Environment Council of Rhode Island

...building an ecologically healthy future in a sustainable economy

2014 Legislative Agenda

ECRI has considered these bills and has decided to support or oppose them at hearings.

Legislative Topicsort descending Title and Description House Bill# Senate Bill # Link(s) to Bill text pdfs ECRI's Position
Budget Budget Article 5 - Nov 2014 Ballot Question 4.

Article 5 would create ballot questions for the November 2014 state general election. Question 4 would authorize the issuance of bonds for Clean Water, Open Space, and Healthy Communities ($75 million), Brownfield Remediation and Economic Development ($5 million), Green Streets and Green Neighborhoods ($4 million), Flood Prevention ($3 million) and many more environmentally important projects.

7133 Budget Article 5, Budget Art 5 SubAaa Support
Budget RGGI - Budget Article 7.

Would increase the use of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds for administrative functions of Office of Energy Resources (OER) and DEM.

7133 Budget, Article 7, Budget, Art. 7 SubA Support
Budget DEM Budget - FTE Cap.

Article 1, Section 10:  RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is capped at 399 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) positions. Which represents status quo from FY 2014.

7133 Budget Article 1 , Budget Art 1 SubA, Budget Art 1 SubAaa Oppose
Budget Budget Article 5 - Nov 2014 Ballot Question 3.

Article 5 would create ballot questions for the November 2014 state general election. Question 3 would authorize the issuance of bonds for Mass Transit Hub Infrastructure ($40 million).

7133 Budget, Article 5, Budget Art 5 SubA, Budget Art 5 SubAaa Support
Climate Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014.

The bill addresses climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience. It makes DEM the coordinating agency for climate change mitigation and the division of planning in the department of administration as the lead agency on climate change adaptation. For mitigation, the bill establishes targets for greenhouse gas emissions, ending in 85% reduction by 2050. A science advisory council is established within DEM to review and consider current climate change science and to review RI's mitigation and adaptation programs.
The bill creates a climate adaptation planning and implementation coordinating committee, supported by the Division of Administration Statewide Planning program, that has 24 members, including 13 state agencies as well as municipal, university and public members. The committee's responsibilities include integrating vulnerability assessments developed by state agencies, setting goals to reduce climate change impacts on Rhode Island's population and extending low impact development and green infrastructure solutions. 

7904 H7904, H7904 SubA Support
Climate Climate Change Council- Senate Climate Bill.

This is the Senate's bill to comprehensively address climate change. The strategy of this bill is essentially to codify the Executive Climate Change Council, which would be aided by the input of an advisory council whose members would be appointed by the Executive Council members themselves (2 for each). The mitigation targets in this bill are much weaker than the Resilient RI Act targets in the near term but do call for an 80% reduction by 2050.

2952 S2952, S2952 SubA Support
Composting Food Residuals Recycling Initiative.

This act would create a food residuals recycling program to establish a safe and environmentally sound method to dispose of food residuals.

7033 2315 H7033, H7033 SubA, S2315, S2315 SubA, S2315SubA Amended Support
Composting Requiring Composting of Food Scraps by Certain Large Businesses.

This act would require certain large commercial food scrap generators to divert food residuals to composting facilities.

7482 2436 H7482 Support
Energy An Act Relating to Public Utilities and Carriers -DG Standard Contracts.

Extends current program at 20MW/year; no innovative features; no change in net metering

7723 2435 H7723, S2435 Oppose
Energy Farm Conservation and Renewable Energy Act of 2014.

This legislation would establish siting guidelines to make it easier for farmers to install wind turbines on their land. The installed renewable energy facilities would also be exempt from property taxes.

2438 S2438, S2438 SubA Support
Energy Renewable Energy Tax Credit.

This legislation would restore the Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which provides a tax credit for 25% of the cost of a residential renewable energy project up to $3500.

7083 2213 H7083, S2213 Support
Energy Distributed Generation .
  • Extends and expands Rhode Island's distributed generation (DG) program
  • Creates small solar class in DG
  • Switches DG from contract to tariff-based program
  • Removes cap on net metering

House and Senate Bills are identical.

7727 2690 H7727, H7727 SubA, H7727 SubA amended, S2690, S2690 SubA, S2690 SubA amended Support
Health State Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs - Minimum Funding Requirement.

This act would provide that in the event of insufficient federal funds for the environmental lead program, the General Assembly shall appropriate no less than six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000) per year for support and maintenance of the Department of Health's environmental lead program, and five hundred ninety thousand dollars ($590,000) per year for the state match for the lead hazard abatement program (Housing Resources Commission).

7803 2674 S2674, H7803 Support
Health Genetically Engineered Product Definitions.

This act would update and refine the definition section in the statutes on food, drugs, and cosmetics, most notable a new definition for genetically engineered products. It would also set forth rules for labeling such products.

7042 H7042 Support
Land Encroachment on Open Space.

This act would allow the owner of open space land or holder of a conservation easement or the attorney general to bring an action in superior court to prevent further encroachment of the land and to recover damages resulting from this encroachment. 

 

7684 H7684 Support
Pollution Non-toxic Ammunition.

This bill would require DEM to phase out the use of lead ammunition by hunters by 2017, if it is practicable and if the agency has the resources to enforce it. DEM would provide coupons so hunters do not incur financial losses. It does not apply to law enforcement officers. Breaking the law is punishable by $500 fine for first offense, $1000 second offense, and $5000 third offense.

7838 2628 S2628, H7838 Support
Transportation Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Incentive.

This legislation provides a 30% tax credit for residential or commercial installations of alternative automotive fueling stations. It applies to electric charging stations, natural gas, ethanol (bio-fuel), hydrogen for fuel cells, and liquefied petroleum gas.

7825 2202 S2202, H7825 Support
Transportation Eliminating sales tax for electric vehicles.

This legislation would give a tax credit to individuals who purchase plug-in electric vehicles equal to 100% of the sales tax up to $2000.

7884 2197 S2197, H7884 Support
Transportation Reducing State Gasoline Tax.

This bill would reduce the state gasoline tax by five cents a gallon. 

2027 S2027 Oppose
Transportation RI Transportation Infrastructure Fund .

Provides substantial funds for transportation, including for public transit (RIPTA) views transportation holistically to include both DOT and RIPTA.
"qualified support"

7432 2335 S2335, H7432 Support
Waste Waste Hauler Licensing.

Would require waste haulers to be licensed by the Department of Business Regulation to ensure that they offer standard contracts that include collection of all source-separated materials required by law such as recyclables and organics.

7720 2434 Waste Hauler Licens Support
Waste Plastic Waste Reduction.

This act would establish a plan for the gradual ban on the use of disposable plastic checkout bags by retail establishments.
 

7178 2314 H7178, S2314 Support
Waste Overturn the Ban on Waste Incineration in RI.

This bill will strike the following language from Sections 23-19-3 and 23-19-11 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-19 entitled "Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation" 

(7) The plan shall not include incineration of solid waste. and

(16) That incineration of solid waste is the most costly method of waste disposal with known and unknown escalating costs that would place substantial and unreasonable burdens on both state and municipal budgets to the point of seriously jeopardizing the public's interest. 

7411 2437 H7411, S2437 Oppose
Water Cesspool phaseout.

This act would phase out the use of cesspools throughout the state, beginning with those close to tidal water areas and public drinking water supplies. It would require the identification and replacement of cesspools on all properties that are subject to sale and transfer. 

 

7724 2684 H7724, S2684, S2684 SubA Support
Water Repeal of Radio Frequency Water Meters in Johnston.

This act would repeal the provision of the general laws that requires water suppliers that service the town of Johnston to formulate and carry out a program for installation of radio frequency reading systems.
The Senate and House versions are identical.

7627 2865 H7627, S2865 Oppose
Water New Freshwater Position at DEM.

This act would create a new position within the water resources division of DEM which would have oversight over all freshwater lakes, streams, and ponds within the state.

2688 S2688 Support