Environment Council of Rhode Island

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

Watch List - 2013

ECRI may or may not have an official stance on these bills. People interested in tracking legislation during the session are encouraged to sign up for an account in the General Assembly's Bill Tracker system.
Click on blue-titled columns to sort by that field.

Bill Title House Bill # & Sponsor Senate Bill & Sponsorsort descending House Committee Senate Committee House Bill Status Senate Bill Status ECRI Position
Genetically Modified Organisms To Be Labeled

This act would require that food or food products produced or made in Rhode Island only, derived from or containing genetically modified organisms be labeled as such by the manufacturer, retailer, or other person before putting it on the market for sale in Rhode Island.

5849
Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Distributed Generation - Hydro Quebec

Expands distributed generation program: expands long term contracting renewable energy programs to include large hydro facilities.

6018
Arthur Handy
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources House Vote Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Expanding Energy and Consumer Savings Act of 2005

Adds high light output double-ended quartz halogen lamp, tubular quartz and portable electric spa among the products sold or installed in the state for which a minimum efficiency standard must be met.

5800
Arthur Handy
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Reducing The Gas Tax By Five Cents

This act would reduce the gasoline tax by five cents ($.05) from thirty-two cents ($0.32) per gallon to twenty-seven cents ($0.27) per gallon.

5413
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Cesspool Removal & Replacement

This act would require cesspools to be removed and replaced with an ISDS system or connected to a public sewer system within twelve (12) months from the date of the sale of the property or in accordance with a schedule set forth therein. This act would take effect upon passage.

5732
Teresa Ann Tanzi
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Legislative Priority
*Support*
The Return Or Exchange Of Drugs Act

The general assembly finds that many nursing facilities and assisted living residences destroy quantities of unused but viable prescription medication when residents pass away or when medications otherwise are no longer needed by the resident. In an effort to improve the quality, efficiency and utilization of the state's healthcare system, the general assembly hereby establishes a statewide program allowing pharmacies to accept for return and redispensing certain prescription drugs.

5230
Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Prohibiting Disposal of Recyclable Materials / Waste in Central Landfill

Prohibits the disposal of any recyclable materials or waste in the central landfill.

5874
Stephen R. Ucci
In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
RI Energy Independence and Climate Solutions Act

5801 SUB A
This act would attempt to reduce greenhouse gases and thus retard global warming. This act would take effect upon passage.

5801
Arthur Handy
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources In Committee Legislative Priority
*Support*
Water Suppliers And Installation Of Radio Frequency Reading Systems

5534 SUB A as amended
This act would repeal the provision of the general laws requiring water suppliers to formulate a program for the installation of radio frequency reading systems. This act would also provide that water suppliers bill quarterly or less frequently by December 31, 2013.

5534
John M. Carnevale
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Mandating $600,000 Toward Lead Prevention

Mandates that RI supplement no less than $600,000 toward lead prevention in the event of insufficient federal funds.

5810
Arthur Handy
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Mgt And Disposal Of Regulated Medical Waste

This act would require hospitals and pharmacies to provide sharps containers for public use.

5048
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Restricting the Use of Eminent Domain over Conservation Land

This act would restrict the use of eminent domain over any land which is protected with a conservation or preservation restriction.

5386
Donna M. Walsh
2013-2014 House Committee on Judiciary In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Wood Stove Phase-out

This act would regulate the phase-out of wood stoves without EPA certification in densely populated residential areas.

5244
Arthur Handy
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Deferred Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Creating a Commission to Study Rhode Island's Stormwater Regulations

Creates a five member special legislative commission whose purpose is to make a comprehensive study of Rhode Island's stormwater regulations and requirements.

6049
K. Joseph Shekarchi
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Signed Legislative Agenda
**
Access To Public Transportation

This act would require the state properties committee to consider access to public transportation when selecting a site for a public facility and to state specific reasons for the lack of accessibility when they select a site less than one-half (.5) mile from public transportation. The act would also require the committee prepare an annual report to the general assembly to monitor compliance.

5225
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Road & Bridge Revolving Fund Administered by RI Clean Water Finance Agency

Provides for a municipal road and bridge revolving fund to be administered by the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency in order to lower the cost of borrowing for road and bridge projects of cities and towns.

6059
Gordon D. Fox
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Public Transit Investment

Includes public transit in maintenance fund and accelerates surcharges.

5073
Jeremiah T. O'Grady
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance Deferred Legislative Priority
*Support*
Dam Repair Revenue

Allocates 20% of video lottery revenue to dam repairs.

5357
John M. Carnevale
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Establishing Executive Office of Commerce

6063 SUB B
This bill would establish a new executive office of commerce to develop an integrated system of economic development activities in the state. Also create a secretary of commerce to be appointed by the governor.

6063
Helio Melo
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Commerce Signed Legislative Priority
*Oppose*
Estate Taxes for Farmland

Exempts families who own farmland from estate tax on the farmland.

5307
Patricia L. Morgan
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance Legislative Agenda
**
State Planning Council Amendment

This act would add three (3) members to the State Planning Council, namely: The Commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources; The Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority; The Executive Director of Rhode Island Housing.

5549
Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Clean Water Finance Agency

This act would amend the general law on the clean water finance agency to permit use of the money in the revolving fund to repair and improve the infrastructure.

5648
Kenneth A. Marshall
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Liability Limitations Relating to Public Use of Private Lands

This act would change the definition of "owner" to exclude the state and municipalities for the purposes of liability limitations relating to public use of private lands.

5826
Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Related to the RI Resource Recovery Corporation

Enlarges and changes the composition of the membership of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation.

5523
Stephen R. Ucci
2013-2014 House Committee on Corporations 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
**
Genetically Modified Organisms To Be Labeled

This act would require that food and food products derived from or containing genetically modified organisms be labeled as such by the manufacturer, retailer or other person before putting it on the market for sale in Rhode Island.

5278
Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Power to Grant Variances From the State Building Code

Gives local building officials and fire chiefs the power to grant variances from the state building code.

5593
Joseph A. Trillo
Legislative Agenda
**
Changing the Composition of the CRMC

This act would reduce the membership of the Coastal Resources Management Council from sixteen (16) to eleven (11) members and would reduce the quorum requirement from seven (7) to six (6) members.

5733
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Permitting animal agriculture, primarily chickens, in municipal zoning

Permits animal agriculture use within residential, industrial, and commercial municipal zoning.

5793
Eileen S. Naughton
2013-2014 House Committee on Municipal Government In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Restricting Emergency Rule-Making by DEM & Other Admin Agencies

This act would establish a rigid schedule for the covered administrative agencies to publish and adopt rules and amendments. It would also prohibit the promulgation of an emergency rule or amendment without the written consent of the governor. This bill would cripple all of DEM's rule-making ability – especially in their Marine Fisheries and Fish & Wildlife divisions where regulatory changes are frequent and necessary.

5564
Stephen R. Ucci
2013-2014 House Committee on Judiciary In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Farmland Values

Lowers estate tax on farms and appraises on use value.

5036
Donna M. Walsh
0018
Walter S. Felag Jr.
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Legislative Agenda
**
Creation of a Permanent Joint Legislative Committee over CRMC and DEM

This act would establish a permanent joint legislative committee to provide oversight of the coastal resources management council and the department of environmental management.

5356
0120
Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Separation of Powers: Coastal Resources Mgt Council

This act would change the method by which members of the Coastal Resource Management Council are appointed, in accordance with the Separation of Powers Constitutional Amendment.

5378
0122
Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Renewable Energy Tax Credit

This act would reinstate the residential renewable energy system tax credit.

5116
Deborah Ruggiero
0127
Joshua Miller
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Tipping Fees

Increases the Resource Recovery Corporation's tipping fee from $3 to $5 per vehicle, to be paid to the town of Johnston on a biannual basis.

0190
Frank Lombardo, III
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Producer Responsibility For Recycling, Reuse and Disposal of Mattresses

This act would establish the procedure for the recycling, reuse and disposal of mattresses.

5799
Arthur Handy
0261
Dominick J. Ruggerio
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Dam Inspection Protocol

This act would change inspection protocols within the state.

5535
Frank Ferri
0315
Michael J. McCaffrey
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Plastic Bag Ban

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

5403
0404
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Marine Debris Act

S0406 Sub A
To reduce the amount of post-consumer packaging that ends up as marine and beach debris.

5264
Donna M. Walsh
0406
Catherine Cool Rumsey
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Expedited Citation Process for Alleged DEM Noncompliance

This bill would allow the director of DEM to use an expedited citation process for alleged noncompliance.

5677
Larry Valencia
0495
William A. Walaska
2013-2014 House Committee on Judiciary 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
**
Children's Jewelry Safety

This act would require children's jewelry, manufactured or sold within one hundred eighty (180) days after the effective date of the act, to conform to standards promulgated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

5423
0497
Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Adjusting DEM's Powers Relating to Agriculture and the Division of Agriculture

This act would expand the powers of the department of environmental management relating to agriculture and farming by creating a new division of agriculture.

5739
Larry Valencia
0517
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Legislative Agenda
**
Industrial Property Remediation & Reuse Act

Eliminates the statute prohibiting schools from being built on sites containing hazardous material, but provides certain safeguards for schools being built on properties previously used for industrial or manufacturing purposes.

5617
John G. Edwards
0520
Juan M. Pichardo
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Priority
*Oppose*
Including Steep Slopes as Buildable

This act would provide for the addition of certain definitions relative to "slope of land," and other terms within the chapters of the general laws relating to zoning and subdivision of land. Notably, slope of land shall not be excluded from the calculation of the buildable lot area or the minimum lot size, or in the calculation of the number of buildable lots or units.

5703
Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
0544
Michael J. McCaffrey
2013-2014 House Committee on Municipal Government 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Judiciary Signed Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
User Fees

Allows the host municipality to share in all beach parking fee receipts, not just daily parking fee receipts.

0601
James C. Sheehan
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Future of Solid Waste Management

Creates an eleven (11) member special select commission to make a comprehensive study of all technical, environmental, policy, and financial issues concerning the future of solid waste management in the state of Rhode Island, and who would report back to the General Assembly no later than December 31, 2013, and whose life would expire on June 30, 2014.

0602
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Signed Legislative Agenda
**
Statewide Solid Waste Mgt Plan & Use of Out of State Non-Hazardous Contaminated Soils Within RI

Eliminates the prohibition of incinerating solid waste from the statewide solid waste management plan, would allow non-hazardous contaminated soils originating out of state for use on site as daily cover material, and would allow glass to be used as cover material.

0603
V. Susan Sosnowski
In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
RI Resource Recovery Corporation & Incineration

Eliminates the prohibition of incinerating solid waste from the statewide solid waste management plan, would allow non-hazardous contaminated soils originating out of state for use on site as daily cover material, and would allow glass to be used as cover material. This act would take effect upon passage.

0603
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee Legislative Priority
*Oppose*
Creation of the Office of Inspector General

Establishes the office of inspector general as an independent administrative agency charged with the purpose of preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse, and mismanagement in the expenditure of public funds.

0612
James C. Sheehan
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Creation of a Single Set of Environmental Standards for the State

This act would establish a single set of environmental standards for the state while reducing local regulatory burden and would prohibit cities and towns from enacting future ordinances which are more restrictive than regulations established by the department of environmental management or the coastal resources management council.

5192
Michael W. Chippendale
0640
Erin P. Lynch Prata
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Hydroelectric Projects Allowed in Standard Contract Enforcement Program

This act would amend the definition of small distributed generation project, and would allow hydroelectric projects to participate in the standard contract enforcement program.

5803
0641
Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Implementation Of The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Act

Provides for the payment of costs incurred by the DEM and office of energy resources up to three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) or five percent (5%) of the proceeds of any sale or auction of allowances.

5812
Arthur Handy
0642
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Priority
*Support*
Designates One Area of State-Owned Property for the Use of ATVs

Requires the state, through the DEM, to designate at least one area of state-owned property for the use and operation of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

0670
Frank Lombardo, III
In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Creation of RI Climate Change Commission/Advisory Committee

Establishes and appoints members to a climate change advisory committee.

0671
Joshua Miller
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
DEM Jurisdiction

5425Sub A and 0672Sub A
This act would require the Rhode Island division of planning, in consultation with a task force representing diverse interests, to prepare and submit to the governor, the senate president and the speaker of the house, a report that would make recommendations for state standards that addresses onsite waste water treatment systems (OWTS) regulations, and wetlands and watershed planning. This act would not apply to OWTS, maintenance, and cesspool phase-outs.
This act would take effect upon passage.

5425
Patricia A. Serpa
0672
Erin P. Lynch Prata
2013-2014 House Committee on Judiciary 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Priority
*Oppose*
Community Preservation Act

Establishes the Rhode Island Community Preservation Act to promote capital investment and development within Rhode Island communities. The act provides a source of funding for such investment and development.

5633
Deborah Ruggiero
0696
Louis P. DiPalma
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Responsibilities of the Office of Energy Resources -- Collection of All Energy Information

Adds a responsibility to the office of energy resources to collect all energy information regarding petroleum products, natural gas, and other fuels including price, inventory, and product delivery dates, amounts, and types of product sold, and other pertinent information.

0725
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
**
Use Of Glass As A Material To Cover Solid Waste At A Landfill

This act would allow any resource recovery system or facility made available by the corporation to use glass as a material to cover compacted solid waste at a sanitary landfill.

0726
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Use Of Contaminated Soils To Cover Material at RI Resource Recovery Corp.

This act would allow the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation to use non-hazardous contaminated soils, free of solid waste, and originating out-of-state as daily cover material at its facility.

0727
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Inclusion of Incineration of Solid Waste in Statewide Resource Recovery System Development Plan

Eliminates the prohibition on inclusion of incineration of solid waste in the statewide resource recovery system development plan.

0728
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*
Inclusion of Incineration of Solid Waste in Statewide Resource Recovery System Development Plan

Eliminates the prohibition on inclusion of incineration of solid waste in the statewide resource recovery system development plan.

0728
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee Legislative Priority
*Oppose*
Placement of Renewable Energy Facilities

Regulates the placement of renewable energy facilities on farmlands.

5953
John M. Carnevale
0815
Louis P. DiPalma
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Legislative Agenda
**
Biodiesel Heating Oil Act

Would enact the Biodiesel Heating Oil Act of 2013, which would require that all heating oil sold in the state contain five percent (5%) of a bio-based product.

5802
Arthur Handy
0816
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
**
Retaining the Residential Renewable Energy System Tax Credit for Another Two Years

Permits the residential renewable energy system tax credit to be carried forward for an additional two (2) years.

0817
Catherine Cool Rumsey
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee Legislative Agenda
**
Municipal Streetlight Investment Act

Establishes a procedure to allow municipalities to purchase, rather than rent, their street lights for the purpose of reducing municipal street lighting costs.

5935
Deborah Ruggiero
0836
James C. Sheehan
2013-2014 House Committee on Municipal Government 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government Signed Legislative Agenda
*Support*
PACE Legislation

PACE, or Property-Assessed Clean Energy, creates a financing mechanism for homeowners for clean energy and energy efficiency improvements and allows them to repay the loan on their property taxes.

6019
Arthur Handy
0900
William J. Conley
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed Legislative Agenda
*Support*
Energy Reform Act

Facilitates, promotes, and supports the creation of newly developed renewable energy resources. In addition, the act extends the distributed generation contracts program.

0901
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee Legislative Agenda
*Oppose*