Notes from the Field


Bill Tracker update: MAR 20

Our bill tracker has three new bills this week: SB683, SB684, and HB6160. Introduced by Sen. DiMario, SB683 extends COVID-19 moratorium on penalties for food businesses that altered or modified its business to comply with the pandemic emergency declaration. SB684 provides for net metering owned or operated by a renewable energy developer to be treated as an eligible net metering system so long as it is not in a defined core forest. HB6160 would amend the definition of “under the direct supervision” to include a person acting under the control of a certified or licensed application who is available when needed, even though not physically present when the pesticide is applied. 

Hearing Updates: 6 Committees to Hear Food Systems Bills

On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs will hear 3 bills related to the food system: 

  • SB39 (allowing manufacturer-wineries to sell up to three drinks of wine for on-site consumption or three bottles of wine for off-site consumption.); 
  • SB435 (allowing happy hour drink specials served in conjunction with the purchase of a food item, which would include appetizers or entree prepared on premises.); 
  • SB683 discussed above.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture on Wednesday will hear 2 bills we’re tracking:

  • SB504 (establishing the renewable ready program which is designed to promote responsible siting and development of renewable energy on certain sites.)
  • SB684 detailed above.

One bill will be heard before the House Committee on Education:

  • HB5776 (providing for a kosher option for school lunches for public elementary and secondary schools in Rhode Island upon the request of the local school districts.)

At the rise of the Senate on Thursday, the Senate Committee on Commerce will hear one bill:

  • SB472 (creating a new chapter related to grocery stores, limiting the number of self-service checkout units.)

The House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will be hearing 6 bills with potential food systems impacts:

  • HB5989 (prohibiting a covered establishment from preparing, selling, processing, or providing food or beverages in or on a disposable food service container that is composed in who or in part of polystyrene foam.)
  • HB5091 (establishing the Package Reduction and Recycling Program.)
  • HB5502 (establishing a system for the recycling of beverage containers working with the department of environmental management.)
  • HB5672 (mandating that food service establishments only provide single-use food ware accessories and standard condiments to a customer upon request.)
  • HB5673 (prohibiting the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS in various products including carpets, cookware, cosmetics, ski wax, and various other items.)
  • HB6054 (creating a refundable twenty-five cent deposit for miniature alcoholic beverage containers, often referred to as nips.)

At the Rise of the House, the House Committee on Municipal Government and Housing will hear one food system bill:

  • HB5450 (prohibiting municipalities from charging any recycling fees.)

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.