John Bender

Reporter

John started at RIPR in 2013 as the Morning Edition producer; researching stories, interviewing newsmakers, and writing scripts for stories every morning.  Plus special projects and regular reporting on major events.  In early 2017 he was promoted to "general assignment" reporter.  Whatever's happening in the news today?  That's what John is covering. 

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RIPR FILE

DACA recipients living in Rhode Island now have the guaranteed right to drive and work. Governor Gina Raimondo is set to signed new protections into law Monday afternoon.

Newport Preservation Society

The controversial new welcome center at the Breakers mansion in Newport opened Thursday, as part of the Newport Preservation Society’s annual meeting. The nonprofit, which runs the Gilded-Age mansion estimated hundreds, including Governor Gina Raimondo, were expected to turn up.

RIPR FILE

National concerns about abortion protections have trickled into Rhode Island’s approaching Democratic Primary.

Candidate Matt Brown, the former Secretary of State says he has a more progressive stance on the issue than incumbent, Governor Gina Raimondo.

He distributed a letter supporting his view that was signed by numerous abortion-rights supporters, including Gloria Steinem.

Brown points to the fact that the state offers more health insurance plans that exclude abortion coverage on the state exchange, HealthSource RI, than mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s new truck toll gantries have barely been live a full day, and already  the Rhode Island Trucking Association says it expects to be part of litigation against new tolls.

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island’s U.S. Senators are taking aim at a new federal policy that separates children from families crossing into the country illegally. The issue already has sparked protests locally by immigrant and child-welfare advocates.

The policy, announced by the Trump administration in April, seeks criminal prosecution for adults crossing the border illegally. That would involve separating children from the adults

John Bender / RIPR

Randi Weingarten, leader of the American Federation of Teachers, was in Providence this afternoon. The union leader toured a public elementary school and high school. She’s urging support for a statewide bond to pay for school building repairs.

During her visit to Mt. Pleasant high school, Weingarten criticized Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza over a teacher contract dispute between his office and city teachers that has dragged on over the last year. She accused Elorza of being inflexible in his approach to working with teachers.

Rhode Island has given away more than $160 million dollars in a tax incentive program meant to increase hiring. A new state study finds the tax breaks may have been worth it.

The study is one of about a dozen reports expected this summer analyzing the state’s tax credit and incentive programs. The findings follow a Rhode Island Public Radio report which raised questions about the effectiveness of these programs.

RIPR FILE

Interns, volunteers, and nannies are all either unmentioned or specifically excluded from harassment and other protections under Rhode Island's Fair Employment Practices Act. 

John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Island has banned the use and sale of bump stocks, and now allows the court-ordered removal of firearms from individuals deemed dangerous. Governor Gina Raimondo signed the bills into law Friday.

The two gun control measures moved through the general assembly swiftly following several high-profile shootings across the country, notably the February attack at a high school in Parkland Florida which left 17 people dead. The bill passed despite protests from gun rights activists, who say it does not address the illegal firearms trade.

John Bender / RIPR

Immigrant rights activists protested in front of the Customs and Border Protection office in Cranston Friday. The local group was spurred to action by two recent federal immigration controversies.

The first was the revelation in April that the U.S. Government has been unable to contact some 1,500 undocumented children, placed with sponsors across the U.S.

The second was the May announcement by the Trump administration that it would press criminal charges against people crossing the border without authorization, which would involve separating minors from their parents.

Aaron Read / RIPR

It wasn't just any pothole.

It was more like a void, measuring four feet long and four feet wide. And it caused a traffic jam for miles.

Construction crews spent time late Thursday evening filling in the giant pothole, which opened up on Intersate 195.

The hole was the reason for snarled traffic around Providence Wednesday afternoon and evening. The state Department of Transportation says the problem is now fixed.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

When census testing wraps up in Providence County, we’ll get the newest snapshot of the residents around Rhode Island’s capital city. The results will also give us a sense for how segregated the metro area is.

John Bender / RIPR

In an overwhelming majority, the Rhode Island Senate passed two bills aimed at curbing gun violence in Rhode Island.

One bill would allow for the court-ordered seizure of firearms from individuals deemed dangerous, also known as a red flag policy. The other bans modifications to guns, allowing them to shoot off bullets at a higher rate.

Jennifer Boylan regularly advocates for gun control at the Statehouse as a volunteer with Moms Demand Action. She hopes the General Assembly will move forward on other gun control measures.

Matt Sledge / Creative Commons License via flickr

If you face foreclosure in Rhode Island, you’re guaranteed a sit-down with your bank, to try and mediate a deal. But that guarantee is set to expire in July.

That has housing advocates and local leaders concerned that foreclosures will once again blight neighborhoods with abandoned properties. They’re pushing legislation that would extend the program, until at least 2023.     

Adopted in 2013, after the housing crisis, some 700 homeowners have avoided foreclosure as a result of these mediation session, according to Barbara Fields, director of Rhode Island Housing.  

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