News

The end of the General Assembly session is coming into sight, summer beckons, and the politics beat remains frenetic. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island is all atwitter about General Assembly grants. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay says it is time for some measured study of the pros and cons of these legislative perks.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon hosts our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line. Co-Host Mark Murphy, editor of Providence Business News, will return next week.

This week, Dave hears about the impact of parking meters on Thayer Street, the major commercial strip near Brown University. A leading critic of the meters, Ken Dulgarian, owner of the Avon Cinema and other properties, says they are devastating local businesses.

When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50 p.m.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Warwick native Lara Salamano has been hired as the state’s new chief marketing officer

Salamano graduated from URI in 1992. According to her LinkedIn profile, Salamano has worked in marketing for MTV Networks and Viacom, among other companies. Her profile said she has worked since August 2013 as vice president/partner marketing for for the Pop/CBS/Lionsgate partnership.

Elisabeth Harrison

In the aftermath of the sex abuse scandal at St. George's School, Rhode Island lawmakers are considering legislation that would close a loophole in the state’s mandatory child abuse reporting law.

The loophole, first reported by Rhode Island Public Radio, seems to allow schools and other institutions to avoid reporting abuse allegations against their employees. 

Caterpillars Flourish Across The State

Jun 10, 2016
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Caterpillars feasting on oak and other hardwood trees are defoliating wooded areas and backyards across the state.

Heather Faubert, a plant specialist at the University of Rhode Island, attributes this year’s infestation to a drought last May. She said diseases usually keep caterpillar numbers low.

“But when we had the driest May on record, those diseases weren’t spread until it really started to rain. And by that time, the caterpillars had advanced, matured, and then those females laid eggs,” said Faubert.

Those eggs survived over the winter.

Budget Holds New Debt Tools

Jun 10, 2016
Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

State treasurer Seth Magaziner said that the measures included in the new budget will do more than just fund a new debt management study. They will also provide much needed controls over the many different city and state organizations that are able to borrow money using taxpayer dollars.

"It will allow us to make sure that when, not only the state, but cities and towns and districts are issuing debt they’re doing it efficiently and using best practices and getting the best possible rates and the lowest possible fees."

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner stopped by our studio to discuss a broad range of issues, including the performance of the state pension fund, municipal pensions, the Burrillville power plant proposal, his political future, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss news about General Electric bringing jobs to Rhode Island; why better management of public debt matters; and changes made this week by legislative leaders to one of two General Assembly grant programs.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Gaspee Days Speech as Prepared for Delivery
June 9, 2016

There is much to like in what appears to be a reasonable Rhode Island House budget proposal  for the state fiscal year that begins on July 1st. There were goodies for business, beach-goers, retirees on pensions and small business.

But one neglected area is those who work long hours at minimum wage jobs. The budget does modestly increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which helps working families, but it does not raise the minimum wage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

General Electric is slated to bring hundreds of jobs to Rhode Island for a new GE digital information technology center, starting with 100 in the near future.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Lawmakers in the Rhode Island House of Representatives easily approved legislation related to the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board and to tax treaties with electricity-generating facilities in Burrillville. But some lawmakers in the state Senate were not as receptive to the bill.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

With more than $1 million in her campaign account, Governor Gina Raimondo is getting a boost Wednesday evening from one of the nation's wealthiest families.

Diana Taylor, the longtime significant other of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Bloomberg's oldest daughter, Emma Bloomberg, are co-hosting a Manhattan fundraiser for Raimondo, RIPR has learned.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Medical marijuana advocates are praising the House Finance committee for changes to the state’s medical marijuana program, including the reduction of a steep new fee on marijuana plants.

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