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.


2022 Testimony

Testimony on H-7444 (Temporary Caregiver Insurance) 4/13/2022
The Institute writes in support of Representative Cassar’s bill H-7444 which would improve the Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) program by better meeting all caregiving responsibilities and the needs of all workers, especially those with lower incomes.

Testimony on H-7794 (TDI/TCI Employer Contributions) 4/13/2022
The Institute writes in support of Representative Giraldo’s bill H-7794 which would introduce economic equality into these programs by requiring employers to contribute to the TDI/TCI fund at an equal amount to their workers’ contributions.

Testimony on S-2760 (Motion Picture Tax Credit) 4/12/2022
The Institute opposes S2760, which would increase the amount of motion picture production tax credits available and also remove the program’s sunset date. We ask this committee to reject increasing the cap on a program that loses revenue for every dollar invested.

Testimony on H-7122 (Housing ARPA) 4/7/2022
The Institute writes in support ofH-7123, Article 1 Section 16 appropriating $250M for affordable housing over the lifetime of the ARPA funds. However, we urge the Committee to both increase the amount of ARPA funds devoted to affordable housing and to ensure that equity guides the investment of these funds.

Testimony on H-7717 (FMLA) 4/7/2022
The Institute writes in support of Representative Giraldo’s bill H-7717 which aims to update Rhode Island’s Parent and Family Medical Leave (PFML). The bill will ensure that a worker would be eligible to take 26 months of leave (state) in the first year and 12 months of federal leave in the 2nd year.

Testimony on H-7736 (Equity Impact Statements) 4/6/2022
The Institute strongly supports Representative Cassar’s bill H7736 which would require that a race, ethnicity, gender, and disability equity impact statement accompany most proposed legislation.

Testimony on Governor's FY 2023, FY 2022 Revised and Capital Budgets, RIDE Budget (Adult Education) 3/31/2022
The Institute urges the Committee to review the funding that is currently appropriated by RIDE for this system and to make additional state investments of general revenue and ARPA funds to ensure that the Adult Education system can meet the needs of Rhode Islanders and employers.

Testimony on S-2681 (Child Care is Essential Act) 3/30/2022
The Institute, a member of the Right from the Start Steering Committee, writes in strong support of Chair Cano’s bill, The Child Care is Essential bill, S-2681. This bill has six important pieces as described in the Right from the Start Fact Sheet. EPI's testimony focuses on three key parts related to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), although all are important: 1) increasing tiered quality rates for CCAP, 2) raising the family income limits to quality for CCAP and 3) eliminating the child support enforcement requirement for participation in CCAP.

Testimony on S-2245 (Temporary Caregiver Insurance) 3/30/2022
The Institute writes in support of Senator Lawson’s bill (S-2245) to make improvements to the Temporary Caregiver’s Insurance (TCI) program but urge the Committee to go even further and support a progressive wage replacement for low-wage workers..

Testimony on S-2235 (Rhode Island Early Educator Investment Act) 3/30/2022
The Institute, a steering committee member of the Right from the Start Campaign, strongly supports Senator Cano’s bill S-2235, the “Rhode Island Early Educator Investment Act”, which directs the RI Children’s Cabinet to establish a target wage scale for early educators and to identify strategies for increasing compensation in child care, Early Intervention, RI Pre-K and family home visiting. The bill also creates an early educator registry and invests $5 million to pilot a child care educator wage supplement.

Testimony on Governor's FY 2023, FY 2022 Revised and Capital Budgets, Department of Labor and Training (Temporary Disability Insurance) 3/30/2022
The Institute writes in support of the use of $19.4 million of the proposed FY2022 surplus to go to the Information Technology Investment Fund (ITIF) to replace the Department of Labor and Training’s legacy mainframe with modern systems for the Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program.

Testimony on S-2166 (Payday Lending) 3/24/2022
The Institute supports Senator Quezada’s bill which would eliminate the harms of deferred deposit transactions that drive the payday loan industry in Rhode Island.

Testimony on S-2187 and Article 12, Sections 7 and 8 (Providing RIte Care Coverage to Children who are Undocumented) 3/22/2022
The Institute supports Senator Cano’s bill along with the Governor’s budget proposal, to use general revenue funds to provide RIte Care coverage for children who are undocumented.

Testimony on H-7593 (Cannabis Legalization) 3/22/2022
The Institute believes that if cannabis is legalized for adult recreational use, it ought to contain clear provisions advancing equity, including equitable access to the new market, particularly for individuals harmed by the war on drugs and the decades-long criminalization of cannabis. In this regard, H7593 falls short of what such legislation must contain.

Testimony on H-7765 (Minimum Wage) 3/16/2022
The Institute supports Representative Henries’ bill H7765 which would place Rhode Island on a path to a $19/hour minimum wage.

Testimony on H-7666 (Minimum Wage) 3/16/2022
The Protect Our HealthCare Coalition supports House Bills 7666 because it will improve affordability for Rhode Islanders battling rare or life-threatening disease whose well-being is dependent on specialty drugs.

Testimony on H-7348 (Tipped Minimum Wage) 3/15/2022
The Institute supports Representative Felix’s bill H7348 to raise and phase out the tipped minimum wage.

Testimony on S-2371 (Medical Marijuana Industry) 3/15/2022
The Institute opposes Senate Bill 2371 which would make it more difficult for individuals harmed by the decades-long criminalization of cannabis to take part in the legal medical marijuana market.

Testimony on S-2430 (Cannabis Legalization 3/15/2022
The Institute believes that if cannabis is legalized for adult recreational use, it ought to contain clear provisions advancing equity, including equitable access to the new market, particularly for individuals harmed by the war on drugs and the decades-long criminalization of cannabis. In this regard, S2430 falls short of what such legislation must contain.

Testimony on H-7123 (Affordable Housing) 3/9/2022
The Institute supports H-7123 and Article 1 Section 16 of the Governor’s proposed budget which appropriates $250M for affordable housing over the lifetime of the ARPA funds. However, we urge the Committee to both increase the amount of ARPA funds devoted to affordable housing and to ensure that equity guides the investment of these funds. Click here for testimony from the Protect Our Health Coalition in support of Article 1 Section 16 of the Governor’s proposed budget.

Testimony on H-7500 and H-7560 (Safeguard ACA Protections) 3/9/2022
The Protect Our HealthCare Coalition supports House Bills 7500 and 7560 and thanks Representatives Cassar and Speakman for their ongoing commitment to safeguard the ACA’s health insurance consumer rights and protections in Rhode Island state law.

Testimony on HB7385 and HB7123 Budget Article 1 Section 16 (Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund) 3/1/2022
The Institute believes that there are better investments to be made by the state besides replenishing RI’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Replenishing the funds would not be a targeted and strategic investment in Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island businesses, but rather a future tax cut that will mostly benefit the largest employers.

Testimony on Article 6 (Military Pensions) 2/15/2022
The Institute believes that the proposals, in Budget Article 6 of the Governor’s proposed budget, to make income from military pensions non-taxable, is bad tax policy. Click here to read the house testimony on the budget article.

Testimony on Article 9 (Sunset Dates) 2/16/2022
Sections 2 through 14 of Article 9 of HB7123, the Governor’s proposed budget, would extend the sunset dates of various tax incentive programs for economic development, from December 31, 2022, to December 31, 2023. If these extensions merely keep programs going without proper evaluation and oversight, then the Institute (EPI) would oppose the extensions. If, however, the one-year extensions are embraced as an opportunity for the General Assembly to assess these programs and determine which ones should continue and which ones should not, then EPI would support the extensions.

Testimony on S-2371 (Let RI Vote Act and Same Day Registration) 2/15/2022
The Institute strongly supports passage of S-2216, The “Let RI Vote Act” sponsored by Senator Euer and S-2216, Senator DiMario’s ‘Same-Day Registration’ resolution. Both proposals will improve Rhode Islanders’ access to voting.

Testimony on S-2371 (Court Fines and Fees) 2/10/2022
The Institute supports Representative Knight’s HB7084, HB7141, and HB7192 which would strengthen protections for individuals who cannot afford to pay court fines and fees and serve as a step in ending the criminalization of poverty

Testimony on H-7183 (Safeguard ACA Protections) 2/3/2022
The Protect Our HealthCare Coalition strongly supports House Bill 7183 and thanks Representative Kislak and her co-sponsors for bringing it forward again this year. This bill aligns Rhode Island law with the Affordable Care Act protection that assures that people will not suddenly lose health coverage if they have a particularly expensive health event.

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