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 crash of the 38 Studios-Curt Schilling video game deal has sent shivers through Rhode Island’s economic development efforts. RIPR’s Scott MacKay has some thoughts on how we can get our jobs mojo back.

It is bad enough that Rhode Island state government has become a national laughingstock and media piñata for the foolish $75 million taxpayer bet on Red Sox legend Schilling’s ill-fated video game foray.

The Providence Journal, the state’s largest newspaper and the local arm of the Texas-based Belo Corporation,  has long called in editorials for non-profit institutions in the capital city to pay more to support city government. This has led the newspaper to support Mayor Angel Taveras’ efforts to get more payments-in-lieu of taxes from Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Providence College, Women& Infants Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital.

John Igliozzi announced during a meeting this evening of the Providence City Council’s Finance Committee that he’ll be stepping down as FinCom chairman, effective July 1.

US Senator Scott Brown, who is casting himself as a centrist as he seeks re-election, is the headline for a July 2 fundraiser for GOP congressional candidate Brendan Doherty in East Providence:

Music will be provided by the Reggie Centracchio Quintet during the time at Metacomet Country Club.

Contribution levels range from $100 for “friend,” to $2500 for members of the “Colonel’s Club.”

  State Representative Robert Watson – the sometimes bombastic and always quotable East Greenwich Republican who served for years as the articulate voice of GOP opposition in the House — is leaving the General Assembly after more than two decades.

Former RI state police col. Brendan Doherty of   Cumberland , the GOP candidate for U.S. House in the 1st District, has been moving his feet lately. Besides picking up endorsements from some Democrats, including onetime Boston Mayor Ray Flynn (a PC basketball star), former Newport State Rep. Jimmy Mahoney and former RI State Rep. Joanne Giannini of Providence’s Mount Pleasant district, Doherty has been holding meet-and-greets and fund-raisers almost every evening.

State Revenue Director Rosemary Booth Gallogly has strong words for state Representatives Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, Jon Brien, and Robert Phillips after they failed to back a supplemental tax for cash-strapped Woonsocket in last-minute negotiations in the waning hours of the legislative session:

Efforts to give voters the option of restoring oversight of the General Assembly by the state Ethics Commission are going nowhere fast in the close of the legislative session.

One of the most interesting legislative races for 2012 — the District 8 seat held by state Representative Michael Tarro (D-Providence) – is about to come into sharper focus.

A journalism scholarship fund has been established in the name of Peter Lord, the superb Providence Journal environmental reporter who died in April. The deadline for making contributions — June 30 — is fast approaching, as a family member notes:

Former Boston mayor and Vatican ambassador Ray Flynn is set to take part in a “Democrats for Doherty” event June 14 at a leading Democratic redoubt, Patrick’s Pub in Providence, according to the Republican candidate’s campaign:

As the General Assembly rushes to rap up the legislative year, the state Senate is slated to consider at 2 pm today the nominations of Luis Matos (as a Superior Court judge) and Mary McElroy (as state Public Defender).

Also on tap are the nominations of former lawmaker Charles Levesque as magistrate of the Family Court, and House legal counsel John Flynn as Drug Court magistrate of Superior Cour

House Speaker Gordon Fox cut a comfortable figure on the rostrum last night as the chamber made its way through another mind-numbing 12-hour budget debate, adjourning shortly before 4 am with an $8.1 billion spending plan.

When Representative Daniel Gordon invoked Moses (“Let my people go!” Gordon said, in a protest of possible tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, Fox had a game response. “Should I touch this?” Fox said to rippling laughter from the reps. ”Because, Representative Gordon, if you truly can channel Moses and you can part those seas, we don’t even need the bridges!”

The nursing school that was to be shared by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College is on life support. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this project became a victim of our state’s legendary turf battles.

When it was proposed two years ago, the plan to build a new $60 million nursing school in Providence’s Jewelry District was what politicians, business leaders and educators like to call a “win-win.’’

Inquiring minds in the state public defenders office and beyond are wondering just what kind of game Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, is playing with Governor Lincoln Chafee’s nomination of Mary S. McElroy to be the state’s chief public defender.

McElroy has stellar credentials and 20 years experience in the public defender’s office.  She would also be the first woman to hold the job.