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.

The New Year has begun, and that means it’s time for a new legislative session on Smith Hill. Lawmakers are expected to take up a range of issues, from car taxes to a budget deficit, and perhaps recreational marijuana. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down for a preview of the legislative session with our political analyst Scott MacKay.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017! Welcome to my last TGIF column of 2016, and thanks for following my reports throughout the year. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Matt Bucci, who has served as one of Governor Gina Raimondo's top aides since she took office in January 2015, is leaving for a private sector job at the end of January.

Bucci will be joining the Providence office of AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering, design, construction and management company. His work will be with the company's growth and strategy division, which will not include lobbying or government relations, said Raimondo's communications director, Mike Raia.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Peter Garino, the chief operating officer at the state Department of Transportation, is leaving state employment after less than two years with RIDOT.

Garino was hired as Peter Alviti's deputy in February 2015, one month after Governor Gina Raimondo took office.

Cranston businessman John Hazen White Jr. gave House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello almost twice the state's legal limit for campaign contributions for an individual in 2016.

White made contributions to Matttiello of $1,000 on December 5, and of $200 on January 18, according to the state Board of Elections web site. In addition, White said he personally paid about $750 for an ad endorsing Mattiello that ran in the Cranston Herald shortly before the November 8 election.

State law limits contributions by individuals to a particular candidate to $1,000 in a single calendar year.

RIPR FILE

Former Providence city archivist Paul Campbell, who was fired last year, has reached a settlement of his grievance against city government.

Campbell said he received a "modest’’ cash settlement that he would not disclose and an additional six months of pension time, bringing his total pension years with the city to about 15 years.

The city also acknowledged, through its lawyer, that Campbell "is a highly regarded individual in his field. He’s a historian and has done excellent service to the city of Providence in the city archives.’’

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes to all for the holidays. 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.

Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons License

Last week, a Democratic-fueled effort to get electoral college delegates to switch their votes failed to gain traction or block the election of Republican Donald Trump, who won a majority in the Electoral College but lost the popular vote.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo has had an eventful 2016 -- from a string of recent job announcements to the troubled rollouts of the state's new tourism campaign and the new IT system for administering human service benefits. 

Bill Koplitz / Creative Commons License

Rhode Island is likely to lose one of its two U.S. House seats after the 2020 U.S. Census, according to projections by reapportionment guru Kimball W. Brace, who has for many years helped Rhode Island lawmakers draw both state legislative and congressional districts.

This comes as scant surprise to Rhode Island political insiders and the local gang of 500 that follows such news. House seats are based on population, while each state gets two senators, regardless of how many people live in a state.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

A new nonprofit corporation, The Partnership for Rhode Island, said it plans to focus on promoting economic growth in Rhode Island.

The group filed incorporation papers with the state last Friday. The partnership’s initial officers are the CEOs of Hasbro, Brian Goldner; CVS Health, Larry Merlo; and the Rhode Island Foundation, Neil Steinberg; and Don Sweitzer, chairman of IGT Global Solutions (formerly known as GTECH). The Rhode Island Foundation will serve as fiscal agent for the organization while it seeks 501c (3) status.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In this season of peace and good will to all, now comes RI House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, R-West Warwick, to rip down the mistletoe, knock over the menorah and pour paint thinner in the eggnog.

What else can we take from her ill-advised legislation to "allow" teachers to say Merry Christmas to students and teach them about the history of the various traditions of winter holidays. Talk about a solution looking for a problem.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With the new General Assembly session set to start in just under two weeks, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello sat down to discuss some of the top issues facing the legislature.

Ian Donnis/File Photo

Rhode Island lawmakers return to the State House on January 3. In advance of the new session, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed looks back at 2016 and ahead to 2017.

In no particular order, the best of what I read in 2016 and some titles I’m looking forward to in the new year. These thoughts are particularly my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of RIPR or anyone else.

FICTION:

"The Sellout" by Paul Beatty: The first American author to win the Man Booker Prize spins a raucous, satirical tale about race in America, set in Los Angeles. Mordant humor abounds.

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