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.

Courtesy of Chris Torres

Rhode Island Working Families, the new progressive/labor advocacy group, has hired Chris Torres, an experienced organizer with past Ocean State experience, as its state director. Torres is slated to formally start his new job November 15.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday that a newly released impact study on her truck toll plan shows that the proposal will help Rhode Island’s economy.

The study by Regional Economic Models predicts the toll plan could boost the state’s gross domestic product by $538 million. The study also predicts the governor’s toll proposal will create a net increase of more than 6,000 jobs.

In a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he’s digesting the impact study.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Mayor Jorge Elorza’s administration has reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union of North America, which represents city employees in City Hall, the School Department and the Parks and Public Works Departments.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A half-dozen Republican lawmakers unveiled a proposal Wednesday to steer $875 million to improving Rhode Island's decrepit bridges over 10 years without imposing tolls on trucks and without the borrowing costs in a competing plan backed by Governor Gina Raimondo.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A coalition of five advocacy groups wants Rhode Island lawmakers to declare whether or not they support thorough legislative hearings and an outside investigation to document what went wrong with 38 Studios.

Hurricane Joaquin blows toward Rhode Island as the state remains vexed by its own ring of challenges: the hangover of 38 Studios, trying to modernize state agencies, financially troubled fire districts, you name it. Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state Department of Transportation is negotiating a possible consent decree with the US Justice Department due to environmental damage caused by years of inadequately monitored runoff on highways around the state.

Courtesy of Hinckley Allen

Malcolm "Mac" Farmer III will receive the Family Service of Rhode Island’s Brighter Futures Award, which is given annually to a person or organization making an "outstanding contribution to the well-being of children.’’

Democratic presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee said Monday he's looking forward to taking part in debate being staged by October 13 in Las Vegas.

"I look forward to joining the other distinguished Democratic candidates CNN has invited to debate the issues on October 13th," Chafee said in a statement. "I know from my previous campaigns that voters highly value the chance to assess the candidates in a debate format."

Chafee has attracted barely any support since he announced his campaign in April.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The 38 Studios lawsuit disclosures have once again cast a cloud over the Rhode Island Statehouse. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders when Rhode Islanders will finally be fed up enough to bring change to Smith Hill.

There will be a day when Rhode Island moves beyond 38 Studios, but that day is a long time off. The public release Thursday of tens of thousands of pages of documents is just one more step toward trying to get a better understanding of Rhode Island's most recent scandal. So with that in mind, thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender

Former Gov. Lincoln Chafee, now seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, weighed in this afternoon on the release of the 38 Studios court documents.

It was Chafee, a vigorous opponent of the 38 Studios deal when he was running for governor in 2010, who later hired lawyer Max Wistow to file suit against principals in the deal. 38 Studios went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers holding the bag for $75 million in state-backed bonds to the company run by former Boston Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling.

Providence Diocese

One of the most interesting aspects of how the historic visit of Pope Francis resonates in Rhode Island is how Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence reacts to the message of His Holiness.

Rhode Island’s bishop has carved a reputation as a staunch and outspoken defender of conservative, traditional teachings. Tobin has often been vitriolic and rough in his criticism of liberal positions on such social and cultural issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

During a closed session on June 9, 2010, the board of Rhode Island's Economic Development Corporation received a briefing on what then-Governor Don Carcieri suggested was a "fairly significant transaction" that had presented itself to the EDC.

Democratic operative Peter Baptista is taking a job doing government sales with SAS, the global software and analytics company, RIPR has learned.

Baptista led Rhode Island Democrats' coordinated campaign last year, when the party completely shut out Republicans in races for state and federal offices for the first time in decades.