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.

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On Politics
5:15 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Raimondo PILOT Cuts to Providence, Cranston Not Happening

Gov. Gina  Raimondo’s first budget proposes stripping about $2.5 million in state Payments-in-lieu of Taxes aid from Providence city government and another $1.1 million in such payments from Cranston. If you believe the General Assembly is going to allow these cuts you probably believe in the Easter Bunny.

Raimondo’s problem: The communities being hit on this one happen to be home to two of the most influential state lawmakers –House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston, and House Majority Leader John DeSimone, D-Providence.

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On Politics
4:14 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Elorza: Strip Shark Bar Of Liquor License

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has filed a petition requesting that the city licensing board declare that all licenses held by the Shark Bar & Grille on Thayer Street near Brown University be declared void.

The mayor’s reasoning comes as no surprise because owners of the Shark paid a $52,000 in bribe in 2008 to former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who at the time was vice-chair of the Providence Board of Licenses. After the bribe was paid, the Shark obtained a liquor license despite opposition from East Side residents and Brown officials.

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On Politics
4:28 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

TGIF: 16 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

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Happy Budget Week, and thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week long on the twitters. Let's get to it.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
4:22 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Scott MacKay Commentary: Raimondo's Budget Politics

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has proposed her first state budget. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looks at the politics of our new governor’s taxing and spending plan.

It’s difficult to argue with the rhetoric behind our new governor’s $8.6 billion budget plan. In her televised address from the Statehouse last Thursday evening, Raimondo outlined her goals in a convincing fashion, hitting all the high notes.  Her smorgasbord of ideas provides a little something for everyone.

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On Politics
10:38 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Raimondo Unveils $8.6 Billion "Jobs" Budget; Assumptions Include $90M in Medicaid Savings

Raimondo makes her way to the House rostrum before delivering her budget address.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday touted her $8.6 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 as a plan that will begin the rejuvenation of Rhode Island's economy.

At the same time, some parts of the spending plan rely on uncertainties, including $46 million in unspecified Medicaid savings and the wiping out of millions of dollars in un-budgeted pay hikes promised to state employees during the Chafee administration.

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On Politics
7:18 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Raimondo's Budget Challenge: Eliminate $190M Deficit While Boosting RI's Economy

Governor Raimondo gave a brief preview of her budget on Wednesday.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island faces a big financial gap as Governor Gina Raimondo prepares to unveil her first budget Thursday. State law requires a balanced spending plan, and Raimondo has pledged to improve Rhode Island’s economy while wiping out the red ink. But that will be no easy task.

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On Politics
1:25 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

RI Road Deaths Decline

Driving fatalities are at an all time low according to the latest numbers from 2014.
Credit thisisbossi / flickr

Some good news for Ocean State motorists: Driving fatalities are at an all  time low in Rhode Island.

That’s the word from Atty. Gen. Peter Kilmartin, who announced today that road deaths dropped from 65 in 2013 to 52 in 2014. That’s a continuation of the decline in fatalities, from a high of 104 in 2003. The 2014 numbers are the lowest number of road fatalities since 1994.

Most encouraging, perhaps, is the drop in deaths of young drivers aged 16 to 24. Deaths for this age group have dropped from 22 in 2009 to eight in 2014.

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On Politics
11:39 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Station Fire Service To Be Held March 22

The 12th annual remembrance service for the 100 people who lost their lives in the tragic West Warwick Station nightclub fire on February 20, 2003 has been rescheduled for March 22 at 1 p.m. in the city council chambers at Warwick City Hall.

The service was originally slated for February 15, but was postponed because of a snowstorm. On Sunday, March 22 fire survivor Gina Russo will speak about the progress of the Station Memorial campaign and announce the campaign leadership committee.

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On Politics
4:51 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Woonsocket Mayor Baldelli Hunt Fined By RI Ethics Commission

Woonsocket City Hall
Credit RIPR FILE

Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt has agreed to pay a $750 state ethics fine over the creation of a summer jobs program that hired her teenage son.

``I accept the findings of the Ethics Commission and respect their decision. I had previously paid in full all the wages he earned in the amount of $880. I also accept the fine of $750 and I believe this matter should be put behind me,’’ the mayor said in a statement released by her office.

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On Politics
5:05 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Superior Court Judge Hurst Sanctions Lawyer Keven McKenna

Keven A. McKenna, the former state representative, Providence Municipal Court judge and unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the capital city, is in trouble again with the Rhode Island court system.

McKenna, whose law license was recently suspended for one year by the Rhode Island Supreme Court in a long-running professional conduct dispute, was slapped by Superior Court Judge Patricia Hurst in as unusual decision that found McKenna responsible for unprofessional conduct as a lawyer.

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