Notes from the Field


Bill Tracker update: FEB 27

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 sec

Ten new bills with potential impacts on our food system were added to the Bill Tracker this week. Areas of impact include food businesses, agriculture, fisheries, and increasing access to healthy food. One new bill, the Tax Credit for Food Donation bill (HB5803), reflects ongoing work in the RI Food Policy Council to reduce wasted food. Brief descriptions of all 10 bills are as follows:

HB5803 – Tax Credit for Food Donation – provides a tax credit for food donations by qualified taxpayers to nonprofit organizations. – Rep. McEntee (D)

SB435 – Retail Licenses — Happy Hour – allows happy hour drink specials served in conjunction with the purchase of a food item Sen. Lawson (D)

SB418 – Conservation And Preservation Restrictions On Real Property – requires conservation and preservation restrictions to be liberally interpreted in favor of the grants awarded. – Sen. DiPalma (D)

HB5735 – An Act Relating to Alcoholic Beverages — prohibits Retailer’s Class B, C, N and other liquor licenses from being issued to retailers operating within two hundred feet (200’) of pre-kindergarten schools and establishments. – Rep. McNamara (D)

HB5776 – An Act Relating to Education — Federal Aid – provides for a Kosher option for school lunches for public elementary and secondary schools in Rhode Island upon the request of the local school districts. – Rep. Shanley (D)

HB5778 – An Act Relating to Fish And Wildlife — Commercial Fishing Licenses – repeals the insurance of multipurpose vessel licenses. – Rep. McEntee (D)

HB5779 – An Act Relating to Waters And Navigation — requires the executive director of the Coastal Resources Management Council to hire a hearing officer if the position is vacant for more than sixty (60) days after the effective date of this act. – Rep. Knight (D)

HB5799 – Public Assistance Act – directs the Department of Human Services commencing July 1, 2023, to pay an additional SNAP benefit of $95.00 per month, through to December 1, 2023, to recipients of SNAP benefits. – Rep. Morales (D)

HB5808 – Rhode Island Women’s Equity Incentive Act Of 2023 – addresses the inequalities experienced by women in the workforce by offering tax credits up to $2,500 per year to eligible businesses which create full-time jobs for women.

HB5809 – Supply Chain Relocation Act – provides tax credits to an entity that relocates any part of the United States supply chain to Rhode Island and provides tax credits and incentives to an entity that re-shores manufacturing production lines to Rhode Island. – Rep. Morgan (R)

The General Assembly returns from vacation this week and there is a full schedule of committee hearings. Bills with potential food system impacts that will be reviewed in committees this week are as follows:

  • HB5159, requiring installation of EV parking spaces in designated businesses and municipal parking areas, will be reviewed in the House Corporations Committee on Tuesday 2/28
  • SJR422, amending the US Constitution to enable Congress to regulate the labor of persons under age 18, will be reviewed in the House Labor Committee on Wednesday 3/1
  • HB5342, requiring all public high school students to take certain food and nutrition courses, will be reviewed in the House Education Committee on Wednesday 3/1
  • HB5457, establishing regulations for low-speed vehicles (like farm vehicles) will be reviewed in the House State Gov’t and Elections Committee on Wednesday 3/1
  • HB5437, banning force-fed poultry products, will be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday 3/2

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.