Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has repeatedly named him as one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. In addition to other tasks, Ian tweets frequently at @IanDon, hosts RIPR’s weekly Political Roundtable, and contributes to the station’s On Politics blog. He was for many years a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, and remains an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment. Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the Associated Press, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Bonus Q+A: Elorza on Trying to Put Vacant Buildings to New Use

Roger Williams University Law School professor Jorge Elorza, a Housing Court judge in Providence, joins us on Bonus Q+A to talk about housing, economic development, Latino politics, and his own future plans.

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On Politics
7:49 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

After 16-Year Fight, Rhode Island Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Governor Lincoln Chafee presents Rhode Island's new same-sex marriage law to openly gay lawmakers, House Speaker Gordon Fox and state Senator Donna Nesselbush
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

To the delight of a crowd of hundreds of people in front of the Statehouse, Governor Lincoln Chafee on Thursday evening signed into law legislation making Rhode Island the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Two companion bills forming the basis for the law sped through the General Assembly in recent weeks, in sharp contrast to how the issue of same-sex marriage languished for the preceding 16 years.

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On Politics
2:25 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Bill-Signing Marks a Bright Day for Lincoln Chafee

Chafee visiting with centenarians Thursday in advance of his big moment
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee has faced more than his share of stormy political weather since squeaking his way into office in November 2010, with less than 40 percent of the statewide vote.

The state's disastrous investment in 38 Studios blew up on his watch. Unemployment, even with recent declines, has remained high. Chafee has suffered his own self-inflicted wounds, and his persistently sub-30 percent approval rating leaves open the possibility that he could be a one-term governor.

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On Politics
10:24 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Fox Foe Mark Binder Announces New Challenge to the Speaker

We're 18 months out from the November 2014 election, but that's not stopping Mark Binder from announcing on Thursday another legislative challenge to House Speaker Gordon Fox.

Via news release:

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Politics
8:30 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Rhode Island Poised to Join 10 Others in Same-Sex Marriage

A previous vote in the RI House drew big crowds
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

Ian Donnis will be reporting from the statehouse as Rhode Island is poised to join the other New England states that have already legalized same-sex marriage. This follows a battle of almost 20 years.

Two companion bills for same-sex marriage are expected to get overwhelming support during a House vote this afternoon. Immediately after, Governor Lincoln Chafee plans to sign the legislation into law during a ceremony on the south side of the Statehouse.

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On Politics
2:17 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Are Rhode Island's Openly Gay Lawmakers Hearing Wedding Bells?

Speaker Fox with his parner, Marcus LaFond (center), during Fox's most recent swearing-in, in January
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

After helping to shepherd same-sex marriage legislation on what once seemed an improbable path to victory, House Speaker Gordon Fox was a bit surprised Tuesday to be asked about his own wedding plans.

"I'm just trying to plan to get through this session," Fox said, laughing, when asked if he has plans to marry later this year. "That's a curve ball. I hadn't though about that one. Maybe you should ask my partner that."

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On Politics
11:43 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Brett Smiley Exploring A Run for Mayor of Providence

Fundraising specialist and lobbyist Brett Smiley is joining those looking at a run for mayor of Providence if Angel Taveras moves on next year.

"I am seriously exploring a race for mayor in 2014," Smiley tells RIPR. He says he has started meeting with people to talk about a possible run and plans to make a decision this summer about whether to move forward.

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RI News
7:08 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Superman Building Owner Pursues State Aid

Credit RIPR

The owner of the vacant Superman Building in downtown Providence wants to use $39 million in state money to convert it into for residential apartments.  It remains unclear whether the General Assembly is willing to support that kind of spending.

The Superman Building has been sitting empty ever since Bank of America left in early April. The property’s owner, High Rock Development of Massachusetts, wants to convert the art deco building into 278 rental apartments.

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Politics
6:42 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Same-Sex Marriage Clears Another Legislative Hurdle

Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected Thursday to sign into law legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island.  The House Judiciary Committee quickly approved the bills Tuesday.

Any uncertainty facing the same-sex bills was eliminated when the state Senate overwhelmingly approved them last week. In a largely procedural matter, House Judiciary followed up with an unanimous 13-to-zero vote. Education activist Maryellen Butke, who can recall how fellow gays and lesbians once faced overt hostility in Rhode Island, called the vote historic.

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On Politics
6:54 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Chafee Set to Sign Same-Sex Marriage Bills on Thursday

Judiciary chairwoman Edith Ajello instructs Kara Young to sit down during the committee meeting.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee, who emphasized same-sex marriage during his inaugural address on the south side of the Statehouse in 2011, is set to use the same location Thursday to sign same-sex marriage bills into law.

The signing ceremony is tentatively planned for 5:45 p.m. Thursday, after the House is expected to offer final passage of the legislation. Rhode Island will become the tenth US state to legalize same-sex marriage, and the last in New England to do so.

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