Environment Council of Rhode Island

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

Watch List - 2014

This list is for public information only. 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.

Bill Title House Bill # & Sponsor Senate Bill & Sponsor ECRI's Position House Committee Senate Committee House Bill Status Senate Bill Status
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
Stephen R. Ucci
2437
Dominick J. Ruggerio
Oppose 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred Deferred
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
Arthur Handy
2674
Maryellen Goodwin
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Deferred In Committee
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
Deborah Ruggiero
2213
Joshua Miller
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee In Committee
Fisheries Administrative Fund for Renewable Energy Projects

This act would establish a fisheries administrative fund. The fund would be supported through an annual fee imposed on the lease of marine submerged lands for renewable energy projects. The fee would be used to create a nonprofit entity representing the interests of Rhode Island commercial and recreational fishing in fisheries management and in the development and operation of renewable energy facilities in marine waters used regularly by Rhode Islanders.

7992
Teresa Ann Tanzi
2792
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture
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
Donna M. Walsh
2436
V. Susan Sosnowski
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred Deferred
Creation of Select Commission to Study the Future of Solid Waste Mgt in RI

It's a Joint Resolution to create a special select commission to determine the future of Solid Waste Mgt in RI. The commission would be comprised of 16 members, one of who shall be the President of the Environment Council of Rhode Island, or designee.

7656
Stephen R. Ucci
2793
Frank Lombardo, III
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee In Committee
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
John G. Edwards
2335
Louis P. DiPalma
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Deferred Voted out of Committee
Liability limitations on public lands (bad)

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. 

 

2593
Michael J. McCaffrey
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Judiciary
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
Donna M. Walsh
2315
Catherine Cool Rumsey
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture House Vote Senate Vote
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
Donna M. Walsh
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Judiciary House Vote
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
William J. Conley
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Signed
GMO labeling

Requires labeling of genetically engineered food products.

7093
Raymond A. Hull
2013-2014 House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare In Committee
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
Deborah Ruggiero
2690
V. Susan Sosnowski
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture House Vote Senate Vote
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
Paul W. Fogarty
Support 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Senate Vote
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
Maria E. Cimini
2314
Frank Lombardo, III
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee In Committee
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
Teresa Ann Tanzi
2684
V. Susan Sosnowski
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred Voted out of Committee
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
Dennis M. Canario
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare Deferred
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
Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Signed
New DEM 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.

7120
Larry Valencia
2137
V. Susan Sosnowski
2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee
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
John M. Carnevale
2865
Stephen R. Archambault
Oppose 2013-2014 House Committee on Municipal Government 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred In Committee
Outdoor Wood-fired Hydronic Heaters

This act would regulate the sale and installation of outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters.

2016
William A. Walaska
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee
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
Linda D. Finn
2434
Catherine Cool Rumsey
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Corporations 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred Deferred
Reducing State Gasoline Tax

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

2027
Walter S. Felag Jr.
Oppose 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance In Committee
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
Thomas Winfield
2435
William J. Conley
Oppose 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture Deferred Deferred
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
Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Signed
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
Arthur Handy
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Senate Vote
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
Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
Oppose 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Signed
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
Louis P. DiPalma
Support 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee
Medical Waste Management and Disposal

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

7179
Arthur J. Corvese
2520
William A. Walaska
2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee
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
Arthur Handy
2202
Joshua Miller
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Deferred In Committee
Soil Amendments

This bill would require applications for the conduct of composting operations to contain written confirmation from the town that the operation will be conducted in an area with proper zoning

2186
Louis P. DiPalma
2013-2014 Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture In Committee
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
Arthur Handy
2197
Joshua Miller
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Deferred In Committee
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
Raymond E. Gallison Jr.
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Finance 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Finance Signed
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
Arthur Handy
2628
Joshua Miller
Support 2013-2014 House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources 2013-2014 Senate Committee on Judiciary Deferred In Committee