Political Scene: As session winds down, pension, other bills still on the burner
With the 2018 election-year session headed for an anticipated end this weekthere are 36 pension bills in the wings, along with the SEIU’s latest expansion bid and a bill to remove decades of court records from public view.
Many a past legislative session ended with a flurry of last-minute votes on special pension deals, the expungement of thousands more criminal records and the unionization of workers in state-subsidized private industries.
With the 2018 election-year session headed for an anticipated end this week, it remains to be seen if the pattern will repeat itself. There are 36 pension bills in the wings, along with the SEIU’s latest expansion bid and a bill to remove decades of court records from public view.
Some of the bills certainly have worthy-sounding goals.
But the devil is in the details, as the state’s lawmakers are fond of saying. So here you go: some bills to watch.
ON THE UNION FRONT: the Senate has already passed a bill allowing legions of home care workers across Rhode Island to unionize.
Sponsored by Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin in the Senate, and Rep. Christopher Blazejewski in the House, the legislation envisions a new class of worker — the “independent” home care worker — going into the homes of the elderly and the disabled to help them with basic daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing and getting to and from the toilet. The legislation would allow these independent contractors to choose a “representative” to negotiate with the state over their rates, benefits “and other economic matters.”
Drawing almost word for word from the 2013 legislation that allowed home-based child-care workers to join an arm of the Service Employees International Union, the Senate-passed bill [S2734] also requires the director of administration “to meet and negotiate in good faith” with the