Teresa Paiva Weed

House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed cruised to re-election in their leadership positions Tuesday while pledging increased legislative attention to trying to boost Rhode Island’s underperforming economy.

(PROVIDENCE, RI) High unemployment, same-sex marriage and the state budget are among the top issues facing the General Assembly as it starts a new session Tuesday.

The Assembly is meeting on New Year’s Day because of a requirement that legislative sessions start on the first Tuesday of the year. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says her chamber plans to concentrate on jobs. “Economic development and a focus on turning around Rhode Island’s economy will be the Senate’s single highest priority this session.”

As high unemployment continues to plague Rhode Island, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says her chamber will focus in the 2013 session on economic development and trying to turn around the state's troubled economy.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says there will be a vote on same-sex marriage in the Senate Judiciary Committee this year.

In an interview in her office this afternoon, she said:

Certainly, it will be an issue that will be before the Senate this year .... There will be a vote in Judiciary on the issue.”

House Speaker Gordon Fox, during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, said he plans to call a vote on same-sex marriage early in the next legislative session. While legislative elections this fall could change the composition of the House, Fox believes he has the votes to pass the measure (assuming he wins re-election).

Marriage Equality Rhode Island has released the following statement in response:

Inquiring minds in the state public defenders office and beyond are wondering just what kind of game Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, is playing with Governor Lincoln Chafee’s nomination of Mary S. McElroy to be the state’s chief public defender.

McElroy has stellar credentials and 20 years experience in the public defender’s office.  She would also be the first woman to hold the job.