Notes from the Field


Bill Tracker update: MAR 6

There were 30 bills added to the bill tracker this week. These pieces of legislation were primarily in the areas of food business and climate change. The entire list of new bills can be found below. For more information about each bill, please refer to the appropriate section of the tracker listed in parentheses next to the bill number. 

Some bills to note are: 

  • HJR6018 – A Joint Resolution authorizing the appropriation of the sum of five million dollars to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management for the preservation, protection, and conservation of Rhode Island farmlands.(Rep. McGaw)
  • HB6007 – Requires all public schools make reimbursable breakfasts and lunches available to all students under the rules and regulations of the USDA and the RI Department of Education. (Rep.Tanzi)
  • HB5994 – Requires that an increase in a recipient’s income due solely to a cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security and Railroad Retirement payments, when determining the recipient’s eligibility for medical assistance and SNAP benefits. (Rep. Morales)
  • HJR6124 – A Joint Resolution authorizing the appropriation of the sum of two million dollars to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. 

This week, three House Committees and one Senate Committee will be hearing bills that would impact our food system. 

On Tuesday, March 9, the House Small Business Committee will hear:

  • HB5178 – Requires food service establishments to add an additional warning to their menus relative to food allergens. 
  • HB5232 – Allows manufacturers-wineries to sell up to three drinks of wine for on-site consumption or three bottles of wine for off-site consumption or three bottles of wine for off-site consumption.
  • HB5264 – Extends COVID moratorium. Establishes outdoor dining act.
  • HB5974 – Permits those farmer-winery license holders to sell their products, at retail, off the licensed premises at any time and at up to five separate locations, provided they obtain a license from the local municipality prior to the sale. 
  • HB5719 – Prohibits all manufacturers of alcoholic beverages from holding a wholesaler’s license and from having any interest in a wholesaler’s license.

The Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee on Wednesday will hear: 

  • SB62 – Adds climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal resiliency to the analysis of data of the strategic plan for economic development policy.

On Thursday, the House Environment and Agriculture Committee will hear:

  • HB5172 – Requires carbon-emissions-reduction goals be considered in energy plant siting proceedings. 
  • HB5250 – Limits issuance of commercial multipurpose commercial fishing licenses to Rhode Island residents, unless there is no resident applicant, limits the number of new licenses issued to that number of licenses surrendered or retired in the previous calendar year. 
  • HB5425 – Mandates that 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. 
  • HB5551 – Authorizes and empowers the department of transportation to plant pollinator-friendly species of trees, shrubs, grasses, and plants. 
  • HB5778 – Repeals the insurance of multipurpose vessel licenses.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday will hear: 

  • HB5565 – Prohibits any public accommodation, employer, or financial institution from discrimination against any individual based on COVID vaccination status and requires employers to rehire penalized employees and prohibits the governor from mandating COVID vaccines.


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.