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Annual Legislative Conference


2011 Legislative Conference Legislative Conference Archives


RI SHRM 14th Annual Legislative and Employment Law Update

Luncheon Sponsored by Cornerstone Group


Presentations from the 2012 conference are available to members, click here.


Thursday March 22, 2012

8:00 AM — 4:30 PM

Registration and Breakfast begin at 7:30 AM

Providence Marriott Hotel

One Orms Street, Providence, RI

Reservations Due by March 18, 2012

RI SHRM’s informative and educational Annual Legislative & Employment Law conference will provide attendees with the latest update in federal and RI legislation that impacts HR professionals in the workplace as well as recent trends in labor and employment law. We also focus on how HR professionals can have a voice in shaping workplace legislation. It is jointly presented by the Rhode Island State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Human Resource Management Association of Rhode Island, and the Society for Human Resource Management Rhode Island Human Resource Chapter.

Featured Speakers and Program Summary

Mike Aitken, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management. Mike is dynamic speaker and always informed of the latest developments in Washington DC with responsibility for all SHRM National Governmental Affairs endeavors. Mike will provide a Federal update on many workplace legislative topics including the NLRB, Immigration Reform/Employment Verification,  EEOC developments and Health Care Reform.  


George Zainyeh, Chief of Staff to the Honorable Governor, Lincoln D. Chafee
George will present an update on the Governor’s agenda as well as share some of his experiences in effective advocacy practices at the federal, state and local levels. George has served in several public service roles, including Chief of Staff for United States Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Director of Constituent Affairs R I Secretary of State James Langevin's Office and State Representative, Deputy Majority Leader of the RI House of Representatives. George also has held leadership positions in several nonprofit organizations and holds a Masters Degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of RI. 

Joe Whelan, Esq., Partner, Whelan & Siket, LLC

An engaging speaker  and a favorite of the HR community, Joe’s practice is focused primarily in the areas of employment litigation, labor law, and commercial litigation. He represents clients in state and federal courts and agencies throughout New England in employment matters including executive compensation disputes, non- competition disputes, and matters involving employment-related statutes including Title VII, ADEA, the ADA, ERISA, FMLA and state equivalents and matters before the NLRB. Joe will provide an update on recent employment and labor law developments.  Joe will also join Helen Gage to help us sort out some of the differences and inconsistencies between important state and federal mandates.

Montserrat C. Miller, Esq.    
Partner, Arnall, Golden,Gregory LLP

Ms. Miller will discussupdates to I-9 compliance the "state of" E-Verify across the country,  the "new to rise" anti-discrimination/discrimination issues around permanent and legal residents as well as HR's role as it relates to compliance during a merger or acquisition.  With President Obama’s focus on employer compliance and ICE audits, Ms. Miller will offer tips to prepare you for a compliance audit.

Montserrat Miller is a Partner in the Immigration Compliance and Government Relations Practice Teams and is a member of the Firm's Diversity Committee. Over the past 15 years, Ms. Miller’s experience includes work in the public-sector, private practice and in the court room focusing her practice on providing clients, such as small business owners, major corporations, trade associations and various coalitions, with strategic advice and counseling. She represents clients on Capitol Hill and before government agencies, and she also assists clients with corporate employment verification compliance matters, including form I-9 compliance and the minimization of exposure and liabilities before government, administrative and regulatory agencies.

Helen Gage,Chief Labor Standards Examiner, RI Department of Labor and Training

Helen will discuss some of the key RI wage and hour issues, labor standards hearings and take questions from you!


Emerging Issues in Health Care: HR, Get Ready! 

What’s next? Considering the changing landscape, the legal challenges of health care reform and the continued rising costs, what can HR do to be prepared for 2012/2013?
A panel of experts will review the latest developments in healthcare reform including the status of the RI Healthcare Exchange and offer ideas and recommendation for employer sponsored health insurance plans. We are waiting confirmation on more panel experts who are scheduled to join us for this panel.  
We are very pleased that Barbara Morse Silva from NBC 10 will moderate our health care panel.  Barbara Morse Silva is one of the morning anchors on NBC 10 . She joined NBC 10 in June 1995 as a health reporter.  Prior to that, Barbara was the weekend general assignment reporter at WISH-TV in Indianapolis, a television news anchor/reporter at WLVI-TV in Boston, a general assignment reporter for WLNE-TV in Providence, a news reporter at WAND in Decatur, Ill., and at KOLD-TV in Tucson, Ariz.

Barbara has won many prestigious  awards and is very active in the community and with a number of nonprofit health organizations in our area.  Barbara graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications. Her full profile can be viewed at

Deborah Faulkner, Owner and Principal, Faulkner Consulting Group is an independent consultant with substantial health insurance expertise including Commercial and Medicaid benefit design; health insurance business models and market structure; and health plan financial structures.  Ms. Faulkner currently serves as Project Director for Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange Planning project, where she has been working with Rhode Island leadership over the past several months to develop a Rhode Island specific exchange strategy that best fits the state’s specific goals and objectives.

Amy Gallagher, Vice President, Major Accounts, Cornerstone Group advises large group employers throughout southern New England on long-term cost-containment strategies, often coupling consumer-driven products with results-driven wellness programs. Her special areas of expertise include health savings accounts and wellness consulting. Amy worked for three of New England's largest carriers in various sales and account management roles: United Healthcare of New England, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare of New England and Delta Dental of Rhode Island.


Ms. Monica Neronha is the Vice President of Legal Services at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and the company's expert on federal healthcare reform. In addition to leading efforts to implement the provisions of federal healthcare reform, she serves as a critical resource for key stakeholders, meeting with various groups to help them understand the law and prepare to enter the new healthcare environment.  Ms. Neronha is also responsible for the company's legal-related services including regulatory matters, government relations and special investigations. Ms. Neronha joined Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island in 2005.  She is a graduate of Vermont Law School.

G. Alan Kurose, M.D. is President and CEO of Coastal Medical, a medical service organization and the largest private primary care group practice in Rhode Island.  Coastal provides predominantly primary care, along with some specialty services, to 105, 000 patients in 18 medical offices across Rhode Island.   Dr. Kurose is a graduate of The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and completed the Brown University Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Rhode Island Hospital in 1991. Dr. Kurose practiced internal medicine for 20 years in East Providence, RI. until his appointment as full-time president and CEO of Coastal Medical in September of 2011. 


Presentation of the RI SHRM Public Servant Award


This award, sponsored by the RI-SHRM State Council, recognizes the outstanding contributions of a Public Servant who has promoted, sponsored, or initiated legislation that has demonstrated awareness of the value of involvement of human resource professionals in the legislative process and has affected positive changes in workplace legislation. 


Support our Heroes!

RI SHRM encourages employers to help get our veterans back to work. We are pleased that representatives from the “Employer Support of our Guards and Reserve” will be available to provide more information on how you can be proactive in hiring our Vets as well as details on “The Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits”.


RI Legislative Update 

Members of the RI SHRM Legislative Affairs Committee and our speakers will provide an update on the bills we are tracking and pending legislation in the General Assembly. Attendees will have the opportunity to voice their opinions and weigh in on RI SHRM’s Legislative Agenda.
We will do our best to assign you to a breakout group on pending legislation in the General Assembly that is of interest to you. Please select your two top choices from the following topics during the registration process: Health Care, Workers Compensation, Immigration Reform, Wage and Hour, Labor Relations, Workforce Development.



Registration Fees

SHRM/Chapter Members:  $95

Non-Members:  $120

Register at the Door:  $135

Students:  $40

Reservations Due by March 18, 2012

Please note our Cancellation Policy

All registrations cancelled by March 15 will be refunded at 100% less any processing fees. Registrations cancelled after that date will be billed at the conference rate. If you pre register and are unable to attend, you may substitute a colleague, however a higher rate may be charged depending on SHRM membership status.

SHRM/Chapter Members in transition may be eligible for a subsidy toward the conference fees; contact us for more information.

This session is pending credit for 6.75 recertification credit hours, including 1.25 Strategic Credit Hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). For more information about the HRCI certification or recertification, please visit the HRCI homepage at

Keeping checking back with us! We will update this page as our program is finalized.

For questions about the conference or RI SHRM’s Legislative Affairs Committee contact

Cindy Butler, Director Government Affairs, RI SHRM

We thank our generous sponsors for their support!

Platinum Sponsor:  

Gold Sponsor: Navigant Credit Union



Silver Sponsor: Transition Solutions


Silver Sponsor: CVS Caremark


Bronze Sponsor: United Way


 Bronze Sponsor:


Lunch Sponsor: Cornerstone Group


Presentations from the 2012 conference are available for members only, click here.