Cottage Food Law Updates, How to Get The RI Child Tax Credit, & More
Hello Neighbor - Though Labor Day is just around the corner, I'm looking forward to the beauty that September in our area brings. This week I have information about how to vote in the upcoming 09/13 Primary Election, how to apply for free and reduced lunch for the upcoming school year, and how to file for your 2022 RI Child Tax Credit up top, followed by an update on the new opportunity for home food manufacturers to make and sell food in Rhode Island, what's been on my calendar recently, and an update on my campaign for re-election. As the November election draws closer, I look forward to hearing from you about the issues that are most important to you right now, and sharing my thoughts for solutions to some of the problems I see facing our community. As always, please reach out at any time to make sure wec onnect! Take care,
Community Programs & Assistance
How to Vote in the 09/13 Primary Election:
By Mail: If you sent in a Mail Ballot Application, your Mail Ballot will be sent to you once your application is received and you can complete it and return it either by mail or at one of the many Mail Ballot Drop Boxes (located at the Town Halls in NK, New Shoreham, and Narragansett, as well as other locations!) by the time polls close on 09/13 for it to count. You can also track the status of your application and ballot online at the Secretary of State's website. If you plan to Vote Early, In-Person you can do so starting Wednesday 08/24 through Monday 09/12 at the Town Hall in the municipality where you live. Bring your ID, complete your ballot, and put it right into the machine just like on Election Day! If you plan to vote on Election Day, use this link to check your polling place (sometimes it's different for the Primary) and view a sample ballot so you can research your candidates before you go on 09/13.
Apply For Free or Reduced School Lunch
For the last few years the Federal government has ensured all public school children could have lunch free of charge, but unfortunately that program is not continuing, and we have not yet made this a standard practice in Rhode Island.
To apply for free or reduced school lunch, follow the below link for your town:
2022 Child Tax Rebate Information:
In this year's budget we ensured that Rhode Island taxpayers may be eligible for a one-time Child Tax Rebate payment of $250 per child up to a maximum of three children (maximum $750). In order to be eligible for the Child Tax Rebate please remember to file your tax year 2021 Personal Income Tax Return by August 31, 2022 or, if you have filed an extension, by the extended filing due date of October 17, 2022. See this page for eligibility and other information. 1. Status of Regulations for Home Food Manufacturers (AKA The Cottage Foods Law) This past session we created a pathway for home food makers to legally make and sell shelf-stable foods if they follow regulations set by the Rhode Island Department of Health. We were the last state to create this opportunity for people to start a home food business with few cost or other barriers. The advocates accomplished so much in shaping these regulations, and I was proud to work with my colleagues in government to ensure we got this right and got it done this year.
The next step is that the Rhode Island Department of Health has written up the regulations and sent them to the Office of Regulatory Reform for review. Once they are finalized by ORR, the Rhode Island Department of Health will post the proposed regulations for Public Comment for a 30-day period (I'll update when they are posted!) After that period is over, the regulations have to sit for 20 days before going into effect. The target timeline right now is for the Public Comment period to start in early September, and for the regulations and application process to be live by 11/01! I will continue to update as the process moves forward, but please share this information with any home food makers you know! 2. What's Been on My Calendar?
Some of my calendar highlights for August have been:
A meeting with the Narragansett Chief of Police, Town Manager, and Town Council President to discuss E-bike safety, housing issues, and what their priorities are for the upcoming General Assembly session
A Child Care Commission meeting where we discussed our upcoming October summit to set goals for the new session
Narragansett own Democratic Committee Meeting
Wickford Harbor Lights, supporting an NK resident's fundraiser for the American Cancer Society
A public candidate forum with Students 4 Change
A bill signing for the Psychologist Interjurisdictional Compact and other mental health access bills
A meeting with the Block Island Medical Center to understand their unique needs and how we can better support them
Consulting with the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management on the status of implementing new laws and regulations
An EarlyChildhood Education Leadership Summit with legislators and government agency staff from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and DC to learn from each other and set goals for Rhode Island
3. Campaign Updates
The changes in District 36 due to redistricting means I have several thousand new households to reach in my campaign before 11/08. While I can cover a lot of ground on foot going door-to-door, having a letter land in their mailbox to introduce myself and let them know about the work I have done in the Senate is really helpful. In addition, I need to update the people I have been representing for the past two years on how I have been working for them up at the State House. All these things take money - for informational cards to hand out at doors, for printing letters, and for the postage to send them ($.60 X thousands of letters = quite a lot!) I run a lean campaign and do as much myself as I can, but there are still necessary costs to communicating with voters so they can make an informed choice on Election Day. If you are receiving this and want to make sure to keep a champion for Rhode Islanders through their lifespan, clean air and water, education, safe communities, and access to healthcare representing District 36 in the Rhode Island Senate, please consider making a donation of any size through this link orby sending a check to: Friends of Alana DiMario 47 Tupelo Trail Narragansett, RI 02882 It is so appreciated, and I will put it to good use. It has been an honor to represent our community, and I am eager to have the chance to continue working for us for another term! Photo of the Week
Last week I was honored to represent the Senate at the bill signing for a package of Mental Health Bills at Thrive Behavioral Health in Warwick. At the event I spoke about the impact of these bills expanding telehealth services across state lines for psychologists, funding designs for suicide protection for our bridges, and implementing statewide responses for mental health crises through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and the 9-8-8 crisis hotline, you can hear and read more here. I'm sharing this picture both because of the importance of these life-saving bills, and also because that's my youngest child right there behind the Governor. My reality of serving in the Senate is that I am a mother when I'm a Senator, and also a Senator when I'm a mother. While this comes with some challenges, I believe that each role I serve in makes me better at the other one. (What my kids think about that is yet to be determined!)