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

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said Monday that conservative Supreme Court nominees by President Donald Trump threaten to strengthen corporate interests while weakening the rights of minority groups and other Americans.

After a quick jaunt out of town, your humble correspondent is back in the Biggest Little. So thanks for stopping by. As usual, your comments and tips are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Friday the investigation into 38 Studios is now closed, although he had hoped to reactivate it and was rebuffed by State Police Col. Ann Assumpico. But Assumpico said there is not persuasive enough evidence to continue the probe at this time.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Supporters launched a new effort Wednesday to strengthen abortion rights in Rhode Island, although it remains unclear if their favored bill will have enough support to clear the General Assembly.

A bill backed by progressive and women lawmakers would codify abortion rights in Rhode Island, even if the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is overturned.

A coalition of six mayors of Rhode Island cities and towns have announced support for Gov. Gina Raimondo’s plan to guarantee two years of tuition-free college at the state’s public higher education institutions.

The mayors are Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Cumberland Mayor William Murray, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa,  and Johnston Mayor Joe Polisena.

The state has reached a $16 million settlement with Hilltop Securities (formerly First Southwest), the last defendant in Rhode Island's lawsuit over 38 Studios.

If the deal wins court approval, there will not be a trial stemming from the state's lawsuit over the 2012 failure of the video game company -- and no testimony from key figures in what proved to be an expensive mistake for the state and its citizens.

Wikimedia Commons

Organized labor has faced tough times in recent years as manufacturing has moved abroad, Republican governors and legislators have gone after public employee unions, and weak labor laws make union organizing more difficult.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Ray Gallison, the Bristol Democrat who formerly chaired the powerful House Finance Committee, has agreed to plead guilty to nine federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and filing false tax returns, investigators announced Monday.

Just another quiet Friday in America, right? Thanks for stopping by as we hurtle into a new area, with lots to watch on the local and national level. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

While all the chatter in Democratic Party circles is on boycotting and protesting Donald Trump’s inauguration, Rhode Island Republicans are planning a celebration of their candidate’s ascension to the White House. The Rhode Island Republican Party is hosting an Inauguration Watch Party at GOP state headquarters at 1800 Post Road in Warwick, in Airport Plaza. There will be a potluck buffet and beverages. The headquarters is outfitted with a bevy of large screen television sets to watch the changing of the guard in Washington, D.C.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island dropped 1,000 jobs in December even as the state’s unemployment rate inched down to 5 percent, from 5.3 percent in November, according to data released today by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The U.S. Unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Thursday presented to the General Assembly a $9.2 billion budget that cuts car tax assessments by 30 percent; offers Rhode Islanders two free years of college tuition; raises the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour, effective in July; and hikes the cigarette tax 50 cents, to $4.25 a pack.

Katie Mulvaney / Press pool photo

Former Cranston State Rep. Peter Palumbo pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges to embezzlement and filing a false document.

The arraignment in Providence District Court lasted about a minute. Wearing a white sweatshirt and jeans, Palumbo was led into the courtroom in handcuffs.

Palumbo, a Democrat, was arrested by State Police earlier in the day at his Cranston home.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, Governor Gina Raimondo's Republican rival from 2014, expressed concern Wednesday about the governor's proposal to give Rhode Islanders two years of free tuition at state institutions of higher learning.

On a day when Raimondo staged a rally at Cranston East High School in support of her plan, Fung responded with a statement.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With her term as governor half-way over, Gina Raimondo used her latest State of the State address to assert she's steering Rhode Island in the right direction and to tout a series of initiatives that could bolster her support among middle-class voters.

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