2013 -- H 6296
A N A C T
RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT -- DEPARTMENT OF
Introduced By: Representative Arthur Handy
Date Introduced: June 26, 2013
It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 23-84-3 of the General Laws in Chapter 23-84 entitled "The Rhode
Island Climate Risk Reduction Act of 2010" is hereby amended to read as follows:
an independent a commission
known as "The Rhode Island Climate Change
Commission" consisting of
twenty-nine (29) members as follows: three (3) of
whom shall be members of the senate, to be appointed by the senate president, not more than two
(2) from the same political party; three (3) of whom shall be members of the house of
representatives, to be appointed by the speaker of the house not more than two (2) from the same
political party; one of whom shall be the director of the department of environmental
management, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the executive director of the coastal
resources management council, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the director of the
department of transportation, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the chair of the Rhode
Island bays, rivers, and watersheds coordination team; one of whom shall be the director of the
of the water resources board, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the director of the
division of planning, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the state building
commissioner, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the
director of the
emergency management agency, or his or her designee; two (2) of whom shall represent
municipal governments of coastal municipalities one appointed by the senate president and one
appointed by the speaker of the house; two (2) of whom shall be representatives of environmental
non-profit organizations, appointed by the environment council
shall be representatives of business, one designated by the
commerce and one designated by the
whom shall be representatives of higher education institutions, one appointed by the board of
governors for higher education and one appointed by the association of independent colleges and
company having greater than one hundred thousand (100,000) customers to be appointed by the
senate president; one of whom shall be the executive
director of the
association, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the executive director of the Rhode
Island builders association, or his or her designee; one of whom shall be the executive director of
the American institute of architects of
one of whom
shall represent the medical profession, including, but not limited to, a doctor or nurse, to be
appointed by the speaker of the house; and one of whom shall be the director of the department of
administration, or his or her designee, who shall serve as the chair..
(b) The purposes of the commission shall be to study the projected impacts of climate
impacts in order to reduce likely harm and increase economic and ecosystem sustainability, and
to identify potential mechanisms to mainstream climate adaptation into existing state and
municipal programs including, but not limited to, policies plans, infrastructure development and
(c) The commission shall support its purposes by undertaking the following duties
including but not limited to:
(1) Recommending how to mainstream climate change, using a climate "lens", into
existing state and local programs, policies and standards, and identify potential options to
incorporate adaptation strategies.
(2) Compiling existing studies, research and programs relevant to climate change trends
and potential impacts in
(3) Conducting a
comprehensive overview of the risks
of rising air and water temperatures and sea level, increased storminess, and more intense
droughts and rainfall events.
(4) Investigating the vulnerability of critical roads, bridges, protection infrastructure such
as hurricane barriers, dams, and revetments, and public facilities such as hospitals, schools,
sewage treatment plants, parks and beaches and other critical utilities to sea level rise, increased
flooding and extended extreme summer heat.
(5) Exploring potential changes to floodplains and ways to notify homeowners, renters
and commercial property owners of not only a property's flooding history but also its expected
risk under projected levels of climate change and sea level rise.
(6) Assessing ecosystem impacts such as salt marshes, forests, and urban tree canopy and
researching tree and plant species that will be most resilient to climate change expected in Rhode
Island, as well as ways to secure additional funding to support the expansion of urban tree canopy
to thirty percent (30%).
(7) Identifying potential ecosystem based adaptation options where conservation or
restoration of natural ecosystems can provide key ecosystems services by minimizing risks and
hazards from flooding and drought cycles.
(8) Identifying ways to increase Rhode Islanders' access to critical community health
services that are expected to become more important as a result of projected climate impacts.
(9) Investigating potential impacts from non-point source pollution due to hydrological
changes including stormwater runoff options for the Phase 2 Narragansett Bay Commission's
Combined Sewer Overflow project, and implementing small-scale projects such as increasing the
percentage of pervious surfaces in residential areas such as yards and gardens.
(10) Exploring possibilities to make funds or low interest loans available for
governmental entities, non-profit entities and businesses to implement adaptation strategies,
including green infrastructure projects on their properties, including green roofs, walls, and
(11) Investigating possibilities to expand energy efficiency and weatherization programs
as an adaptation option.
(12) Reviewing, among other things, existing local ordinances, provisions adopted by
associations, deed restrictions, covenants, declarations or similar binding agreements, which
prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines,
weatherization improvements, gardens or other energy devices based on renewable resources and
proposing alternatives that would eliminate said prohibitions and authorize these types of uses as
climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies for local implementation.
(13) Reviewing possibilities to amend regulations to allow street parking to reduce
impervious surfaces in urban areas and runoff.
(14) Investigating how to support local agriculture including urban community gardens,
and encouraging municipalities to foster neighborhood gardens in empty lots and parks.
(15) Developing a plan to expand access to cooling and relief centers by extending hours
at libraries, community centers and opening pools to the public.
(16) Identifying examples and options for outreach and communication on climate
change and adaptation options and recommending opportunities for coordinated outreach
One senator and
one representative appointed to the commission shall serve as co- chairs and shall call the first meeting of the commission. Vacancies shall be filled in like manner
as the original appointment. The membership of the commission shall receive no compensation
for their services. All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and
information, documentary and otherwise, to the commission and its agents as is deemed
necessary or desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this chapter. The joint
committee on legislative services is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters
for the commission.
(e) The commission shall provide a report of its findings and recommendations to the
governor and the general assembly no later than March 1, 2011, and every March 1 thereafter.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.