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Mon July 1, 2013
An Overview of Some of the Important Legisation Passed This Session
The legislative session is drawing to a close. Before it ends; a look back at some of the key bills that have been passed.
Prospective employers will no longer be allowed to ask if an applicant has been convicted of a crime, under so called “ban the box” legislation approved by the General Assembly. The legislation applies to employers with at least four employees. It allows them to ask about a person’s criminal past only in the interview process and beyond.
And victims of violent crime will be getting some help with moving expenses if they need to re-locate. The General Assembly has approved a bill providing up to $2,500 in relocation costs through the Crime Victim Compensation program, which already provides help with crime scene clean-up and burial costs.
The legislature also approved an increase in the minimum wage from $7.75 to $8 and authorized the expenditure of one million dollars to upgrade Harrington Hall, the state’s largest homeless shelter.
The eight-billion dollar budget approved by lawmakers last week includes restoration of the historic tax credit. No new money was required. The plan calls for the use of $34 million previously approved for projects that were never completed. The legislature imposed a cap of five million dollars per project.
Also included in the budget is the Rhode Island Back to Work program. Sponsored by state Senator Erin Lynch of Warwick, it allows an unemployed person receiving benefits to work for an employer to get job skills. The labor will cost the business nothing. After six months, the employer can decide to hire the person, or not.
Lawmakers also threw a bone to liquor stores by eliminating the state sales tax on booze for a 16-month trial period starting December 1st. The idea is to help liquor stores who operate on the border with Massachusetts, which eliminated the sales tax on alcohol two years ago.
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