Legislative Testimony

Throughout the legislative session, the Economic Progress Institute tracks the budget and other bills being considered by the Rhode Island General Assembly affecting the economic well-being of low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders. We present policy information and data-based testimony to committees in the General Assembly.


 

Past Testimony

Testimony on Budget Article 11 and Senate Bill 568 (Cannabis Legalization) 4/2/2021
Read the Institute's testimony arguing why the legalization of cannabis, if enacted, must be accompanied by strong provisions to advance racial equity, as an appropriate response to decades of inequitable policies and practices undertaken through the war on drugs. Although both Budget Article 11 and Senate Bill 568 provide some equity measures, neither piece of legislation goes far enough. We also suggest that alternative taxation mechanisms be considered, in order to provide a more stable source of revenue to fund programs advancing racial equity.

Testimony on House Bill 5261 (Fair Pay) 3/17/2021
Read the Institute's testimony on House Bill 5261 which, if enacted, would provide critical protections against employer-imposed wage differentials based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of origin.

Testimony on House Bill 5802 (Payday Lending) 3/11/2021
Read the Institute's testimony on House Bill 5802 which, if enacted, would limit the harms of deferred deposit transactions that drive the payday loan industry in Rhode Island. This bill would cap payday loans with APRs of 28 percent, in contrast to the 260 percent rates charged currently. This bill also helps by extending the repayment period and limits excessive fees.

Testimony on House Bill 5115 (Home Cost Sharing) 3/4/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of House Bill 5115, which would increase the income eligibility limit for the Home Cost-Share program from 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 250% FPL. The bill would enable more elderly Rhode Islanders to remain in their homes when they need daily support to do so and would promote the state’s long-standing promise to “rebalance” long term care services by increasing investments and opportunities in community-based care vs. care in a facility.

Testimony on House Bill 5012 (Nursing Home Staffing) 3/4/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of House Bill 5012, which addresses critical issues that are necessary to ensure that seniors who need the 24-7 care provided by nursing facilities live safely in those environments. By establishing minimum staffing standards, we ensure that residents will receive the quality care that they deserve.

Testimony on Senate Bill 226 (RI Works) 2/25/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of Senate Bill 226, which will provide short-term economic support to families that rely on the RI Works program when they have no other source of income. It will also improve long-term economic stability for families and help break the cycle of poverty by providing parents with an opportunity to gain the skills they need to secure a well-paying job and to support them as they enter the workforce.

Testimony on Senate Bill 270 (Wage Discrimination & Fair Pay) 2/24/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of Senate Bill 270, which would provide critical protections against employer-imposed wage differentials based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age, or country of origin.

Testimony on Senate Bill 138 (Overtime Wages) 2/24/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of Senate Bill 138, which if enacted, would raise the exemption threshold for employers paying their salaried employees overtime wages. By setting the exemption threshold above $1,000 per week, as SB138 would codify, employers would be less able to take advantage of low-salaried and even moderate-salaried workers to work beyond their contracted hours for no additional pay.

Testimony on Senate Bill 195 (Wage Theft) 2/24/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of Senate Bill 195, which would increase the penalties for wage theft and employee misclassification.

Testimony on Senate Bill 323 (Domestic Service Wages) 2/24/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of Senate Bill 323, if enacted, would end the exclusion from the legal definition, in Rhode Island statute, of an “Employee” those individuals who work as domestic workers or who work in or about the homes of other people. By classifying these individuals as employees, these individuals would qualify for being paid the state’s minimum wage.

Testimony on House Bill 5263 (Domestic Service Wages) 2/24/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of House Bill 5263, if enacted, would end the exclusion from the legal definition, in Rhode Island statute, of an “Employee” those individuals who work as domestic workers or who work in or about the homes of other people. By classifying these individuals as employees, these individuals would qualify for being paid the state’s minimum wage.

Testimony on House Bill 5130 (Minimum Wage) 2/24/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of House Bill 5130, which which would place Rhode Island on a path to a $15/hour minimum wage.

Testimony on House Bill 5257 (Lawful Source of Income) 2/11/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of of House Bill 5257, which would prohibit discrimination in housing based on a person’s receipt of a lawful source of income.

Testimony on House Bill 5158 (Early Childhood Education) 2/10/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in support of Representative Casimiro’s bill, the “Rhode Island Early Educator Investment Act”, which requires the state to develop goals and a plan to improve the recruitment, development, compensation, and retention of effective early educators.

Testimony on Senate Bill 137 (Minimum Wage) 2/3/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in opposition to the Senate Bill 137 which, if enacted, could result in a revenue loss to the state of Rhode Island in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Testimony on Senate Resolution 136 (Minimum Wage) 2/3/2021
Read the Institute's testimony in opposition to the Senate Resolution creating a commission to study RI’s Minimum Wage. The General Assembly and the public already possess adequate information to increase the minimum wage and match our neighbors in MA & CT.

Testimony on Senate Bill 1 and 143 (Minimum Wage) 2/3/2021
The Institute supports both Senator Quezada’s bill SB1 which would place Rhode Island on a path to a $15/hour minimum wage and Senator Ciccone’s bill SB143 which would accomplish the same thing as well as enact a number of additional, positive changes.

Testimony on Senate Bill 3 and 5 (ACA Consumer Protections) 1/14/2021
The Protect Our Health Care Coalition writes in support of S-3 and S-5 which enshrines in our state law the consumer protections included in the ACA to ensure that the coverage that residents are required to buy will truly meet their needs.

Testimony on Senate Bill 2 (Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act) 1/21/2021
The Institute writes in support of S-2 which addresses critical issues that are necessary to ensure the safety of seniors who need the 24-7 care provided by nursing facilities. By establishing minimum staffing standards, we ensure that residents will receive the quality care that they deserve.  The Protect Our Health Care Coalition also testified in support of S-2.

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