Lincoln Chafee

In a move that could send the battle over Rhode Island's 2011 pension overhaul back to court, one of the six plaintiff groups that had to initially sign off on a proposed settlement has voted against the deal.

As a result, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has ordered the two sides in the dispute -- the state and a series of public-employee unions -- back to mediation. Taft-Carter is slated to get an update on the talks next Monday, April 14.

file / RIPR

Thousands of public employees and retirees who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the state’s pension overhaul have voted to approve changes made in mediation. Of the 23,624 individuals eligible to cast a ballot, roughly 70 percent did not vote against it. 

The settlement agreement stated that if one of the six plaintiffs groups rejected the deal by more than half, then the settlement process ends. One group, police, rejected the deal by 61 percent. But spokesman for the plaintiffs’ Ray Sullivan, said this will not halt the process.

When will Rhode Islanders stop debating public employee pensions? RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says that won’t happen anytime soon.

As if the 2014 Rhode Island election campaigns won’t provide enough grist for everyone’s political mill, here comes the vote on the proposed public employee pension settlement crafted by their union leaders, Gov. Lincoln Chafee and State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

The stench of corruption has once again encircled the Rhode Island State House. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it may be time to try something different on Smith Hill.

Unless you have been living in one of those 1950s-era nuclear bomb shelters, or the old East Side tunnel, you’ve probably heard of the latest Statehouse scandal. The state police and federal IRS and FBI agents raided the offices of House Speaker Gordon Fox 10 days ago. The next day he abruptly resigned.

UPDATE: Williams (Labor) Ajello (Judiciary) Melo (Finance) out as committee chairs as Mattiello takes over.

As has been the case since its days as a British colony, Rhode Island’s florid political culture is once again enmeshed in upheaval because of chicanery in high places.

The abrupt demise of Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox of Providence means another episode of   `As the Rhode Island Statehouse turns.’

This just in: Gordon Fox has resigned as RI House Speaker. Here's why in a post that predicted this and was posted several hours before the Fox announcement:

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Once again, Rhode Island is attracting national attention for all the wrong reasons. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay has some thoughts about the federal raid on Speaker Gordon Fox’s office.

The specter of corruption in high political office haunts Rhode Island. As it has seemingly forever. For a state still in the grip of the recession, there are few things worse than the scene at the Statehouse Friday.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can can follow me all week long on the twitters. Let's head in.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is among the New England governors who plan to join President Obama in Connecticut Wednesday to call for raising the minimum wage.  Democrats are emphasizing the minimum wage as part of their election-year strategy.

Chafee will join the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont for a mid-day event at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. The governor said he plans to emphasize how boosting the minimum wage is a way the government can help the middle class.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee sounded cautious notes about legalizing recreational marijuana, when he spoke with the Huffington Post about the potential of legalizing recreational pot in Rhode Island. 

His administration saw the decriminalization of the drug in 2013, and medical marijuana has been legal for several years.

  • Gov.
Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee signed an executive order this morning to create a state climate change council. The council will advise the governor, the general assembly, and the public on a strong state strategy to address climate change threats.

Chafee says the earth's warming climate has already hit Rhode Island hard with Superstorm Sandy and the extreme floods of 2010. Those floods caused millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses, including to the West Warwick Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, where Chafee signed the executive order.

RIPR FILE

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, `it ain’t over till its over.’ RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why that’s the case with the latest twist in Rhode Island’s public employee pension settlement.

In many a long legal  battle, a settlement reached out of court marks the end of a contentious lawsuit. The opposing parties shake hands and sometimes share an odd drop. Then they put the dispute behind them.

What a week in Rhode Island politics. Welcome back to my weekly column, and thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Let's get snapping.

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