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Bill Would Set Standards for Sale of Raw Milk

PROVIDENCE — Solar loans, raw milk, a Tiverton casino and genetically modified foods were among many environmental/public health bills introduced in the General Assembly during the week of Jan. 18.

Solar lending
The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation seeks to offer lending for solar farms and to small businesses that install solar arrays. The bill also proposes a 10 percent tax credit for businesses in the solar-energy sector. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, and was referred to the House Finance Committee. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Raw milk
The Raw Milk Act would set standards and procedures for the sale of raw milk. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Kettle, R-Coventry. No hearing has been scheduled.

House and Senate bills call for a statewide vote, as well as a vote in Tiverton, for relocating the Newport Grand Casino to open space in Tiverton. The new facility would be a state-operated casino with full gambling operations. The Senate bill is sponsored by Rep. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. John DeSimone, D-Providence. A hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Low-income ratepayers
The Senate bill would allow energy-assistance funds for low-income ratepayers to be awarded all year. The state Public Utilities Commission would also review all programs affecting low-income utility bill customers. Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston, sponsored the legislation. A hearing date has not been announced.

This bill would require the labeling of genetically modified foods. Rep. Dennis Canario, D-Portsmouth, is the sponsor. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Blake Filippi, I-Block Island, would require all businesses with food sales of more than $500,000 a year, except restaurants, to post signs that their products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Another bill would require GMO labeling for milk and milk products. No hearing dates have been scheduled.

Sharps disposal
Syringes and other medical sharps would be disposed of in public receptacles in hospitals and pharmacies in a bill sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese, D-North Providence. The bill was referred to the House Corporation Committee. A hearing has not been scheduled.

Light bulbs
This bill would establish a collection and recycling program for light bulbs that contain mercury. The bill is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominck Ruggerio, D-North Providence. No hearing has been scheduled.

Wastewater treatment
This bill would require a public hearing for proposed wastewater treatment facilities. The bill is sponsored by Sen. William Walaska, D-Warwick. No hearing date has been scheduled.