Celebrating more than 50 years of representing our vibrant and economically-important industry, the Rhode Island Hospitality Association (RIHA) is the official trade and educational organization of Rhode Island’s hospitality, tourism, lodging, private club and restaurant industries.
With a membership more than 800 strong, RIHA continues to be the leading voice of our industry, advocating for our members in important legislative matters and working hard to create an equitable business climate; we are lobbyists, educators, and emerging-workforce trainers.
As many of you know, we have had several difficult years battling against legislation on the $15 minimum wage, the elimination of the Rhode Island tip credit, preemptive scheduling, and a bevy of legislation backed by out-of-state special interest groups. In 2019, we successfully fought against several pieces of legislation that were incredibly damaging to our industry. But, the fight is only getting harder. As Massachusetts and Connecticut legislators continue to institute laws that make our industry harder to operate in, Rhode Island’s legislature will continue to push an agenda to be on par with our neighboring states.
Each legislative session, we watch hundreds of bills on Smith Hill that could potentially affect our industry and we narrow our resources to those that we find most egregious based on the common interests of our membership. I cannot tell you how many calls I get from members and non-members alike who are angry or upset that some pieces of legislation get voted through. Largely, the calls are from folks who have watched from the sidelines, convinced that RIHA and a small, core group will be able to just make it all go away.
2020 is a year of the reality check. We know many of the most problematic anti-industry pieces of legislation will return. We cannot defeat it all and we need our membership to show up in force and to show legislators that we are an industry that is vocal, that cares, and that will not go down without a fight.
At RIHA, our staff is ready to give it our all. We ask that you also do your part in 2020 to help and protect our industry. Remember, Monday morning quarterbacking is neither a strategy nor a solution. Together, we can and will make a difference to ensure the vitality, strength and prominence of our industry for years to come.
Wishing you a fantastic year ahead.
Dale J. Venturini