scott mackay

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As the nation pays its final respects to Antonin Scalia, the brilliant legal scholar and conservative U.S. Supreme Court justice, one interest group breathing a sigh of relief is organized labor, particularly the public employee unions.

That’s because one of the crucial cases likely to be affected by Scalia’s passing is the future of public employee unions. Under a California legal joust that was decided in favor of the unions in the lower courts, a union’s right to charge dues to members who are not union members, but are part of a collective bargaining unit, was up in the air.

Mourners can pay respects to the late Buddy Cianci at City Hall on Saturday and Sunday (Feb 6 and 7). His body will lie in repose at City Hall from noon to 6 p.m. both days. Those wishing to pay respects should enter via the Washington Street City Hall entrance.

John Bender / RIPR

Billy Reynolds, the longtime Providence Journal columnist who is one of the nation’s very best basketball writers, has written a remarkable new book entitled Hope: A School, A Team, A Dream.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In Providence and in Rhode Island, Buddy Cianci was one of the most influential political figures of his generation, as well as one of the most controversial. His time as Providence mayor was marked by significant economic redevelopment, but also marred by violence, cronyism and corruption.

Greg Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons License

Former Rhode Island Republican governor Lincoln Almond has agreed to support former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. Almond says he believes that Bush is the best choice among the large field of Republican presidential aspirants.

``I’m very friendly with the Bush family and have been for many years,’’ Almond said in an interview. Almond cited Bush’s tenure as Florida governor and his leading role in education policy.

Gas prices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts  continue to drop. That’s the latest word from the American Automobile Association.

Gas prices have dropped by three cents per gallon in both states. The Triple-A’s survey of prices in Massachusetts finds the average gallon of self-serve, regular unleaded gas at $1.84 per gallon.

The Rhode Island, that same gallon carries an average cost of $1.91. ``Crude oil prices haven’t been this low since 2003,’’ says Mary McGuire, AAA spokeswoman.

The Providence snow parking ban will begin at 10 p.m. this evening, according to an announcement from Mayor Jorge Elorza.

The Pawtucket parking ban will start at 2 p.m. this afternoon and continue until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Providence residents with overnight parking passes cannot park on a city street during the parking ban. Vehicles left on streets in violation of the ban will be subject to ticketing and towing.

Richard Culatta, a former Obama Administration education adviser, has been chosen by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as the state’s new  $210,000 a year "chief innovation officer."

Raimondo said Culatta will lead an effort to find better approaches to deliver government services in an efficient manner.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former Rhode Island House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino is scheduled to meet Thursday with the House Oversight Committee probing the 38 Studios disaster.

House spokesman Larry Berman says Costantino, who now works in state government in Vermont, will meet with the committee to discuss his role in shaping the program that gave the doomed 38 Studios video game company a $75 million taxpayer-guaranteed subsidy.

The committee is slated to meet after the House floor session ends Thursday. The confab is scheduled for room 101 at the Statehouse.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Gov. Gina Raimondo has harped on creating new manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island since she began running for the governorship in 2014. But since moving into the 2nd floor Statehouse office on Smith Hill, the first-term Democrat changed her tune a bit, especially when it comes to recruiting high-tech companies to come to the Ocean State.

This morning, Raimondo’s face was peering out from the first business page of the Boston Globe. Her message was a distinctly different approach from her emphasis on manufacturing for the Ocean State business crowd.

RIPR FILE

In good tidings for motorists, gasoline prices keep dropping in Rhode Island. Triple A reports that for the first time since March, 2009, that the average gas price has fallen below $2 per gallon.

AAA’s survey of prices in RI, released this morning, shows that self-serve regular unleaded gas is averaging $1.99 per gallon.

The pump price drooped even lower in Massachusetts, where self-serve regular is averaging $1.95 per gallon. January traditionally brings a low demand for motor fuel, according to Mary Maguire, AAA public affairs director.

Aaron Read / RIPR

  It’s the usual mixed bag of good news and not-so-good news as Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.2 percent in November, down from 5.3 percent in October, according to data released by the state Department of Labor and Training.

Job gains came in several sectors, including restaurants and hotels, professional and business services,  arts, entertainment and recreation and educational services. But job losses still dog other sectors, including construction, government employment and information.

A group of Rhode Island religious and civil rights groups have scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning to express their support for the Muslim Community in the Ocean State.

Trinity Repertory Company will honor Oskar Eustis and Laurie Eustis with the Claiborne Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. Elizabeth Chace, a Providence business leader and philanthropist, will receive the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts.

The awards will be given at a ceremony to be held May 23rd, 2016. The awards honor the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, who was a crucial supporter of the arts during  his 36 years in the Senate.

With the state’s medical landscape in flux, more hospital workers are joining unions. The latest example is Butler Hospital in Providence, where an overwhelming majority of employees from three units voted to join Service Employees International Union’s Local 1199 on a 59-6 tally in a union election.

The new union units include Patient Assessment Service, Intake Coordinators, Clinical Access Specialists and unit secretaries.

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