Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Members of Governor Gina Raimondo’s staff are set to meet with representatives of five open government groups Tuesday afternoon at the State House to discuss recent criticism about a lack of government transparency.

Raimondo’s chief of staff, Stephen Neuman, is slated to lead the 4:30 pm meeting, according to spokeswoman Marie Aberger. The governor's legal counsel, Claire Richards, and communications director, Joy Fox, and/or Aberger are also expected to attend the meeting in Neuman's office.

People who are in recovery from addiction or mental illness might be open to sharing their story with anyone who asks. Or they might not. There's still enough stigma and misunderstanding about the disease of addiction that keeping it private might feel safer.

The ADA for Addiction And Mental Illness
Just in case, though, there's the Americans with Disabilities Act. It protects people who are in recovery from or treatment for addiction or mental illness from being excluded from certain opportunities or having to disclose private health information.

 A Rhode Island Superior Court judge will allow an employment discrimination case involving medical marijuana to go forward. The case hinges on a University of Rhode Island student’s summer job and her status as a medical marijuana cardholder.

John Bender / RIPR

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has filed a free speech lawsuit against the city of Providence.  The suit follows the arrest of a local musician.


62-year-old Manuel Pombo has been performing on the streets of Providence for the last 30 years. Pombo says he’s had a several run-ins with police, and in 2013 he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Those charges were later dropped.

Elisabeth Harrison

The Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is again raising alarms bells about racial disparities in school suspensions. The group has released a new report citing little improvement in the 2013-2014 school year.  

According to the study, one out of every six black male students got suspended from a Rhode Island public school during the 2013-2014 school year,

The reports finds that statewide, suspension rates declined for white students but hit their highest level in a decade for Black, Hispanic and Native American students.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the case of former Providence Phoenix news editor Phil Eil, suing the US Drug Enforcement Administration to try to gain the release of thousands of pages of court documents in a major drug-prescription trial.

The ACLU said Eil has been stymied for more than three years in trying to obtain the documents.

Voters will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a Constitutional Convention, known as the ConCon. This is a delegation of elected representative who would recommend changes to the state’s constitution.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay gathered two men for a lively debate: Phil West, retired Executive Director of Common Cause of Rhode Island for the ConCon and Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island against it.

A bill halting a controversial test-based graduation requirement will become law without a signature from Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Chafee declined to sign the bill but also declined a veto.

The bill bars the use of standardized test scores for a high school diploma until at least 2017. State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist, who opposed the bill, vowed to keep pushing school leaders to improve student performance.

A public discussion over making test scores part of the high school graduation requirement will take place at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

It took a court order, but the Board of Education will hold a public vote on a petition over whether high school diplomas should be linked to test scores.  

Some 4,000 students failed to pass the NECAP last fall, many of them from urban schools. ACLU director Steve Brown said what’s now known about who failed the test should be an influence.

Rhode Island’s House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare has scheduled testimony Wednesday on a bill seeking to reduce the use of “out of school” suspensions in public schools.

The bill would also require education officials to collect and analyze discipline data to determine how policies are affecting minority students.

The state’s health department is considering updates to its immunization policy for school kids from preschool through college. The proposals would require flu shots for kids up to age five and the HPV vaccine for kids entering ninth grade.


Woonsocket voters go to the polls next week to elect a state representative to replace Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, who was recently elected mayor of that city.  The election represents the first time that photo identification will be required of voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union is reminding Woonsocket voters to be sure to take along a photo id when they head to the polls Tuesday. Woonsocket is holding a special election to fill the House seat vacated by newly-elected Woonsocket Mayor Lisa-Baldelli Hunt.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is keeping up the heat in its opposition to the NECAP test as a requirement for high school graduation. The ACLU has filed a third legal action against what it calls a lack of process in retaining the controversial test.

For the third time in less than two months, the ACLU of Rhode Island has taken legal action against the state Board of Education for violating open government laws in dealing with the NECAP test.


Four groups are calling on state Treasurer Gina Raimondo to release more information about hedge fund investments in Rhode Island’s pension plan.

The groups say they’re troubled by how Raimondo’s office, in a recent response to the Providence Journal, heavily redacted some details about the hedge fund investments. The four organizations are Common Cause of Rhode Island, the RI Press Association, and the state chapters of the ACLU and the League of Women Voters.

file / RIPR

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit to keep the state’s Board of Education from holding a retreat that’s closed to the public.

The upcoming retreat will feature presentations on high stakes testing. It will be closed to both the media and the public. Rhode Island ACLU chapter executive director Steve Brown said that undermines the state’s open meetings laws.