Military Pensions, Hospital Acquisitions & More: This Week at the State House
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Magistrates would be selected under merit process under Sen. Sheehan bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on legislation introduced by Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) that would extend the merit selection process used for judges to the state’s magistrates. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jeremiah T. O’Grady (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket).
Rep. Marshall bill would scrutinize hospital acquisitions from neighboring states
Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) is sponsoring legislation to make the state review process more thorough for hospital acquisitions and mergers involving hospital systems from states adjacent to Rhode Island. The bill, introduced as a result of the proposed acquisition of the Care New England network by Massachusetts-based Partners HealthCare, is meant to ensure the process considers the potential effects such acquisitions could have on health insurance premiums and other aspects of health care for Rhode Islanders. Identical legislation has been submitted in the Senate by Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton).
Rep. Lancia bill would exempt military pensions from state income tax
A press conference was held to launch proposed legislation introduced by Rep. Robert B. Lancia (R-Dist. 16, Cranston) that would exempt the amount of military pension which is included in federal adjusted gross income from the state income tax. The exemption would be phased in over a five-year period.
Sen. Metts bill would eliminate exemptions for predatory payday lenders
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence) would abolish ultra-high-interest payday loans by eliminating a special exemption from usury laws that has allowed payday lenders to charge interest rates as extreme as 260 percent, subverting the 36-percent constraint imposed upon conventional loans. Rep. Jean Phillippe Barros (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket) has introduced the bill in the House.
Rep. Nardolillo legislation would require seat belts on school buses
Rep. Robert A. Nardolillo III (R-Dist. 28, Coventry) has introduced legislation requiring all school buses in Rhode Island be equipped with seat belts to protect students. The bill would require that every new school bus purchased or leased for use in Rhode Island be equipped with a three-point seat belt for every passenger after 2020. The legislation would also require every school district to train staff on the proper usage of the new seat belts including how to evacuate a bus equipped with them.
Sen. Calkin bill would defend against wage theft
Sen. Jeanine Calkin is sponsoring legislation that would protect workers from a common form of wage theft by making those who hire contractors share in accountability if their contractors fail to pay their workers’ wages. Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation in the House.
Sen. Picard bill expands pain therapies covered by insurance
Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) is sponsoring legislation aimed at helping to reduce opioid dependence by requiring insurers to cover alternative, non-opioid treatments for pain, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and oriental medicine. Rep. Michael A. Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) is sponsoring identical legislation in the House.
Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) is calling for the arming of police officers on the campuses of Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. Currently, neither campus police force carries firearms. The University of Rhode Island is the only public institute of higher education that has armed its campus police officers. URI instituted this policy in 2015.
Sen. Morgan opposes DEM plan to acquire farmland
Sen. Elaine J. Morgan (R-Dist. 34, Hopkinton, Charlestown, Exeter, Richmond, West Greenwich) announced her strong opposition to a state-run program that would allow the Department of Environmental Management to buy farmland and resell it below cost to new farmers. The proposal stems from a 2014 bond question that voters approved that permitted $3 million to be used to “protect the state’s working farms.” Morgan said she is concerned the plan DEM favors is too loosely defined and has problems.
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level
Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017
Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)
Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.
When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?
Right track: 39%
Wrong track: 45%
Don't know/Refused: .6%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?
Changed for the better: 35%
Changed for the worse: 16%
Not changed at all: 43%
Don't know/Refused: 5%
Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?
Changed for the better: 26%
Changed for the worse: 19%
Not changed at all: 54%
Don't know/Refused: 1%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
Could you please tell me your age?
Don't know/refused: 1%
What was the last grade you completed in school?
High school grad: 16%
Technical/Vocational school: 1%
Some college: 23%
College grad: 34%
Graduate degree: 24%
Don't know/refused: 1%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?
Never heard of: 0%
Cannot rate: 3%
Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%
Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%
Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 8%
Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%
Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%
Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%
Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%
Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%
Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%
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