The following is from a State House press release:
Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist.70, Portsmouth, Tiverton) has submitted a bill aimed at reducing the burden on cities and towns to comply with state mandates if they do not have enough funding.
Reps. Daniel Patrick Reilly (R-Dist. 72, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth), Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Jon D. Brien (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket) and Scott J. Guthrie (D-Dist. 28, Coventry) are co-sponsoring the bill (2012-H 7073).
“Our communities can no longer afford to overstretch their resources in order to comply with state mandates,” said Edwards. “We need some sort of compromise in place until the cities and towns are on better financial footing.”
During any given fiscal year when state reimbursements to local communities and school districts are “insufficient to cover the costs of state mandates,” those affected may cease implementation of state mandates at their discretion up to 50 percent of the value of the reimbursement shortfall.
The Department of Revenue would ultimately make the determination if a city, town or school district did not have sufficient funds to cover the costs of those mandates.
If enacted, those looking to cease implementation of those mandates would have to be in good standing with existing personnel contracts or renegotiate to the satisfaction of both parties. Affected parties would also go in with the understanding that implementation of state mandates must be restored upon the full restoration of state reimbursements.