On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

Quite the busy week in Rhode Island politics, with RhodeWorks sprinting through the legislature. Thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Rhode Island’s New England neighbors are moving aggressively forward with legalizing marijuana. RIPR political analyst says the Ocean State shouldn’t be last to tap a new source of state money. (Advance copy for airing Monday).

Whatever you think about legal marijuana, it is difficult to defend the current prohibition of the weed. Four decades of the war on drugs has been as abject a failure as the early 20th Century ban on alcohol.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) on Friday called for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to launch a House Oversight investigation into whether the state Department of Transportation pressured state reps to support the new truck toll law ahead of the House vote earlier this week.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Almost nine months after unveiling the initial version of her infrastructure proposal, Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday signed into law a revised version of RhodeWorks that will trigger new tolls on big trucks on Rhode Island highways.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After seven hours of often sharp debate, the House of Representative on Wednesday voted, 52-21, to approve the revised version of Governor Gina Raimondo's plan to fix the state's crumbling infrastructure through new tolls on big trucks. 

New Hampshire Public Radio

The only sure element of the 2016 presidential sweepstakes, in the aftermath of the New Hampshire primary , is that both Democrats and Republicans now face long nominating battles.

The party elites hate this – short and sweet nominating contests work best for them. Long campaigns drain money and effort away from the general election and create internecine jousts. That doesn’t mean, as in the Democratic battle of 2008, that the primary wounds can’t be healed, but it does take time.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The revised bill to fix Rhode Island's crumbling bridges through new tolls on big trucks appears head to fast final passage before the end of the week, despite warnings from critics who see the plan as a threat to the state's economy.

On a 14-4 vote, House Finance Committee approved the so-called RhodeWorks bill. Rep. Ray Hull (D-Providence) joined three committee Republicans, Patricia Morgan of West Warwick, Daniel Reilly of Portsmouth, and Anthony Giarrusso of East Greenwich, in opposing the measure.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Thousands of admirers of Buddy Cianci streamed to City Hall Saturday and Sunday, during a two-day public wake, to pay their respects to the storied former mayor of Providence.

Rick Simone, a former Cianci aide, estimated that 3,500 people turned out by mid-afternoon Sunday, about the same number that came to see the former mayor lying in respose during six hours on Saturday.

Budget. Truck Tolls. Presidential Politics. It's all going on, so thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Mourners can pay respects to the late Buddy Cianci at City Hall on Saturday and Sunday (Feb 6 and 7). His body will lie in repose at City Hall from noon to 6 p.m. both days. Those wishing to pay respects should enter via the Washington Street City Hall entrance.

The debate over Governor Gina Raimondo's proposal to use truck tolls to pay for fixing Rhode Island's troubled bridges resumed in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

State DOT director Peter Alviti touted the plan known as RhodeWorks as a way to upgrade bridges, promote safety for drivers, and create jobs.

"As a native Rhode Islander, as a civil engineer, I ask that you approve this plan and allow us to bring the many talents of our Rhode Island workforce to bear in fixing our infrastructure," Alviti said.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo unveiled a $9 billion budget Tuesday night, touting it as a way to grow Rhode Island's economy while making the state more hospitable to business.

John Bender / RIPR

Billy Reynolds, the longtime Providence Journal columnist who is one of the nation’s very best basketball writers, has written a remarkable new book entitled Hope: A School, A Team, A Dream.

Attracting business, boosting the skills of workers, and improving Rhode Island's business climate are expected to be among the focal points of Governor Gina Raimondo's second budget proposal.

The governor will unveil her spending plan at 7 pm Tuesday during the annual State of the State address

The inimitable Buddy Cianci passes from the Rhode Island scene, making waves even after his death. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

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