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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former House Finance chairman Steve Costantino said through his lawyer Wednesday that he's willing to return to Rhode Island to answer questions about the state's ill-fated investment in the video game company 38 Studios.

"Mr. Costantino is aware of the intent of the committee you chair to have him appear for testimony on January 14, 2016," lawyer Marc DeSisto writes in a letter to Oversight Chairwoman Karen MacBeth. "I have been authorized by Mr. Costantino to advise you that he is willing to appear and testify before your committee without the need to utilize a subpoena."

A group of Rhode Island religious and civil rights groups have scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning to express their support for the Muslim Community in the Ocean State.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. We're headed toward the pre-holiday slowdown, although the political hot stove league continues to simmer. As usual, your tips and thoughts are welcome, and you can follow me on the twitters throughout the week. Here we go.

RIPR file photo

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s first year in office has been dominated by a caustic dispute with the city’s unionized firefighters. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why the labor dispute has gotten so nasty.

Trinity Repertory Company will honor Oskar Eustis and Laurie Eustis with the Claiborne Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Elizabeth Chace, a Providence business leader and philanthropist, will receive the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.

The awards will be given at a ceremony to be held May 23rd, 2016. The awards honor the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, who was a crucial supporter of the arts during  his 36 years in the Senate.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

In a decision released Wednesday, the state Supreme Court declined to delay an arbitration case involving the Providence firefighters’ union.

The City of Providence had asked the Supreme Court to delay the arbitration process slated to start next Wednesday, December 16.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo plans to stage a summit next week to offer an update on efforts to improve the state’s economy.

Raimondo said the summit -- similar to one she staged last December -- will happen at 5 p.m. next Wednesday, December 16, at the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus. The meeting is open to the public, although advance registration is required.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senator Jack Reed backs President Obama's view that American troops should play a supporting role, rather than a primary one, in the fight with Islamic State. Reed discussed the issue, as well as gun violence, climate change, and other topics during a recent interview with Rhode Island Public Radio.

Former state representative Tim Williamson argues in a letter to the state Ethics Commission that Rhode Island's revolving door law doesn't apply to him.

In a letter dated December 4, Williamson seeks an advisory opinion on whether anything in the Code of Ethics bars him from seeking or accepting a judicial post, due to his part-time work as a lawyer for the House Judiciary Committee.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column -- a little extra breezy this week due to a hectic Friday. As usual your tips and thoughts are welcome via email, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, an independent agency has questioned Providence city government’s financial direction. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why Mayor Jorge Elorza and the city council aren’t taking this more seriously.

In the holiday season good news department: The Rhode Island Foundation is kicking off the 100th anniversary of the foundation’s founding next year with a $10 million campaign to restore Roger Williams Park, a Providence jewel that has grown rough around the edges in recent years.

Details of the initiative will be unveiled December 8 at 10 a.m. at the park’s Museum of Natural History.

With the state’s medical landscape in flux, more hospital workers are joining unions. The latest example is Butler Hospital in Providence, where an overwhelming majority of employees from three units voted to join Service Employees International Union’s Local 1199 on a 59-6 tally in a union election.

The new union units include Patient Assessment Service, Intake Coordinators, Clinical Access Specialists and unit secretaries.

RIPR file photo

Paul Campbell, Providence’s veteran city archivist, has been fired just days after being suspended with pay.

On Wednesday Campbell confirmed reports that he has been terminated. He said in an interview that he was given a two-sentence letter by the city clerk that said he would not be reappointed when his term expires in January.

There is disagreement on Campbell’s union status. Campbell said he is a member of Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union of North America and that the union has agreed to file a grievance on his behalf.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield) on Wednesday harshly criticized the absence of any Republican lawmakers on a school funding formula working group, as well as how Governor Gina Raimondo handled the response to his request to include a GOP representative.

Pages