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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Politics
10:44 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Decoding Paiva Weed's picks for Judiciary -- and what it means in RI's fight over same-sex marriage

Paiva Weed
Credit General Assembly photo

If Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed wanted to leave an opaque outlook for Rhode Island's coming battle over same-sex marriage, she couldn't have done a better job yesterday with her picks for the all-important Senate Judiciary Committee.

Paiva Weed is a canny politician; She certainly has more to gain by leaving room to maneuver on the same-sex marriage issue than by signaling an unexpected green light just a week into the new legislative session.

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Politics
2:18 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Chafee declares support for eliminating the master lever

Governor Lincoln Chafee is throwing his support behind eliminating the master lever.

“It is time for Rhode Island to join the majority of states and eliminate the Master Lever from the ballot,” said Governor Chafee. “Any mechanism that contributes to voter confusion – and worse, voter disenfranchisement – should not be on the ballot. Its time has come.”

In a news release, the governor says eliminating the master lever will further align Rhode Island with neighboring states and provide its citizens with more open and transparent government. 

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Politics
1:33 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Four new senators added to Judiciary; impact unclear for same-sex marriage

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed unveiled her new selections Tuesday afternoon for the Senate Judiciary Committee with a series of subtractions (Maryellen Goodwin, William Walaska) and additions of newly elected lawmakers (William Conley, Steve Archambault, Lou Raptakis, and Frank Lombardi). What all this means in the coming fight over same-sex marriage isn't entirely clear, although Senate leaders certainly possess the ability to kill the drive for what proponents call "marriage equality." 

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Politics
12:00 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Block attracting support for killing the master lever

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading a new effort to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Rhode Island. Critics say the so-called master lever makes it more difficult to challenge the ruling Democratic Party.

Block has created a Web site, masterlever.org, with an online petition calling for eliminating the master lever. He says straight-ticket voting has a distorting effect on politics in Rhode Island.

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Politics
4:46 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Former federal official calls RI pension case "the mother of all mediations"

A former head of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service -- the government arm mediating Rhode Island's pension dispute among eight parties -- calls the case "the mother of all mediations."

Peter J. Hurtgen, who led the FMCS from 2002 through 2004, says a subset of the eight parties in mediation could potentially reach some areas of agreement among themselves. But he says the complexity of the case makes it unusually fraught for mediation:

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Politics
10:17 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Tobin warns General Assembly against same-sex marriage, calling it "immoral and unnecessary"

In a sign of the intensifying battle to come, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is calling on the General Assembly to not pass a same-sex marriage bill.

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Politics
4:21 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

TGIF: 12 things to know about RI politics + media

A New Year, a new General Assembly session, and the formal/informal start of the 2014 campaign season are upon us. Welcome to another edition of my Friday column. Thanks for reading, and feel free to send me your tips or thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (org). Here's the rundown:

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Politics
3:04 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Pare says tougher gun laws needed to curb violence in RI

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says the state can reduce gun-related violence by passing more stringent laws. Pare says most of the guns used for crime are illegally owned.

Pare says tougher penalties for illegal gun possession helped to dramatically reduce gun-related crime in New York City. He says more stringent punishments could help to have the same effect in Rhode Island.

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Political Roundtable
4:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Political Roundtable: Senator Dawson Hodgson on the economy and same-sex marriage

State Senator Dawson Hodgson
Credit Ian Donnis

State Senator Dawson Hodgson (R-North Kingstown) joins us this week to discuss economic development, same-sex marriage, and why he didn't vote for Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.

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