News

Just another quiet week in Rhode Island politics, right? Lots to chew on here, so thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

The Providence Housing Authority will no longer automatically disqualify housing applicants with criminal convictions. Advocates say the longstanding policy hurt people trying to reenter society.

Under the new policy applicants for housing with a criminal history will be considered on a case by case basis. Old policy denied people with criminal histories up to ten years prior outright. The look-back period into an applicant’s background is now reduced from 10 years to five.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed announced Friday their opposition to Neil Gorsuch's U.S. Supreme Court nomination.

The move comes after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats announced their opposition to Gorsuch earlier this week.

Whitehouse shared many of his concerns about Gorsuch during a recent meeting in Providence.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management lifted its emergency shellfish closures Friday. The DEM reports parts of the Rhode Island Sound, lower Narragansett Bay, and lower Sakonnet River are no longer testing for high levels of domoic acid- a toxin harmful to humans.

Providence NAACP President Jim Vincent joins Bonus Q&A to discuss the state of race relations in America and much more, including marijuana legalization and how local cities and towns are faring in diversifying their workforce.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio, the longest serving member of the Senate, won election Thursday as the new president of the chamber, succeeding Teresa Paiva Weed.

As first reported Tuesday by RI Public Radio, Ruggerio was poised to move quickly into the top position in the Senate, joined by Senate Judiciary Chairman Michael McCaffrey as Warwick as the new majority leader.

Victor Casale / Creative Commons License via flickr

The Providence Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meets Thursday. The group is expected to consider changes to policy that bars housing applicants with criminal convictions. Advocates say current policy is unfair.

Congerdesign / Creative Commons License Via Pixabay

State officials have released a draft of Rhode Island’s first comprehensive food plan. The strategy tackles food insecurity and seeks to market the state as a leader in various food industries.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

New parents get involved in Family Court for different reasons – but usually because the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, or DCYF, believes their newborn is at risk. 

Ian Donnis

During an emotional farewell, state Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed of Newport announced Wednesday she's leaving the General Assembly after 24 years to become president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI).

Ayoopdog / CC License via Wikimedia Commons

A group of Roger Williams University students who are studying abroad at the University of Westminster this semester have reported they are safe after the attack that left four people dead near Parliament in London.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials are busy analyzing the potential impacts of the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. Proposed funding cuts to Medicaid  - the health insurance program for the poor - could mean covering fewer people or reducing payments to health care providers.

Courtesy of MOWRI

Meals on Wheels Rhode Island leaders say their program could be severely limited under President Trump’s proposed budget.  Rhode Island’s MOW program gets 30 percent of its funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which could see an 18 percent cut under the president’s plan. But although proposed cuts raise concerns, this isn’t the first time the organization has experienced a funding scare.

The White House

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch faced questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee this Tuesday about whether he supports political contributions by unidentified donors.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The gas-fired power plant that Invenergy wants to build in Burrillville faces more legal hurdles this week.

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