Senate, House health committee chairmen submit legislation to enact much of ACA at state level

STATE HOUSE – As the Trump administration this week urged a federal appeals court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, the chairmen of the health committees in both the House and the Senate are introducing legislation to protect Rhode Islanders by enacting many of its provisions at the state level.

The legislation (2019-S 0738, 2019-H 5916), sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara, would ensure that the standards of the Affordable Care Act — often called Obamacare — remain in effect in Rhode Island, even if the courts or Congress were to eliminate the federal laws that created it.

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Senate OKs Miller bill expanding support following overdose, mental health ER visits

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today voted 34-2 to approve legislation sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller to expand the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act on hospital discharge planning.

The legislation (2019-S 0139), which now goes to the House of Representatives, would amend the Rhode Island statute consistent with new federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) guidance by allowing hospitals to contact the patient’s emergency contact and certified peer recovery specialist in certain situations.

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Miller bill aims to expand support following overdose, mental health ER visits

STATE HOUSE – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on legislation sponsored by its chairman, Sen. Joshua Miller, to expand the Alexander C. Perry and Brandon Goldner Act on hospital discharge planning.

The legislation would amend the Rhode Island statute consistent with new federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) guidance by allowing hospitals to contact the patient’s emergency contact and recovery coach in certain situations.

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R.I.'s Plastics Task Force Focused on Statewide Bag Ban

PROVIDENCE — A bill proposing a statewide ban on plastic bags is the likely outcome of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plastic waste commission, but it isn’t necessarily the result preferred by environmentalists and businesses.

Aside from opponents of the ban — a bag distributor and an American Chemistry Council representative spoke against it — there were calls for substantive reform to waste and pollution in the state at the Dec. 14 meeting of Task Force to Tackle Plastics.

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State releases Residential Guide to Going Solar

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The State of Rhode Island has released the RI Residential Guide to Going Solar, a handbook for homeowners to help them navigate the many choices involved with installing a roof-mounted solar array.

"The availability of state programs and federal tax credits makes it an ideal time for Rhode Island homeowners to explore their options and find out if solar is right for them," said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. "This guide will help them understand the process for installing a residential solar array and make informed decisions."

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Source: https://www.ri.gov/press/view/34748

Governor Raimondo Announces Co-Chairs and Members of Task Force to Tackle Plastics Pollution

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today announced the leadership, composition, and first meeting of the Governor's Task Force to Tackle Plastics. Established by the Tackling Plastics Executive Order [r20.rs6.net] signed by Governor Raimondo in July, the group will develop a host of options to reduce plastic pollution in Rhode Island's waters and reliance on single-use plastics. The Executive Order targets single-use disposables such as shopping bags, bottles, cups and straws - along with items like six-pack rings and balloons - that become unsightly, dangerous, and all-too-familiar litter on land and in coastal waters. The first meeting will be held on Friday, October 5, at 1 p.m., Room 300 at DEM (235 Promenade Street Providence).

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New law will help protect against insurance premium hikes

STATE HOUSE – Legislation passed by the General Assembly to help keep health insurance premiums down has been signed into law.

The legislation (2018-S 2934A, 2018-H 8351), called the Rhode Island Market Stability and Reinsurance Act and sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and Rep. John G. Edwards, is meant to help stabilize health insurance rates and premiums in the individual market and to provide greater financial certainty to consumers. Reinsurance helps reduce the size of premium increases by paying for some of the most expensive claims for some consumers in the individual market.

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Governor creates task force to study reducing plastics use in R.I.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo is set to appoint a task force that will come up with ways to reduce the use of disposable plastics in Rhode Island as part of an effort to prevent things like shopping bags, straws and balloons from polluting the state’s shoreline and its waters.

Raimondo signed an executive order on Monday at Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett that creates the “Task Force to Tackle Plastics,” a group that will consider a range of options, from incentives for businesses to cut down on single-use plastics to possible statewide bans on thin-film plastic bags or other products.

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