As the media burst with news that Gov. Lincoln Chafee was not seeking re-election, the state’s top elected officials crafted statements praising the governor.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state treasurer Gina Raimondo, who are both expected to run for Chafee’s office, released statements thanking him for his years of public service. Taveras called him a man of integrity, while Raimondo called Chafee an unfailing optimist who always had the state’s best interest at heart.
The head of the state Republican Party is blaming legislative Democrats for failing to improve Rhode Island’s economy. The state’s unemployment rate climbed by a tenth of percent in July, to 8.9 percent.
State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders are wrong to brag about their efforts when the unemployment rate is going in the wrong direction.
Rhode Island voters can expect to decide next year whether to organize a constitutional convention. Voters are supposed to be asked that question once every 10 years.
The question of whether to stage a constitutional convention can be put on the ballot by either the General Assembly or the secretary of state. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis said if the legislature doesn’t pose the question for voters, he’ll put it on the ballot next year.
The list of Rhode Island lawmakers who have decided to forego their pay raise is getting longer. According to House leadership spokesman Larry Berman, five members of the House and 10 senators have told the Assembly that they will not be taking the $307 cost-of-living adjustment that all legislators are eligible for under the state Constitution pay provision.
State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins the Political Roundtable this week to discuss legislative attempts to improve Rhode Island's economy; the search for a new state commissioner of higher education; and why the Senate voted in April to legalize same-sex marriage.
When the Rhode Island Senate made history by approving same-sex marriage legislation in April, more than a few close observers (including me) saw it as a matter -- in part -- of Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed preserving her leadership. The thinking was that if same-sex marriage was defeated again (in a battle that started in 1997), SSM supporters would aggressively target legislative opponents at the polls next year.
Thanks to a cost of living adjustment mandated by the state Constitution, 111 state lawmakers are entitled to get a $307 boost in their annual pay, bringing the yearly amount to $14,947. The pay hike is doubled for House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, who get twice the salary of other lawmakers.
Residents and merchants in the East Bay are sharply opposing tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Local lawmakers have joined them in asserting the tolls will hurt the economy in communities near the bridge.