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

Former gubernatorial candidate Ken Block is calling on Governor Gina Raimondo to ask the state Supreme Court for an opinion on the constitutionality of legislative grants.

Happy mid-April, and 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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is banning city-financed travel to North Carolina and Mississippi after those states approved laws limiting access to public services and protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

``The city of Providence is committed to fostering an inclusive environment for everyone who lives, travels, and works here,’’ said Elorza, in a statement. ``We stand in solidarity with residents in North Carolina and Mississippi who are being denied the same rights and protections that anyone should expect.’’

The 2017 military construction and Veterans Administration legislation approved today by the Senate Armed Services Committee on a 30-0 vote includes $20 million for a new National Guard readiness center in East Greenwich, Sen. Jack Reed announced today.

Reed, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said the $20 million will build a new 80,000 square foot readiness center to support training, administrative and logistical requirements for the Rhode Island Army and Air National Guard.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from February to March at 5.4 percent, according to the state Department of Labor and Training. The national unemployment rate is at 5.0 percent and neighboring Massachusetts is at 4.4 percent.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Finance Committee members expressed backing Wednesday for the intention of the state’s new effort to boost tourism, despite the much-publicized mistakes in the initial rollout

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announced that her husband and former President Bill Clinton will campaign for her in in Rhode Island on Thursday, April 14. Former President Clinton will speak at the Community College of Rhode Island Knight Campus in Warwick at 12:30.

The short statement announcing the visit read, "President Clinton will attend a public event where he will discuss why Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to raise wages and break down all the barriers holding families back.’’

Rhode Island's Democratic presidential primary is April 26.

Staci Fischer / RIPR

Heather Abbott, whose injuries sustained in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing spurred her to start a foundation which helps amputees get prosthetic devices, will be the commencement speaker at Providence College’s 98th graduation exercises on May 15 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.

Gage Skidmore

If campaign kick-offs are any indication of the respective strengths of the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, Rhode Island’s April 26th primary will boil down to grass roots Democrats campaigning for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and party leaders supporting Hillary Clinton.

About 250 enthusiastic Sanders acolytes thronged the opening of Sanders Rhode Island headquarters  on Broad Street in Providence this afternoon. They held large light blue `Bernie 2016’  signs and waved them at cars and pedestrians in the South Side neighborhood.

Baseball is back, and the contact sport of politics continues unabated. 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.

Don Borman / RIPR File

  Baseball is back in New England. The Boston Red Sox open their home season this afternoon at Fenway Park and the team hopes to rebound after a last-place finish. Their top minor league club, the Pawtucket Red Sox, face some different challenges this season, says RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Calling it an ``election year stunt,’’ Cranston Mayor Allan Fung has vetoed a City Council ordinance that would establish a $12.50 per hour minimum wage for city employees.

``I cannot burden the taxpayers with what amounts to nothing more than a poorly thought out election year stunt,’’ said Fung in a news release.  ``The proposed ordinance does not have a proper cost-benefit analysis, has no data to support the arbitrary selection of $12, $12.50 or the originally proposed $15.’’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Rep. Karen MacBeth (R-Cumberland) said Tuesday that she believes a rising tide of discontent among Rhode Island voters will boost her campaign against First District Congressman David Cicilline.

Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Basketball icon Bill Walton, one of only four players in history to win multiple NCAA and NBA championships, will deliver the commencement address at New England Institute of Technology’s commencement exercises on May 1 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

Rhode Islanders will particularly remember Walton coming off the bench in 1986 to help the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics to the NBA championship. Walton won the NBA’ s `Sixth Man of the Year’ award that year.

Leon F. Tejada, a former Providence City Council member and state representative, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for devising and executing two tax fraud schemes to steal tax refunds from  76 taxpayers whose returns he prepared and filed.

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