I was very busy in the 2022 session. I introduced bills on a range of issues, including protecting the rights of people with disabilities, education, environment, and many other topics.
My biggest accomplishment this year was passing the Toxic Packaging Reduction Act, which prohibits the sale or promotional distribution of any food package containing PFAS “forever chemicals,” effective January 1, 2024
2022 Rhode Island Legislative Highlights of Bills Passed:
- The new budget includes $1 million to study the feasibility of installing suicide barriers on Aquidneck Island’s three bridges.
- Approved enabling legislation for Newport to create a two-tiered property tax system for residents and non-residents.
- The General Assembly approved an accelerated phase-out of the car tax, eliminating it one year ahead of schedule.
- Lawmakers elevated the position of Deputy Secretary of Commerce for Housing to Secretary of Housing, a cabinet-level position, and created a new Department of Housing.
- The budget fully supported the state education funding formula, providing $17 million more than the previous year.
- Voters will be asked in Nov. to approve a $50 million “green bond,” including $12 million for an education center at Roger Williams Park Zoo.
- Voters in will be asked in Nov. to approve a $250 million bond for kindergarten through Grade 12 school construction projects.
- Voters will be asked in Nov. to approve for $112 million in borrowing for new construction and repairs at the URI Narragansett Bay campus and at the Community College of Rhode Island.
- Approved legislation that creates a special motor vehicle license plate for Rose Island Lighthouse.
- The General Assembly approved the Plastic Waste Reduction Act, which is designed to reduce the use of plastic checkout bags.
- Legislators added a one-time child tax credit of $250 per child, for up to three children per family, for those meeting the income guidelines.
- Legislators voted to substantially increase renewable energy production and supply by requiring that 100% of Rhode Island’s electricity be offset by renewable production by 2033.
- Lawmakers approved legislation that would provide for the Department of Health to take action to establish maximum contaminate levels for PFAS in drinking water.
- The General Assembly approved legislation to allow hotels to evict guests who verbally abuse or threaten hotel staff or other guests.
- Legislators dedicated $100 million to the unemployment trust fund to reduce businesses’ unemployment tax rates for 2023.
- The budget provides $28 million to recapitalize the Historic Tax Credit Fund to reach more projects in an existing queue.
- Legislators eliminated state income taxes on military pensions.
- Lawmakers added $4 million to increase the “circuit breaker” tax credit available to qualifying elderly and disabled residents, raising the maximum credit from about $400 to $600 beginning in tax year 2022.
- The Assembly raised the amount of annual pension income that is exempt from state taxation from $15,000 to $20,000.