On Politics

Rhode Island Public Radio's political blog. Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis keep you up-to-date with the latest in political news from around Rhode Island.

We also have PODCASTS of regular politics coverage, too!

Pre-2013 archives of the On Politics​ blog can be found here.

February is black history month, a time when we celebrate the contributions of African-Americans. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says that when it comes to the Rhode Island judiciary, there isn’t much to cheer.

Of the 85 judges and magistrates in the Rhode Island court system, just three are African-American. When it comes to the judiciary, says Jim Vincent, president of the NAACP, the “`judiciary is one of the most egregious, in terms of the lack of diversity.”

Happy weekend! 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 days are getting longer. The General Assembly is back. And yes, the pols have been cooperating – from the White House to the State House –with the usual shenanigans.

The last Friday in February is fast approaching. Rhode Island political junkies know what that means – as the song trills – It’s Follies Time at the Veeeenusss  DeeMilo, the Veeenus….

State General Treasurer Seth Magaziner joins Bonus Q&A this week to discuss financial regulation, the outlook for Providence pension, the heavy unfunded liabilities for municipalities' retiree health care, and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Wednesday blamed state vendor Deloitte for delivering what she called a defective IT system for administering human service benefits. Raimondo also apologized to Rhode Islanders for ongoing problems with the Unified Health Infrastructure Project system.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A state Republican Party complaint filed Tuesday with the state Board of Elections charges that House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's political action committee exceeded limits on campaign contributions last year.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

State Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts resigned from her post Tuesday, just ahead of the latest update on problems with the state $364 million Unified Health Infrastructure Project, or UHIP.

Wikimedia Commons / CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE

Barrington middle schools have decided to end publicizing its student honor roll. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this is a good idea.  


The Patriots won a Super Bowl for the ages, the Red Sox are starting to stir in Florida, and the political beat continues to run hot here in the Ocean State. So thanks for stopping by. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Following the approval of the final settlement in the state's lawsuit over 38 Studios, Governor Gina Raimondo said Friday she will file a Superior Court petition early next week seeking the release of grand jury materials from a related investigation.

Meanwhile, the governor's office said State Police Col. Ann Assumpico has directed her department to review and release as soon as possible non-grand jury-related materials from Rhode Island's criminal probe of 38 Studios.

Courtesy of Whitehouse office.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., took to the Senate floor this evening to back colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, who was stopped from reading a letter in the Senate from civil rights icon Coretta Scott King about Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed offered sharply contrasting views Wednesday on the merits of Governor Gina Raimondo's proposal to give Rhode Islanders two years of free tuition at CCRI, RIC, or URI.

John Bender / RIPR

The NFL is designed to be the parity league. Dynasties aren’t supposed to happen. A limit on player salaries  allots each team the same payroll. Last place teams get the top college draft choices; first place get the last picks.

The Patriots have shattered that image and the NFL's design.  The Brady-Belichick era has produced five super bowl titles, the most improbable on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

KATIE MULVANEY / PRESS POOL PHOTO

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday fined former state rep. Peter Palumbo $1,000 for a bidding on a state contract while serving as a lawmaker.

In 2013, Palumbo bid to operate food and other concessions at Roger Wheeler, Scarborough and Misquamicut state beaches. He was serving as a state rep from Cranston at the time.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said Monday that conservative Supreme Court nominees by President Donald Trump threaten to strengthen corporate interests while weakening the rights of minority groups and other Americans.

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