ECONOMIC EQUITY AND JUSTICE to expand economic security and opportunity for workers and families

  • Improve the RI Works program

Lift children out of deep poverty by Increasing the monthly cash benefit to 50% of the federal poverty level (from $721 to $959 for a family of 3); extend the lifetime limit from 48 to 60 months; permit attendance at CCRI for 24 months as allowable employment plan activity House 7789 (Handy) / Senate 2316 (Murray)

Increase from $50 to $100 the amount of child support paid by each non-custodial parent that is ‘passed through’ to their children receiving RI Works. Senate 2602 (Anderson)

*Raising RI Coalition  

  • Increase funding to train lower-skilled workers

Increase access to foundational skills (ESOL, digital skills, and literacy) necessary for upward mobility; strengthen Adult Education program infrastructure, including creation of intake and assessment centers; call for development by RIDE of a strategic plan with a needs assessment and equity-informed roadmap; invest one-time ARPA funds as recommended in the Make It Happen report and commit additional general revenue for the long-term. House 7637 (Cortvriend) / Senate 2437 (Seveney)

* Rhode Island Workforce Alliance  

  • Improve access to early education and childcare assistance & strengthen the early childhood education workforce

The RI Early Educator Investment Act would develop goals and strategies to increase wages for early educators in childcare, Early Intervention, family home visiting, and Pre-K programs. House 7283 (Casimiro) / Senate 2235 (Cano)

The RI Child Care is Essential Act increases the income limit for CCAP from 180% to 266% FPL ($41,454 to $61,220 for a family of 3) and raises provider rates for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), increasing access to high-quality and safe childcare options. House 7177 (Diaz) / Senate 2681 (Cano)

Increase provider payment rates for Early Intervention and First Connections programs. House 7628 (Giraldo) / Senate 2546 (Valverde)

* RIght from the Start Coalition 

  • Expand and modify Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) programs

Increase TCI maximum benefit from 4 to 12 weeks and expand  the program to cover care for siblings, grandchildren, and other care recipients. For TCI/TDI increase the taxable wage base for employers paying into program; increase benefit for lower-wage workers and create tax credit for low-wage tax filers who paid into fund but did not receive benefits; allow self-employed individuals to opt into system. House 7444 (Cassar)

* RIght from the Start Coalition  

  • Extend family and medical leave options for caregivers

Extend parental/family leave from 13 weeks to 24 (S-2243) or 26 (H-7717) weeks in any two-calendar year period. House 7717 (Giraldo) / Senate 2243 (Cano)

* RIght from the Start Coalition  

  • Phase out the tipped minimum wage

Phase out the cash or tipped minimum wage by 2028, raising it each year from its current $3.89 per hour. House 7348 (Felix)

  • Further increase the minimum wage

Put Rhode Island on a path to a $19/hr minimum wage by January 2025, with yearly increases replacing the current pathway to $15/hr in that year. This is still below where the minimum wage would be had it kept pace with productivity over the last half-century. This bill would also eliminate immediately the tipped minimum wage. House 7765 (Henries) / Senate 2241 (Calkin)

  • Make cannabis legalization equitable for those harmed by the war on drugs

Ensure that the legalization of cannabis for adult recreational use mandates the automatic expungement of relevant criminal records and provides opportunities for individuals and communities disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs to participate in this new venture.

*  Yes We Cannabis RI Coalition   

  • End predatory/payday lending

Repeal statute that permits payday lenders to charge effective APR of 260% and drives people into cycle of debt. House 7534 (Barros) / Senate 2166 (Quezada)

*Payday Lending Reform Coalition

  • Reform court fines and fees imposed by the courts on low-income defendants in criminal cases

These bills, in various ways, reduce or eliminate the burden of fines, fees, and costs imposed by the courts on low-income defendants in criminal cases. House 7084, House 7141, House 7192, House 7695 (Knight)