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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The revised bill to fix Rhode Island's crumbling bridges through new tolls on big trucks appears head to fast final passage before the end of the week, despite warnings from critics who see the plan as a threat to the state's economy.

On a 14-4 vote, House Finance Committee approved the so-called RhodeWorks bill. Rep. Ray Hull (D-Providence) joined three committee Republicans, Patricia Morgan of West Warwick, Daniel Reilly of Portsmouth, and Anthony Giarrusso of East Greenwich in opposing the measure.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Thousands of admirers of Buddy Cianci streamed to City Hall Saturday and Sunday, during a two-day public wake, to pay their respects to the storied former mayor of Providence.

Rick Simone, a former Cianci aide, estimated that 3,500 people turned out by mid-afternoon Sunday, about the same number that came to see the former mayor lying in respose during six hours on Saturday.

Budget. Truck Tolls. Presidential Politics. It's all going on, so 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.

Mourners can pay respects to the late Buddy Cianci at City Hall on Saturday and Sunday (Feb 6 and 7). His body will lie in repose at City Hall from noon to 6 p.m. both days. Those wishing to pay respects should enter via the Washington Street City Hall entrance.

The debate over Governor Gina Raimondo's proposal to use truck tolls to pay for fixing Rhode Island's troubled bridges resumed in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

State DOT director Peter Alviti touted the plan known as RhodeWorks as a way to upgrade bridges, promote safety for drivers, and create jobs.

"As a native Rhode Islander, as a civil engineer, I ask that you approve this plan and allow us to bring the many talents of our Rhode Island workforce to bear in fixing our infrastructure," Alviti said.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo unveiled a $9 billion budget Tuesday night, touting it as a way to grow Rhode Island's economy while making the state more hospitable to business.

John Bender / RIPR

Billy Reynolds, the longtime Providence Journal columnist who is one of the nation’s very best basketball writers, has written a remarkable new book entitled Hope: A School, A Team, A Dream.

Attracting business, boosting the skills of workers, and improving Rhode Island's business climate are expected to be among the focal points of Governor Gina Raimondo's second budget proposal.

The governor will unveil her spending plan at 7 pm Tuesday during the annual State of the State address

The inimitable Buddy Cianci passes from the Rhode Island scene, making waves even after his death. 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.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Islanders will have a  chance to pay final respects to Buddy Cianci later this week, when his body lies in repose at City Hall. Even in death, Rhode Islanders debate the legacy of Providence's longest-serving mayor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay shares his thoughts on Cianci.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo reversed course Friday on an earlier decision not to order flags at half-staff in recognition of the death Thursday of former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci.

Spokeswoman Marie Aberger said Raimondo reflected on her earlier decision and decided to order flags to be lowered at half-staff because "it was the right thing to do, and out of respect for the office that Buddy held for 20 years."

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Rhode Island’s legendary rascal king, Buddy Cianci, died Thursday morning.

Cianci was hospitalized with stomach pain while taping ABC6 On the Record, a TV show, Wednesday night.

He died at age 74 at about 8:30 Thursday morning, according to a former aide, Artin Coloian.

Greg Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons License

Former Rhode Island Republican governor Lincoln Almond has agreed to support former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. Almond says he believes that Bush is the best choice among the large field of Republican presidential aspirants.

``I’m very friendly with the Bush family and have been for many years,’’ Almond said in an interview. Almond cited Bush’s tenure as Florida governor and his leading role in education policy.

Ian Donnis

During a lunchtime conversation with reporters Tuesday, Governor Gina Raimondo offered fresh details on the state's pursuit of General Electric, touted what she cited as a positive series of steps on economic development, and called on Rhode Islanders to be more receptive to different ways of pursuing government initiatives.

Gas prices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts  continue to drop. That’s the latest word from the American Automobile Association.

Gas prices have dropped by three cents per gallon in both states. The Triple-A’s survey of prices in Massachusetts finds the average gallon of self-serve, regular unleaded gas at $1.84 per gallon.

The Rhode Island, that same gallon carries an average cost of $1.91. ``Crude oil prices haven’t been this low since 2003,’’ says Mary McGuire, AAA spokeswoman.

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