ACLU/Human Rights Watch

African Americans in Rhode Island are disproportionately affected by drug laws, according to new report from the American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit Human Rights Watch.

The numbers – culled from national 2014 law enforcement data – show black residents in Rhode Island are nearly three times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white residents.

According to ACLU of Rhode Island’s policy analyst Hillary Davis, that’s despite an overall drop in arrests for drug crimes in the state.

Googie Man / Creative Commons

Curt Schilling said Tuesday he was surprised to learn in 2010 that most of state reps voting on a $125 million job development program were unaware that a big chunk of the money was "earmarked" for 38 Studios.

Do you and a close friend or family member disagree about the presidential election? How do you handle conversations at the dinner table or the hardware store when they turn political? What about social media? We want to hear from you! Email your stories of the 2016 presidential race to


Our Rhody Votes 2016 coverage continues, with a look at Ballot Question 2, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission Amendment. It asks voters whether to restore the Commission’s jurisdiction over General Assembly members. 

Public Doman

Here’s what’s happening in health in Rhode Island:

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Critics of Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson are gathering signatures in an attempt to knock him out of office.

Signatures of 20 percent of the registered voters in Jackson’s Ward 3 district need to be gathered within 120 days days to trigger a recall election.

Jackson is accused of making personal use of campaign contributions and embezzling more than $127,000 from a youth sports organization. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court in December.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

  Governor Gina Raimondo is trying to curb long wait times and system problems after the roll out of a new human services computer system.

Raimondo has directed Department of Human Services field offices to remain open longer two days a week to deal with long wait times.

She has also asked the consulting firm that helped build the new human services computer system, Deloitte, to send additional staff to help troubleshoot – at no additional cost.

Kristin Gourlay

Major health care systems Care New England in Rhode Island and Southcoast Health in Massachusetts say they will end their affiliation plans. The move comes after months of talks about joining forces to create one of the largest systems in the region. In a statement, officials from both organizations say they believe their vision for a combined system could no longer be achieved.  

Regulators in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island had already been reviewing legal documents filed in support of the affiliation. They have been notified of the organizations’ plans.

Adam Levine/Brown University / Watson Institute

Humanitarian crises are multiplying around the globe, but a Brown University researcher says we could be responding in a more rigorous way. Emergency medicine doctor Adam Levine will head the new Humanitarian Innovation Initiative at Brown’s Watson Institute. He says academic researchers need to partner with humanitarian aid providers.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A shellfishing ban in Narragansett Bay has been lifted ahead of schedule. All conditional areas were closed over the weekend and will reopen today at noon. 

The ban was put in place more than a week ago when the water tested positive for a toxic algae. The bay and its tributaries were closed to shellfishing while the state tested the water and shellfish for the toxin domoic acid. Since then samples collected from the area have tested negative.

The state departments of health and environmental management will continue to collect and analyze samples twice a week. 

Win For Unmarried Parents In Mass. Supreme Court

Oct 17, 2016
By Swampyank at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,

In Massachusetts, both members of any un-married couple can now be considered parents of their children, even if only one is a biological parent. That's the result of a unanimous ruling from the Bay State's highest court. Reporter Fred Thys from WBUR explains:

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A new sobering center opens next month at a homeless shelter in Providence. It’s a place where inebriated people who would typically be brought to the emergency room can safely sober up. It's meant to save money and guide those patients toward recovery.

Curt Schilling took to the op-ed page of The Providence Journal Sunday to renew his argument that former Governor Lincoln Chafee bears a large part of the responsibility for the failure of 38 Studios in 2012.

Your humble correspondent is back on the beat after taking most of last week off. So thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and your can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Politicians love to say that elections matter. Except when some of them don’t like the results. RIPR Political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why two veteran Democratic lawmakers won’t accept their primary defeats.