A New Year, a new General Assembly session, and the formal/informal start of the 2014 campaign season are upon us. Welcome to another edition of my Friday column. Thanks for reading, and feel free to send me your tips or thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (org). Here's the rundown:
(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says the state can reduce gun-related violence by passing more stringent laws. Pare says most of the guns used for crime are illegally owned.
Pare says tougher penalties for illegal gun possession helped to dramatically reduce gun-related crime in New York City. He says more stringent punishments could help to have the same effect in Rhode Island.
(PROVIDENCE, RI) The state Senate approved a bill Thursday to allow additional time for a controversial merger of two state boards of education.
The bill will continue the existence until March 7 of separate state boards for K-through-12 and public higher education. It also pushes back until September the final structure for combining the two boards.
A bill introduced Wednesday by state Senator Hanna Gallo would delay until September 1 the “final plan for the permanent administrative structure” for the controversial combined state Board of Education.
In a signal of a green light for the bill, cosponsors include Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio.
The court-ordered pension mediation set to begin this month will take place against an intensifying political backdrop: the early stage of the 2014 gubernatorial race. State Treasurer Gina Raimondo says politics can remain separate and apart from the mediation process.
House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed cruised to re-election in their leadership positions Tuesday while pledging increased legislative attention to trying to boost Rhode Island’s underperforming economy.