Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island has the second lowest rate of gun deaths in the country. That word from the Violence Policy Center of Washington.
Of the 50 states, only Hawaii has fewer gun deaths per 100,000 residents than Rhode Island. The Violence Policy Center used 2007 crime data to draw its conclusions. The Center's legislative director, Kristen Rand, says the Ocean State has two thirds fewer gun deaths than the national average because so few Rhode Islanders own guns.
Providence, R.I. – The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote this afternoon on an almost $8 billion dollar budget.
The budget closes a $570 dollar deficit for the current and next fiscal years. One of the most controversial elements is the withholding from cities and towns of $133 million in car tax revenue for fiscal 2011. And House spokesman Larry Berman says lawmakers continue to rely on $100 million in federal money that has yet to be allocated.
Providence, R.I. – Congressman James Langevin has a big fundraising advantage as he begins his reelection campaign.
Langevin has outraised his Democratic and Republican rivals by a better than three-to-one margin. Langevin's most recent filing with the federal election commission shows a campaign balance of almost $420,000. His next closest competitor, fellow Democrat Betsy Dennigan, reported a $138,000 balance.
Providence, R.I. – A federal judge says a former Rhode Island lawmaker who pleaded guilty to corruption charges must remain behind bars.
Former House Majority Leader Gerard Martineau had asked U.S. District Judge Mary Lisi to shorten his sentence.
Martineau cited a state Supreme Court opinion last year that said state lawmakers can't be prosecuted for improper votes. But Lisi ruled that the state court decision had no bearing on his federal case.
Providence, R.I. – The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority has scheduled a series of public hearings on proposed fare increases the agency says it needs to balance its budget.
The increases are roughly 14 percent, with variations depending on the kind of ticket. Under the proposal, a single-trip bus fare would rise to $2 from $1.75, while a 15-ride would jump to $26 from $23 and a monthly pass would go to $62 from $55.
Transit advocates say a fare hike is a better option than service cuts.
Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island lawmakers are preparing to debate a constitutional amendment that would allow them to be prosecuted for their votes by the state Ethics Commission.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to authorize a ballot question that, if approved by voters, would restore the panel's authority to prosecute lawmakers for conflict of interest on the basis of votes they cast.