Smith Hill to Capitol Hill: Society's Government Update 9.5.17

Now that the state has a 2018 budget in place, the focus at the State House moves to a September session that’s been called to resolve some unfinished legislative business, especially the much discussed Pawsox new stadium proposal. Lawmakers will reconvene on September 19th to consider the following:

PawSox Stadium Legislative Proposal: The Pawsox legislation calls for construction of a new $83 million- dollar stadium complex at the site of the former Apex Department store in downtown Pawtucket. The proposed financing package calls for $23 million in funding from the state, $15 million from the city of Pawtucket, and $45 million from the team through a combination of bonds and upfront payments. A series of public hearings on the proposal was announced last week to take in the views of taxpayers around the state. All hearings start at 6pm and will be held at the following locations:

Sep. 14: Room 313, State House
Sep. 26: Tolman High School, Pawtucket
Oct. 3: Swan Hall Auditorium, URI, Kingston
Oct. 11: Media Theatre, New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich
Oct. 12: Roger Williams School of Law, Bristol
Oct. 19: Bello Center Hall, Bryant University, Smithfield

Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says the Senate Finance Committee will issue a report that summarizes testimony and findings from the hearings, and makes recommendations for the final version of the legislation.

Mandated Paid Sick-Leave: Though the RI Business Coalition opposed the initial legislation outright, it worked last spring to modify the bill. The current version that is expected to be voted on calls for businesses with 18 or more employees to be mandated to offer 3 days of paid sick leave to any worker and it can extend to sickness involving a child, spouse/domestic partner, parent, grandparent or grandchild. The mandated sick-leave allotment increases to 4 days in 2019 and 5 days in 2020.  Businesses would have to launch new worker sick-leave accrual time tracking systems to meet the state’s mandate. Final votes on the overhauled legislation are expected at the September session, but if that changes, we will let you know. Stay posted.


Washington, DC: Over the past week, the nation’s capital remained focused on how the federal government can assist the ongoing flooding disaster in Texas. Congress is expected to approve President Trump’s request for nearly $8 billion for recovery efforts from the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. The city of Houston and surrounding areas have faced numerous new threats in the hurricane’s aftermath including complete loss of running water in the city of Beaumont, chemical plant blasts in Crosby, which prompted the evacuation of the surrounding county, and a major oil pipeline shutting down due to a power outage. National Guard troops from many states, including RI have been deployed to help in the disaster.

As always, we will monitor state, local and federal government and report back to you so you are up to speed on what's happening "on the hills" from Providence to Washington, D.C.

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