Rhode Island State House

Sen. William J. Conley Jr. and Sen. Dawn Euer have introduced legislation to provide financial protections to Rhode Islanders who have gone unpaid as a result of the federal government shutdown.

The bills are intended to prevent federal employees in the state from loan foreclosure and default as a result of unpaid wages.

Senator Euer’s bill would allow several protections for federal employees who are furloughed as a result of a government shutdown, suspending their obligations to make payments on credit accounts, mortgages or rents for their primary residences, and installment contracts such as for vehicles or insurance premiums. It would also provide them a stay or postponement of all civil proceedings in civil or district court.

“Nobody should lose their home or their car or go into default on their student loans as a result of this shutdown. Employees are either locked out or have been working without pay, and this financial hardship is no fault of theirs. Just as we afford similar protections to deployed service members, we should protect those who are going unpaid because of the shutdown from long-term financial consequences,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) in a prepared statement.

Senator Conley’s bill would serve as enabling legislation allowing municipalities in the state to pass their own ordinances to provide relief from local tax obligation for furloughed federal workers. It provides broad leeway for cities and towns to choose the sort of relief they wish to provide and its extent.

“Third-quarter tax payments are coming up, and hundreds of Rhode Islanders are without the pay they expected. Fortunately, there are many people in our communities who want to help them. This bill would allow cities and towns around the state to do just that, in whatever way works best for them, whether that’s a grace period, waiving penalties or something else. Our communities have reached out to us asking what they can do, and this will give them the flexibility to help in the way that they determine suits their needs,” said Senator Conley (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) said in a prepared statement.

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