • HB5557 – Permits and legalizes the sale of raw milk (Rep. Place)
  • HB5601 – Repeals §3-7-19 which prohibits retail liquor licenses within 200 hundred feet of schools and religious institutions (Rep. Newberry) 
  • HB5709 – requires employers to provide each employee of a warehouse distribution center upon hire with written description of quotas applicable to the employee within defined time periods and adverse employment action for failure to meet the quota (Rep. Shanley) 
  • HB5707 – Requires employer to furnish items and conditions of employment and a pay stub explaining how wages were calculated/reasons for deductions/allows the employee to file a court action against employer for violation (Rep. Giraldo)
  • SJR422 – Joint Resolution Ratifying the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Relating to the Labor of Persons Under Eighteen Years of Act (Sen. Acosta)
  • HB5565 – Prohibits any public accommodation, employer, or financial institution from discriminating against any individual based on COVID vaccination status, requires employers to rehire penalized employees, and prohibits the governor from mandating COVID vaccines  (Rep. Chippendale)
  • HB5588 – Raises minimum wage on January 1, 2026 and each January 1 thereafter by the percentage increase in the CPI-U as published by the US Dept. of Labor Statistics as o f August the previous year over the level as of August of the year preceding that year (Rep. Morales)
  • HB5589 – Raises the minimum wage for the years 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, and 2029, to $15.50, $17.00, $18.50, $20.00, and $21.00, per hour, respectively (Rep. Morales)
  • HB5590 – Commencing January 1, 2024, increases the minimum wage for employees receiving gratuities to $14.95 by January 1, 2028. Beginning January 1, 2029, the minimum wage for employees receiving gratuities shall be no less than the minimum wage established by the minimum wage law (Rep. Felix)

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.