Legislative Agenda 2024

Social Work Professional Practice

  • Interstate Compact for Social Work *NEW*: H7350 Rep. Justine Caldwell S2184 Sen. DiMario: Increase public access to social work services by providing licensees with opportunities for multistate practice, support relocating military families, enhance public protection abilities, and allow for expanded use of telehealth technologies
  • Loan Forgiveness: H8048 Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith S2591 Sen. Alana DiMario: Provides a state program to offset burdensome loan repayment benefitting social workers working with older adults, children, vulnerable populations
  • Pay Equity for Clinical Social Workers: Increase reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers over a five-year period. The minimum increase per year would be 4%, resulting in a total increase of 23.4%.

Children and Families

  • Improve Child Mental Health by Increasing Access to School Social Workers: Staffing: H7545 Rep. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith S2597 Sen. Sosnowksi: Require all public schools in grades kindergarten through 12 to have at least one full-time licensed school social worker for every 250 students. 
  • Budget Request for Funding: Appropriates $2,000,000 for FY-2023 for school social workers. This appropriation is necessary to fund the ratio requirement.

Economic Justice and Housing

  • Payday Lending Reform: H7211 Rep. Karen Alzate S2141 Sen. Ana Quezada: Caps interest rate on payday loans at 36%, down from 260%.
  • Tenant Rights and Rental Assistance
  • Healthy School Meals for All: H7400 Rep. Justine Caldwell S2046 Sen. Jonathan Acosta S2320 Sen. Sandra Cano: Requires free lunches to be provided for all elementary and secondary students attending public schools.
  • Revenue for Rhode Island: H7338 Rep. Karen Alzate S2355 Sen. Melissa Murray: Would impose a millionaires tax on highest 1% of income earners to fund core programs like education, transportation, and state services. Similar initiative to “Millionaires Tax” that passed by ballot initiative in MA in 2022.

Health and Mental Health Care Access

  • The Shield Act: H7577 Rep. Jay Edwards S2262 Sen. Dawn Euer: This act would create a protective legal shield for healthcare providers, precluding any civil or criminal action by other states or persons against healthcare providers involving persons seeking access to transgender health care services and reproductive healthcare services provided in this state.
  • Expand Eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program: Would expand Medicare premium assistance and cost-sharing to as many as 75,000 low and moderate-income elders in RI, Protect our Health Care Coalition top tier bill.
  • Fully Fund Rate Reform Budget Campaign: Last year, the state reformed Medicaid and funded the improvements with an additional $80M. However, this is only half the amount of what it will actually cost, which is $160M. The campaign to fully fund rate reform seeks to address this revenue disparity by adding the necessary funds.

For more information on the NASW-RI Legislative Agenda, please be in touch with Executive Director, Rebekah Gewirtz at rgewirtz.naswma@socialworkers.org or Amy Tenenbaum at intern1.naswri@socialworkers.org.

RI Statehouse

Our Policy and Advocacy Committee has worked long and hard to put together our Legislative Agenda for 2024.