In line with the Commission’s chartered functions to protect and expand constituents’ rights to fair housing, financial inclusion, credit, education and employment free from discrimination, the Providence Human Relations Commission has been proud to advocate for a number of bills heard by the Rhode Island General Assembly this year, aimed at expanding the civil, economic, and human rights of individuals living in Providence. Please see below for a summary of each.
(H5137)(S0331) AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY — FAIR HOUSING PRACTICES
H5137 Bill Text | H5137 Letter of Support | H5137 Bill Progress | S0331 Bill Text | S0331 Letter of Support | S0331 Bill Progress
The passage of H5137/S0331 would prohibit discrimination against tenants using lawful non-employment income, such as social security, housing vouchers, alimony, etc. towards rent payments in non-owner-occupied residences. Stigma against tenants as a function of the source of their income reinforces racialized patterns of homelessness and segregation in our communities.
(H5075)(S0322) AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY — RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT
H5075 Bill Text | H5075 Letter of Support | H5075 Bill Progress | S0322 Bill Text | S0322 Letter of Support | S0322 Bill Progress
The passage of H5075/S0322 would protect tenants who were wrongfully evicted by sealing their eviction records. Ensuring that tenants are not discriminated against for taking lawful action against their landlords in cases of discrimination or retaliation is a critical step in building a housing system that is safe, just, and accessible.
(H6022)(S0594) AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION — TAX SALES
H6022 Bill Text | H6022 Letter of Support | H6022 Bill Progress | S0594 Bill Text | S0594 Letter of Support | S0594 Bill Progress
The passage of H6022/S0594 would allow RI Housing to petition for foreclosure one year after purchasing a property during tax sale, if the property has been foreclosed on or abandoned. This would allow blighted housing to re-enter the market sooner, promoting neighborhood stability and expanding access to safe, affordable housing that is at a critical low in our state.
(H5863)(S0610) AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS – LICENSING
H5863 Bill Text | H5863 Letter of Support | H5863 Progress | S0610 Bill Text | S0610 Letter of Support | S0594 Bill Progress
In Rhode Island, 66% of licensed jobs have some form of conviction-based barrier built into the license application process. The passage of H5863/S0610 would expand opportunity for constituents routinely denied access to gainful employment when re-entering our communities.
(H5839) AN ACT RELATING TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE — EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS
H5839 Bill Text | H5839 Letter of Support | H5839 Bill Progress
The passage of H5839 would allow courts discretion to grant expungements for certain offenses, allowing formerly-incarcerated Rhode Islanders to avoid the myriad of “prison penalties” that deny them access to employment, housing, and public assistance upon re-entering our communities.
(H5105) AN ACT RELATING TO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS — PAYDAY LOANS
H5105 Bill Text | H5105 Letter of Support | H5105 Bill Progress
The passage of H5105 would cap payday loan interest rates, extend loan periods, permit monthly payments of loans, and limit fees, protecting constituents from predatory practices that disproportionately affect low-income communities of color. Currently, payday loan APRs can exceed 300%, and feature spiraling rollover fees that quickly surpass the principals of these loans.
(S0231) AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY — IMMIGRATION STATUS
S0231 Bill Text | S0231 Letter of Support | S0231 Bill Progress
The passage of S0231 would prohibit a landlord from asking about the immigration status of a tenant or occupant, safeguarding residents from discrimination as a function of their country of origin or non-citizen status.