general assembly

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A revised truck toll bill is expected to be introduced in the General Assembly Thursday.

House Majority Leader John DeSimone is expected to introduce the bill in the House, while Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio will sponsor the bill in the Senate.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has signaled his support for hundreds of million dollars fewer borrowing than contained in the original proposal unveiled last year by Governor Gina Raimondo.

Jake Bissaro / The Providence Center

State lawmakers gathered for the signing of the newly reinstated Good Samaritan Overdose Law. The law expired last summer, much to the chagrin of public health advocates.

The law protects people who call 911 for someone who's overdosing from being arrested.

Going forward the law will protect people from being charged for drug possession or use, and from being picked up for violating probation.

Lawmakers put an expiration date on the original bill passed in 2012 in case it conflicted with law enforcement.

Winter is here in earnest, with weekend snow, and the political beat is revving at full throttle. Thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and feedback are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

State Rep. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick), and the chairman of the House Labor Committee, joins Bonus Q+A to talk about a series of legislative issues, including ethics, tolls, incentives, and firefighter overtime.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new report requested by the Raimondo administration says Rhode Island can overcome its economic listlessness by using a focused strategy to make targeted investments in key sectors for job growth.

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. There's lots going on, so we'll get right to it.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Rep. Doreen Costa (R-North Kingstown) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss efforts to reduce gun violence; the high-stakes pursuit of General Electric; and the outlook on Governor Gina Raimondo's truck toll plan.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The key sponsor of the bill later used to attract 38 Studios to Rhode Island returned to the Statehouse from his current out-of-state job Thursday evening, distancing himself from responsibility in an hours-long meeting that was rich in theatrics yet thin on fresh details.

Former House Finance Committee chairman Steven Costantino said he set the $125 million size of the job creation guarantee program passed in 2010, and then applied to 38 Studios, with the idea of helping a number of businesses.

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