Politics

Politics
1:07 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Advocates Call for More Openness in Magistrate-Selection Process

A good government group is supporting a bill that would bring more transparency to the process of selecting magistrates. Magistrates perform many of the same functions of judges, but they’re selected behind closed doors.

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Politics
9:00 am
Wed April 1, 2015

RI's Religious Freedom Law Draws Little Criticism Despite Similarities To Indiana

RI law protects both religious freedoms, and the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender citizens.
Credit RIPR FILE

Rhode Island has a religious freedom law that bears some similarity to an Indiana proposal, that is now raising controversy around the country. Rhode Island’s law drew little criticism when it passed more than 20 years ago.

Rhode Island ACLU director Steve Brown said Rhode Island’s religious freedom law was passed with broad support in the early 1990s. Brown said the law was a response to a US Supreme Court decision denying the right of Native Americans to use peyote in religious ceremonies.

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Politics
8:31 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Hearings On Gov. Raimondo's Proposed Budget Set To Begin

Hearings on the proposed state budget are set to begin Tuesday at the Statehouse.
Credit RIPR FILE

Legislative finance committees are set to start holding hearings Tuesday on details of Governor Gina Raimondo’s first budget. The governor’s spending plan has attracted both praise and criticism.

The House and Senate finance committees stage weeks of hearings to review different aspects of the annual budget. Supporters and opponents of different programs turn out to testify, in an attempt to sway lawmakers.

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Politics
9:00 am
Thu March 19, 2015

A Deeper Look Into Rhode Island's Possible Pension Settlment

Public employee unions may be one step closer to accepting a pension settlement.
Credit RIPR FILE

Public employees in Rhode Island are scheduled to vote next week on a proposed deal to settle a lawsuit over Rhode Island’s pension overhaul.  The settlement could save the state as much as $4 billion dollars in payments to retired state employees.  It could also have benefits for union members.  Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis talks details with RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison.

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Politics
8:46 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Twin River Casino To Make Case For Onsite Hotel

Twin River Casino is proposing a four story hotel on its Lincoln campus.
Credit RIPR FILE

The House Finance Committee is slated to vote Tuesday on a bill that would clear the path for a hotel to be built at Twin River in Lincoln. The casino was banned from building a hotel as part of a law passed in 2005.

Twin River says a hotel will help it compete, as the casino faces growing competition from new gambling facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Gambling is Rhode Island’s third-largest source of state revenue, and out of state casinos could cut the Ocean State’s annual revenue by up to $100 million.

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Politics
10:23 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Legislative Leaders Praise Raimondo's FY2016 Budget Proposal

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed addresses the General Assembly, during Gov. Raimondo's presentation of her first state budget proposal.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Legislative leaders Thursday praised the first budget presented by Governor Gina Raimondo. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said the spending plan avoids broad-based tax increases while promoting economic development.

“I think the overall balance is good, even though some of the decisions within that balance – whether they’re on the revenue side or the cut side – is something that none of us want to consider,” said Mattiello.

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Politics
10:15 am
Fri March 13, 2015

State Republicans React To Gov. Raimondo's First Budget Proposal

Republican Representative of Foster, Michael Chippendale, responds to the governor's proposed budget.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

A top legislative Republican praised Governor Gina Raimondo for expressing an optimistic message in her budget address last night. But Foster Representative Michael Chippendale said the state GOP also has a number of concerns about Raimondo’s spending plan.

“While it was stated that there were no broad-based tax increases, we do see some that we do not find particularly attractive, particularly the HealthSource Rhode Island example,” said Chippendale.

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Politics
8:45 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Pension Could Be On The Chopping Block For Former Lawmaker Martineau

The state Retirement Board is slated Wednesday to consider revoking a pension for a former legislative leader convicted of corruption. Gerard Martineau was sentenced to more than three years in prison for his crimes.

Martineau pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges that he used his influence to help the CVS drug store chain and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island while doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in business with them. Martineau, a Woonsocket Democrat served 15 years in the House, rising to the number two position of majority leader.

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Politics
9:25 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Bill To Tamp Down On Corruption Not Enough According To Good Government Group

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has introduced a bill to tamp down on corruption, but good government group, Common Cause of RI, says more needs to be done.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

The non-partisan good government group Common Cause isn’t satisfied with a reform measure backed by House leaders in the aftermath of Gordon Fox’s guilty plea earlier this year.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says it makes sense for officeholders to file their bank statements for their campaign accounts with the state agency that monitors campaign spending.

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Politics
3:51 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

RI Politicians React To Fox Plea Deal

Gordon Fox faced reporters on the steps of the federal courthouse following his arraignment on three counts of corruption.
Credit John Bender

Reactions have been swift to news that Former House Speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty to three felony charges.

The charges include one count of bribery and one count of misusing campaign funds.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison reports on reaction from both sides of the aisle.

Calling it a "sad chapter" in Rhode Island Politics, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said in a brief statement, "there is no place for public corruption."

A Democrat, Mattiello took over after Fox resigned as speaker, following raids on his home and Statehouse office.

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