General Assemby

Elisabeth Harrison

After months of anticipation, the General Assembly failed to pass a single bill related to charter schools.

That's good news if you're in the charter school world. It means lawmakers failed to reach agreement on bills that would place new restrictions on the expansion of charter schools and reopen the state funding formula to reduce money for charter schools.

John Bender / RIPR

The state Senate has started scheduling confirmation hearings for four of the nomination made by Governor Gina Raimondo for her administration. The first four hearings center on holdovers from Lincoln Chafee’s time in office.


The confirmation process for Governor Raimondo’s nominees is slated to start next Tuesday. That’s when separate Senate committees will take up the nominations of Charles Fogarty as head of the Division of Elderly Affairs, and of State Police Colonel Steven O’Donnell to remain director of the Department of Public Safety.

In a move that seemed almost unthinkable before a change in leadership at the House of Representatives, Rhode Island lawmakers have suspended the use of standardized test scores as part of a high school diploma until at least 2017. Lawmakers have also approved legislation that limits the frequency of teacher evaluations for most teachers.

Guillaume de Ramel joins us on Bonus Q+A this week to discuss his Democratic run for secretary of state and a host of related issues, including voter ID, how to increase voting participation, the impact of money in his primary battle with rival Democrat Nellie Gorbea, and more.

Don Boorman / RIPR

The House Oversight Committee is set Wednesday to examine the state’s losing investment in failed video game maker 38 Studios.

The General Assembly ended the legislative session last month. But members of the House Oversight Committee are returning to Smith Hill  to examine Rhode Island’s misadventure with 38 Studios.

The discussion will focus on documents obtained from the state Economic Development Corporation about the EDC’s approval of bonds for 38 Studios. The video game company was lured here with a $75 million  state-backed guaranteed loan in 2010.


A measure that would expand the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance program has passed the Senate and now heads to the House.   The bill could change things for Rhode Island workers who need to take time off from work to care for a family member.

State senator Gayle Goldin from Providence sponsored the bill creating the Temporary Caregiver Insurance program.

House Minority Leading Brian Newberry takes part in Bonus Q+A to discuss a possible public subsidy for the Superman Building; his evaluation of Governor Lincoln Chafee; and the outlook for increasing GOP representation in the General Assembly.

While Lincoln Chafee's move to become a Democrat might be utterly unsurprising to some, the governor's move nonetheless scrambled the landscape for what already looked like a riveting election fight next year. That's why Chafee leads my weekly column. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (and) org  and to follow me on Twitter. Let's go:


The outlook for Rhode Island’s next state budget will come into sharper view when the latest revenue data is discussed this morning.

The annual revenue estimating conference takes place twice a year, in November and May. It’s when legislative staffers offer their estimates of state revenues, based on taxes and other sources of income.

The latest revenue estimates are then used by the General Assembly when it makes revisions to the governor’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July first.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

After helping to shepherd same-sex marriage legislation on what once seemed an improbable path to victory, House Speaker Gordon Fox was a bit surprised Tuesday to be asked about his own wedding plans.

"I'm just trying to plan to get through this session," Fox said, laughing, when asked if he has plans to marry later this year. "That's a curve ball. I hadn't though about that one. Maybe you should ask my partner that."