Politics

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PROVIDENCE, RI – It's been five days since Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a law making civil unions legal in Rhode Island, but as of Wednesday morning only three people had requested civil union license applications statewide.The interested parties were in Burrillville, Smithfield and Newport.

The lack of interest stands in stark contrast to the experience of Vermont which in 2000 became the first state in the nation to allow any type of same sex unions.

Photo by: Ryan Conaty

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Lincoln Chafee says a cash infusion wasn't put into the state budget is because lawmakers thought the receiver's office wasn't moving fast enough.

Three different receivers have been running Central Falls for a little more than a year. The current one, Robert Flanders, begged the state for a nearly $7 million cash infusion to help fill budget gaps, which the state refused.

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Providence firefighters union says it will sit down with the city Wednesday to continue negotiations. The city is looking for a 10 percent cut from the fire department. And if a deal isn't reached by Friday, the city says it will start looking to let go of 92 firefighters.

Paul Doughty, President of the Providence firefighters union, says firefighters want to do their part but they also want the city to factor in recent negotiations that saved Providence more than $2 million.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Although the state doesn't own Twin River, it gets 60 percent of the money gambled there - about 270 million dollars each year.

Robert Walsh of the National Education Association Rhode Island says that revenue stream could be sold to a private bidder for billions of dollars.

Under Walsh's concept, those billions would be applied to the state's estimated seven billion to nine billion dollars in unfunded pension liability.

Providence, RI – Providence's top two Democrats are non-committal about whether they'll back the reelection next year of Congressman David Cicilline.

In separate interviews, Mayor Angel Taveras and City Council President Michael Solomon say they remain undecided about backing Cicilline.

Taveras says he usually supports fellow Democrats, but has also backed Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican. When asked about the possibility of Cicilline winning another term in office, Taveras said the elections are too far off.

Photo by: Ian Donnis

Providence, RI – More than 200 people were on hand yesterday, when former State Police Superintendent Brendan Doherty launched his campaign for the Congressional seat held by Democrat David Cicilline.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox says same-sex marriage legislation is dead for the year.

Fox, who is openly gay and a strong backer of same-sex marriage, says there is insuperable opposition in the Senate. He's sponsoring civil union legislation instead.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, a powerful opponent of gay marriage legislation, says she will support the civil union bill and predicts it will pass.

Photo by: Ian Donnis.

PROVIDENCE, RI – House Minority Leader Robert Watson is disputing the account offered by East Haven, Connecticut, police of his arrest last Friday.

During a speech on the House floor, Watson accused the police of orchestrating his arrest after realizing he was a state representative. Police say Watson smelled of marijuana and had trouble with field sobriety tests.

Watson says he did not smoke marijuana that day and was not under the influence.

Credit: East Haven Police Department.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – House minority leader Robert Watson says he "vehemently" denies driving under the influence last Friday night in Connecticut. Watson was arrested at a DWI checkpoint in East Haven, Connecticut.

Watson was arrested at 10 pm Friday at a DWI checkpoint where all motorists were stopped. According to an East Haven, Connecticut police report, Watson smelled of alcohol and admitted to drinking two-and-a-half beers at a friend's house.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A new financial report cites for Providence Mayor David Cicilline for poor financial management.

The review authored by city Internal Auditor Matthew Clarkin and government finance expert Gary Sasse says Cicilline failed to present the Providence City Council with a ``corrective action plan'' that could have ``minimized the city's financial meltdown.''

The report says that Cicilline's administration did not provide the council with monthly financial statements or projections of year end deficits.

Providence, RI – A new Brown University poll finds mixed support for Governor Lincoln Chafee's tax plan.

Close to 60 percent of respondents say they support extending the sales tax to include dry cleaning, and movie and concert tickets. But 88 percent oppose adding a one percent tax for heating fuel. A slim majority of respondents is against taxing clothing or shoes.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents back Chafee's plan to lower the state sales tax from seven to six percent. The governor's approval rating came in at 32 percent.

Providence, RI – A new Brown University poll finds mixed support for Governor Lincoln Chafee's tax plan.

Close to 60 percent of respondents say they support extending the sales tax to include dry cleaning, and movie and concert tickets. But 88 percent oppose adding a one percent tax for heating fuel. A slim majority of respondents is against taxing clothing or shoes.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents back Chafee's plan to lower the state sales tax from seven to six percent. The governor's approval rating came in at 32 percent.

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