Rhode Island noncompete ban vetoed

Many of us were waiting with bated breath to see how the noncompete legislation in Rhode Island would play out this session.

Spoiler alert: It ended just as you would expect — with a veto of a bill proposing a full ban.

As you may remember, on June 17, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed a law creating an exemption for advanced practice registered nurses from Rhode Island’s noncompete law.

As you may also remember, three days later (June 20), the Legislature sent the Governor two bills to ban all noncompetes. Those bills would have rendered the law he just signed moot before it even took effect.

And it wasn’t like the legislature wasn’t considering both options, and have all of the bills, at the same time. They were and they did.

Yet, they sent the Governor the limited exception, got him to sign that into law, and then sent him the full ban. In what world does that make sense?

Not in Governor McKee’s world. He did the only sane thing: He vetoed it. (Technically, he vetoed two bills — one from the Senate and one from the House.)

Putting aside the ridiculous process that would have mooted brand new legislation just days after it was enacted, Governor McKee’s decision is consistent with the trend.

If you’re keeping tally, it’s three to one: three proposed bans have been vetoed and only one has passed.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Maine Governor Janet Mills, and now Governor McKee have all vetoed complete bans. Only Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz bought into the hype and signed a complete ban.

Next step: Will the Legislature override the veto? Do they have the votes? (Probably.) Do they have the time? (Probably not — unless they’ve already laid all the groundwork.) The session ends in three days. Crazier things have happened. 

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Firm resources: 

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*A huge thank you to Erika Hahn for all of her extraordinary help in tracking and monitoring all of the bills around the country and helping me make sure that all of our resources are current and accurate!