PROVIDENCE, RI – Providence police officials are getting ready for a demonstration later this week by a group inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Occupy Providence has announced plans for a march through the capital city's downtown at 5 pm Saturday. It also plans to maintain a presence at Burnside Park in Kennedy Plaza. Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says law enforcement isn't sure what to expect.
Providence, RI – A new advocacy group, Engage Rhode Island, was created to build public support for implementing what it calls comprehensive pension reform.
In tax lingo, Engage Rhode Island is a 501(c)4. In other words, it's a nonprofit that can do unlimited lobbying and campaigning without disclosing where its money comes from. Spokesman Jon Duffy says Nortek executive Ed Cooney started the group for civic reasons and the threat posed to the state by the rising cost of public pensions.
Providence, RI – The state's new policy allowing undocumented students to pay in-state college tuition rates prompted two rallies at the State House Wednesday. Roughly 500 opponents gathered outside the Capitol building, carrying signs saying "Dump Chafee," "Enforce our Laws and "What Part of Illegal Don't You Get?"
Keith Anderson, an East Providence High School teacher, accused the Governor of selectively enforcing laws.
PROVIDENCE, RI – State lawyers are asking the Rhode Island Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's finding that public employees have a contract right to their pensions.
State lawyers say an immediate review of the lower court decision is necessary and warranted. They say a ruling will make clear what state officials can do to overhaul Rhode Island's pension system when lawmakers meet later this month. Rhode Island has a $7 billion unfunded pension liability.
PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee says he's pleased that the Board of Governors for Higher Education is about to approve a measure that would extend in-state tuition to undocumented Rhode Island students who have been in the state's high schools at least three years. The students must graduate and sign an affidavit stating their intention to seek legal status as soon as they are eligible.
PROVIDENCE, RI – State Representative Daniel Gordon says his past legal problems stem from post-traumatic stress disorder that he developed during the Persian Gulf War.
Gordon has a lengthy record in Massachusetts, including a conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He blames those troubles on stress related to his Marine service in Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf war.
PROVIDENCE, RI – House Speaker Gordon Fox and other lawmakers are calling for the resignation of Representative Dan Gordon following revelations about Gordon's criminal record.
State police arrested Gordon over the weekend on a charge of operating a car with a suspended license. It was later revealed Gordon had served prison time in Massachusetts for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He also has a record of driving infractions in the Bay State.
PROVIDENCE, RI – The deputy executive director of one of the state's largest teachers' unions was convicted Monday of cyber-stalking a former state representative.
District Court Judge Stephen Isherwood rejected arguments that John Leidecker had exercised a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Isherwood said e-mails sent by Leidecker under a fictitious persona to former Bristol rep Douglas Gablinske were harassment.
PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island's public employee unions have won the first round in the contentious joust over state pension benefits. But a court decision may jeopardize the ability for a special session being able to make definitive decisions.
Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has denied state government's attempt to establish that the state can unilaterally reduce the pension benefits and cost-of-living benefits of state employees and retirees.