Political news

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – An official portrait of Governor Carcieri is due to be unveiled at 5 pm today. It includes some subtle motifs from his time in office.

Carcieri is leaving office next week after the maximum two terms as governor. State law requires departing governors to remain at the State House - in the form of an official portrait. Artist Harley Bartlett of Hope says a small statue, of a knight on a horse, on the governor's desk refers to the scholastic mascot of his native East Greenwich High School.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two incoming Republican lawmakers say the state should hold runoff elections if a winning candidate gets less than 50 percent of the vote.

Representatives-elect Michael Chippendale and Patricia Morgan say they'll push for a constitutional amendment to require the run-off elections. They say they're motivated by 12 races this year in which the winner got less than 50 percent of the vote. Chippendale says those include the campaigns for governor, attorney general, and three each for the House and Senate.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The state Ethics Commission will consider Tuesday whether to allow a departing state legislator to join the administration of Governor-elect Chafee.

House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Providence this year instead of seeking reelection as a state rep.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Incoming Gov. Lincoln Chafee is planning what his office says is a frugal inauguration on Jan. 4, featuring Rhode Island's favorite free public arts event, Waterfire.

Chafee's office says Wednesday it recognizes the difficult economic climate and to cut costs, there won't be an inaugural ball. Instead, the five general officers will hold five evening receptions in Providence in restaurants overlooking Waterfire.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A major change is coming to the Republican Party of Rhode Island. State chair Giovanni Cicione says he does not want to run for re-election and is seeking someone to replace him.

"As a volunteer, father and business owner, I've got a lot of things pulling on me," he says. "I think four years has been a good run and I'd love to find someone willing to put in the same level of effort and keep the ball rolling because we've got a good thing going on."

The U.S. Supreme Court is pictured here. Photo by Kyle Rush via Flickr Creative Commons.

WASHINGTON – In a new case about climate change, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from electric utilities that are trying to short-circuit an effort by Rhode Island and other states to force cuts in power plant emissions.

The court agreed today to consider ending a federal lawsuit by eight states, New York City and others that accuse the power companies of being among the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. The suit asks a federal judge to order reductions in the emissions in plants in 20 states.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – House Speaker Gordon Fox is shaking up his staff prior to the start of the legislative session.

Fox is firing about 10 State House staffers as part of what his office calls a routine change in administration.

Fox spokesman Larry Berman says Fox didn't have a good chance to make the changes before because he was elected as Speaker last February, in mid-session.

Berman calls the changes part of an ongoing reorganization involving a variety of positions.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee says closing an almost 300 million dollar deficit for the next fiscal year will require significant cuts to state government.

Rhode Island faces a deep deficit for the fiscal year starting next July first due to the loss of federal stimulus money. Chafee says closing that gap will require reductions in spending by many state departments.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island governor-elect Lincoln Chafee says he wants to keep Rosemary Booth Gallogly as head of the Department of Revenue.

Gallogly is currently the acting director at the department, a post she was appointed to by outgoing Republican Gov. Don Carcieri in March. She is also the head of the Department of Administration, but Chafee has nominated former Democratic Lt. Gov. Richard Licht for that post.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee has added three members to his transition team.

Margaret Holland McDuff is the CEO of Family Service of Rhode Island, John Simmons is executive director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, Lawyer Claire Richards has previously served as special counsel to Governor Carcieri, among other positions.

Chafee says the trio brings experience, energy and knowledge to his transition.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – State Republican Chairman Giovanni Cicione is touting two GOP members as possible challengers to US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in 2012.

Cicione told the Washington publication Roll Call that he may challenge Whitehouse if other candidates don't come forward. But Cicione says he'd prefer that other Republicans, like Governor Carcieri or Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, represent the GOP.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee heads to Geneva this week, where he plans to cut ties with a group that counsels the government of Ukraine.

The Foundation For Effective Governance was the target of a news report alleging ties to organized crime. According to The Providence Journal, those accusations were overblown.

Chafee says he is leaving the group in order to focus on his duties as Rhode Island governor. He is expected back in the Ocean State on Friday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Republican Secretary of State candidate Catherine Taylor has congratulated Democrat Ralph Mollis for his hard fought victory in the race.

In a released statement, Taylor said the 1-point-2 percent margin shows the importance of counting every vote.

Taylor says she is confident every vote has been counted. Unofficial results show Mollis ahead of Taylor by 3,794 votes, not enough to trigger a recount.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee says he's willing to reconsider his plan to expand the state sales tax.

During his first post-election news conference, Chafee says he thinks the state's agreement with 38 Studios is probably a done deal, now that 75 million dollars in bonds have been sold for the project. Chafee also says he's not absolutely wedded to his plan to impose a one percent sales tax on current exempt items.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Independent Lincoln Chafee won a close race to become Rhode Island's next governor.

His victory comes after months in which his rivals sharply criticized his plan to add a one percent sales tax on currently exempt items. Unofficial results show Chafee with 36 percent, Republican John Robitaille with just under 34 percent, Democrat Frank Caprio with 23 percent, and Moderate Ken Block with just under seven percent.

Chafee vows candor will remain his signature as the state's next governor.