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.

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On Politics
5:02 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

TGIF: 20 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

Happy spring (although it may not feel like it for days, if not weeks), and thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me on the twitters. Let's head in.

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On Politics
2:08 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Scott MacKay Commentary: Time For A Rhode Island Pension Deal

Votes are set to be cast this week for a settlement in the state's pension lawsuit.
Credit RIPR FILE

Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.

It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared  the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.

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On Politics
6:06 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Supporters, Opponents Square Off On Raising RI's $2.89 Sub-Minimum Wage

Bartender/server Kate Conroy calls the sub-minimum wage a poverty wage.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new coalition held a Statehouse news conference Thursday to press for an increase in the state’s $2.89 sub-minimum wage. Supporters call this a matter of fairness, since the sub-minimum wage hasn’t changed in 20 years. But the restaurant industry says higher wages would lead to higher food prices.

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On Politics
11:47 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Raimondo Discusses Budget and More on R.I. Public Political Roundtable Tomorrow A.M.

Gov. Gina Raimondo joins RIPR Political Roundtable tomorrow for a discussion of her first budget and other topics. She talks about the Taylor Swift tax, the Medicaid cuts, the medical insurance tax, her economic development proposals, thePawSox move and more. Tune in tomorrow morning for Political Roundtable and Bonus Q &A with the governor and panelists Ian Donnis, Scott MacKay and Maureen Moakley. If you miss it, the entire interview with be posted at RIPR.org

On Politics
2:02 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

RI ACLU Sues DEA on Eil's Behalf; Seeks Release of Documents in Major Drug-Prescription Trial

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the case of former Providence Phoenix news editor Phil Eil, suing the US Drug Enforcement Administration to try to gain the release of thousands of pages of court documents in a major drug-prescription trial.

The ACLU said Eil has been stymied for more than three years in trying to obtain the documents.

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On Politics
6:14 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Rep Lally Resigns; Susan Cicilline Buonanno Wants to Succeed Him

Representative Donald Lally (D-Narragansett), the second-longest serving member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, announced his resignation on Tuesday. A short time later, Susan Cicilline Buonanno, the sister of US Representative David Cicilline, unveiled her candidacy for the seat being vacated by Lally.

The special election to replace Lally has been scheduled for June 9 by Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.

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On Politics
5:56 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Raimondo Backs Possible Pension Settlement "On the Right Terms"

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Tuesday said she'll continue to back a settlement to high-stakes pension litigation "on the right terms to the state."

As state treasurer, Raimondo spearheaded the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system that shaved about $4 billion from the state's long-term obligations., The savings were achieved by raising retirement ages, suspending cost of living adjustments and moving workers from a defined benefit plan to a hybrid defined contribution plan.

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On Politics
4:18 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

RI DEM reduces Striped Bass Catch For 2015 Season

In what Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management chief Janet Coit says is an effort to protect the striper fishery, DEM today filed new regulations for the recreational striped bass fishery for the 2015 fishing season.

The new rules set a bag limit of one striped bass per person per day, at a 28-inch minimum size, down from a daily limit of two fish per person last season. On the commercial side, the regulations will remain the same as last year – five fish per vessel per day, with a 34 inch minimum. But the commercial quota will be reduced by 25 percent.

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On Politics
2:14 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Wendy Nilsson appointed by Elorza as Providence Parks Supt.

Burnside Park in downtown Providence.
Credit Jeff Nickerson

  Wendy Nilsson has been appointed the new superintendent of the Providence Parks and Recreation Department, Mayor Jorge Elorza announced today.

Nilsson is founder and director of the Partnership for Providence Parks, a non-profit organization that brings community, business and citizen resources together to improve city parks. She has also worked with the Boston Community Centers and the Rhode Island Department of Education. Nilsson holds a master’s degree in education.

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On Politics
12:19 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day And St. Joseph's Day Celebrations Tomorrow At Statehouse

The annual Statehouse celebration of holidays held dear by Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18) at 4 p.m. at the Capitol.

This annual event is a traditional one: The patron saints of Ireland (St. Patrick) and Italy (St. Joseph) are celebrated in song, speech and glasses hoisted in toasts. Frank O’Donnell, a well-known Rhode Island comedian, has been selected to deliver the annual speech about the Irish heritage in Rhode Island. On the Italian side, Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, will speak about Italian heritage.

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