2012 Legislative Wrap
June 29, 2012

Smart Growth Policy Recap


Grow Smart Rhode Island

Board of Directors

Howard M. Kilguss

Chairman of the Board

Susan Arnold
William Ashworth
William Baldwin
Daniel A. Baudouin
Samuel J. Bradner
Kenneth Burnett
Joseph Caffey
John Chambers
Kathleen Connell
Gib Conover
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Dave Cunningham
Kristin A. DeKuiper
Dennis DiPrete
Dr. David Dooley
Stephen J. Farrell
Michael L. Friedman
Wilfred L. Gates
Junior Jabbie
Stanley J. Kanter
Jason E. Kelly
Basil Lee
Stephen M. Maiorisi
Gail McCann
Kelly Nickson Morris
Donald W. Powers
John A. Rupp
Richard Schartner
Lucie G. Searle
Deming E. Sherman
Pamela M. Sherrill
Julia Anne M. Slom
Jonathan F. Stone
Barbara van Beuren
Martha L. Werenfels

Directors Emeritus

Arnold "Buff" Chace

Louise Durfee, Esq.
Michael S. Hudner
Michael F. Ryan
W. Edward Wood


Scott Wolf

Executive Director

Sheila Brush

Director of Programs

John Flaherty

Director of Research & Communications

Leslie Denomme

Executive Assistant for Finance

Dorothy Dauray

Office Assistant

Lauren Pendergast

Training Coordinator


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  • A year of missed opportunities
  • The 2012 Rhode Island General Assembly adjourned at 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. While there were some modest wins for those who support a bold vision for advancing a sound and meaningful prosperity agenda, the session can largely be characterized as a missed opportunity to capitalize on our many assets.

    Here's a summary of outcomes.

    Join in the discussion on our blog.

    Economic Development

    State Historic Tax Credit

    H-7732, S-2269, S-2313
    A range of supporters worked with bill sponsors and the General Assembly leadership during the course of the session to arrive at a consensus bill that could enjoy broad support from many interests. However, as the General Assembly wound down [More]

    Municipal Economic Development Incentive Act

    H-7399 / S-2462
    This proposal called for amending the existing Property Tax Levy Cap law (RIGL 44-5-2) allowing municipalities to capture a portion of levy growth within locally designated and state-approved "growth centers" (or Main Street districts), provided that .. [More]

    Amending MED Zone Law (44-18-30.C)

    H-7453 / S-2633
    This existing law is intended to assist municipal officials of financially distressed communities in revitalizing deteriorated or blighted areas. The law allows qualified retailers in designated MED (Municipal Economic Development) Zones to charge of the existing sales and use tax ...[More]


    Transit Investment Act of 2012

    In 2011 and 2012 Grow Smart, in coordination with the Coalition for Transportation Choices, developed a responsible and sustainable funding plan for the Department of Transportation and RIPTA. Parts of the plan were enacted by the General Assembly in 2011 as the "Transportation Investment and Debt Reduction Act of 2011", but mass transit has repeatedly been ignored ... [More]

    Complete Streets Act

    H-7352 / S-2131
    This law, supported by RIDOT, now requires RIDOT to consider "Complete Streets" design concepts for all transportation construction and improvement projects and implement them whenever practical. These concepts promote the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users ... [More]

    Petroleum Savings & Independence Advisory Commission

    H-7261 / S-2186
    This law will create the 17-member Petroleum Savings & Independence Advisory Commission. The Commission is charged with creating a plan for reducing Rhode Island's total petroleum consumption that equals the ... [More]

    Vulnerable Road Users Act

    H-7463 / S-2214
    The Coalition for Transportation Choices (CTC), which Grow Smart co-chairs, endorsed this bill filed at the request of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition by state Sen. Susan Sosnowski and State Rep. Teresa Tanzi. Vulnerable road users include pedestrians, bicyclists, emergency responders ... [More]

    State Budget - Transportation

    Other transportation items of interest in the State Budget about which Grow Smart did not take a position include the transfer of the Sakonnet River Bridge to the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority, paving the way for tolling, which ... [More]

    Agriculture and Open Space

    Agriculture and Seafood Act

    H-7701 / S-2611
    The Governor signed into law the Rhode Island Agriculture and Seafood Act on RI Ag Day at the State House. The bill, which was a high priority for the Governor and RIDEM, is considered a major move forward for agricultural and seafood interests. The bill creates a ... [More]

    Ballot Question

    Under the budget adopted by the General Assembly, a $20 million "Environmental Management" bond will be placed on the November ballot as Question 4 for voter approval. The Environmental Management bond includes ... [More]


    Ballot Question

    The General Assembly also approved Governor Chafee's proposed $25 million housing bond referendum for the creation of long-term affordable homes.

    Other Housing initiatives passed as part of the State Budget approval include:

    The budget supports $800,000 for the Thresholds Program which helps provide homes for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness and disabilities.

    The budget also calls for the Office of the Attorney General to utilize $4 million of the $8.6 million in funds the Office will receive from the National Mortgage Servicers Settlement to work with Rhode Island Housing on the development and implementation of a foreclosure assistance program.

    Neighborhood Opportunities Program

    The budget requires Rhode Island Housing to continue some funding for the Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP) without providing compensating support for other Rhode Island Housing programs that may need to be cut to meet the agency's NOP obligations.

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