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Rhode Island’s Controversial Bill Raises Concerns of a “Test Run” for Other Democrat-led States

A recently passed bill in Rhode Island, spearheaded by Democratic Governor Daniel McKee, has sparked alarm among labor experts who view it as a “test run” for similar legislation in other Democrat-led states. The law imposes registration fees and privacy concerns on independent contractors and freelancers, eliciting strong negative reactions from workers. Critics argue that this legislation represents a state power grab and could have detrimental effects on small businesses and self-employed individuals.

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The Impact of Rhode Island’s Gig Worker Bill:

The passage of State Bill 427 in Rhode Island requires independent contractors to file a designation form annually and pay a $50 fee to the Department of Taxation. Failure to comply or reclassify as an employee could result in felony charges starting in January. New Jobs America President Mike Hruby describes the law as a barrier to entry for independent contractors who contribute significantly to the small business workforce in Rhode Island.

Privacy Concerns and Anticompetitive Issues:

One particularly contentious provision of the bill is the creation of a public and searchable database that discloses the relationship between contractors and the businesses hiring them. Experts warn that this could infringe upon individual privacy rights, as personal information such as date of birth and address would be publicly available. Additionally, the database raises concerns about client poaching and intimidation, potentially providing labor unions with a tool to target opponents of their causes.

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Consequences for Independent Contractors:

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Labor experts predict that many independent contractors will struggle to meet the filing deadline, resulting in a decrease in the number of self-employed individuals in Rhode Island. This could lead to some workers relocating their families and businesses to other states. The added regulatory burden and potential consequences of non-compliance are seen as significant challenges that could discourage individuals from maintaining their independent contractor status.

Broader Implications and Future Concerns:

Critics view Rhode Island’s bill as a test case for similar legislation in other Democrat-led states, raising concerns about the potential impact on independent contractors and freelancers nationwide. The negative repercussions for small businesses, individual privacy, and the overall economy are seen as reasons to closely monitor the developments in Rhode Island and take measures to prevent similar bills from being enacted elsewhere.


Rhode Island’s gig worker bill has ignited fears among labor experts that it could serve as a model for other Democrat-led states, potentially creating obstacles for independent contractors and freelancers. The imposition of registration fees, privacy concerns, and the creation of a public database have drawn strong criticism. The consequences on small businesses, individual privacy, and the economy at large underscore the need for careful evaluation and consideration of the long-term effects of such legislation.

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