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.

RIPR file

Former Gov. and U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee is back on the scene with a series of media appearances. Chafee is thinking about running for governor again, but RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay wonders why. 

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The House Finance Committee approved early Friday a $9.2 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. The budget begins a phaseout of the car tax while also launching a new program to offer free college tuition to students at the Community College of Rhode Island.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s economy keeps chugging along, with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in May, which means the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment was below the national rate of 4.3 percent.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The executive editor of The Providence Journal, Alan Rosenberg, said the newspaper is trying to raise its digital game while renewing its coverage of cities and towns outside Providence.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said Tuesday the House has substantial agreement with the Senate and the governor’s office on most issues. Through his spokesman, Mattiello said final details continue to be addressed ahead of the vote.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday outlined four budget priorities that they said will put the state on a path to a better economy.


The two Rhode Island lawmakers who are leading the effort to legalize marijuana in the Ocean State have offered a compromise they call “incremental legalization.”

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday she will appeal a Superior Court decision denying access to grand jury documents in the 38 Studios case.

The court’s presiding justice, Alice Gibney, ruled last month against releasing the grand jury materials. In her decision, Gibney wrote that providing access to the grand jury records would defeat the purpose and role of the grand jury.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Former Warwick state Rep. Joe Trillo said he's continuing to seriously consider a run for governor next year.

“Riding both sides of the fence for political gain is not what Rhode Island needs," Trillo said in a statement Wednesday. "I was the only Rhode Island elected official, including Republicans, to support Donald Trump in July of 2015, when he was one of sixteen Republican candidates for President of the United States. Taxpayers deserve a governor who is willing to stand up for his beliefs and walk the talk.”

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's proposal to eliminate the car tax over six years attracted mostly positive reviews during an initial House Finance Committee hearing Tuesday night. 

June is here, Speaker Mattiello's long-awaited car tax plan has arrived, and the end of the legislative session is coming into view. So 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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island House Speaker Nick Mattiello has put forward a plan to get rid of the car tax. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s a fine plan, but he asks a nettlesome question  – can the state afford it?  

RIPR File Photo

Banning smoking downtown would be an attack on the homeless and a waste of time for city police, who ought to be dealing with real crime, said Elorza.

In his veto message, Elorza said, while this “`ordinance is ostensibly about smoking, its true target is the homeless community. Homelessness is a serious problem in Providence, just as it is in cities across the country. As you are aware, the causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and include substance abuse, mental illness and, of course, economic challenges.”’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello on Tuesday outlined his proposal to eliminate the car tax over six years, asserting that "economic growth and leaner government" will enable the state to make up for an eventual loss of $220 million in revenue to cities and towns each year.

If you come to a fork in the road, take it. So said Yogi Berra, and the expression seems fitting given recent news. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week via the twitters. Here we go.