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/File Photo / RIPR

Robert "Cool Moose" Healey, who shocked political observers in Rhode Island and beyond by attracting more than 20 percent of the gubernatorial vote in 2014 while barely spending any money, and who brought an irreverent yet informed approach to a series of campaigns, has died at age 58.

Barrington police said they were dispatched to Healey's home at about 9:41 pm Sunday for a report of a possible sudden death. Healey's body was found in an upstairs bedroom and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Happy March Madness, 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.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

As the presidential candidates trade barbs on television, and parents worry about whether the result is "family-friendly" viewing, RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says the dialogue could be improved if Americans were better educated about history and civics.

RIPR FILE

Since the 1950s, Providence College basketball has been one of the great stories in all of college basketball.

This year’s edition of the hoop Friars are once again in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year under coach Ed Cooley, a Providence native.

RIPR file photo

Dr. Arun Singh, one of New England’s top cardiac surgeons, is ending surgeries next month after performing more than 20,000 open heart surgeries on adults and children at Rhode Island’s Lifespan hospital system.

Sign’s announcement ``marks the close of a truly remarkable one-of-a-kind era at Rhode Island Hospital and Lifespan,’’ stated Dr. Timothy Babineau, president  and CEO of Lifespan in a message to the hospital community.

Michael Vadon/Creative Commons

Insurgent Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has to offer detailed solutions to the problems he's hammered away at if he's going to win broader GOP support, the chairman of Marco Rubio's Rhode Island campaign said Wednesday.

Trump remains the Republican front-runner, but the party's support remains divided, and some Republicans are unwilling to back Trump.

"I think he has a lot of 'splainin to do on how he's going to do things," Gary Sasse told RIPR.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Tuesday she's open to the possibility of a statewide referendum on legalizing marijuana.

James Baumgartner / RIPR

Even though they are illegal, it’s the season of March Madness and gambling pools.

Now, an East Providence state representative wants to make those bracket basketball bets legal in Rhode Island.

Rep. Gregg Amore, a Democrat, has introduced a bill to make `social gaming’ in private residences, taverns and private clubs legal, so long is there is a `social relationship’ among bettors and no person other than bettors receive anything of value.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence freelance writer Phil Eil has been trying for more than four years to use the Freedom of Information Act request to get access to evidence used in a 2011 drug trial in Ohio. The US Justice Department blamed the defendant in the case, Dr. Paul Volkman, for the overdose death of four patients, and he was sentenced to four consecutive life terms in prison. Yet federal officials have refused to release thousands of pages of trial evidence to Eil, a former Providence Phoenix news editor.

Wikimedia Commons

This week marks two holidays honoring St. Patrick and St. Joseph, the patron saints of Irish and Italian-Americans. All of this has RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay thinking about the rich history of Irish and Italian immigration in Rhode Island and the recent debates about new immigrants. 

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.

RIPR FILE

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, today announced his support for providing Rhode Island drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

In his statement, Bishop Tobin noted that Catholic bishops in the United States have supported enactment of comprehensive immigration reform. ``Until that finally happens, particular, ad hoc issues such as providing drivers licenses for undocumented individuals will inevitably arise,’’ said Tobin.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Citizens Bank announced plans Wednesday to build a new 420,000-square foot corporate campus on an undeveloped parcel on the west side of I-295 in Johnston, to absorb more than 3,200 employees from current office sites in Cranston, East Providence, Warwick and Smithfield.

World Travel and Tourism Council

Robert Redford and Rooney Mara are teaming up to bring Hollywood to Rhode Island. That’s the word from Steve Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film and Television Office.

Redford and Mara will star in "The Discovery," a science-fiction love story set in a world where the existence of the afterlife is scientifically proven.

Redford returns to the Ocean State for the first time since his lead role in "The Great Gatsby," the 1974 movie filmed in Newport, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age novel.

A conservative-leaning citizens group, Rhode Island Taxpayers, is disbanding due to a lack of financial support.

RI Taxpayers began 12 years ago as the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition. It had also been known early on as the Rhode Island Shoreline Coalition.

In a statement, Rhode Island Taxpayers said the group was founded with the idea of raising the voice of citizens in state issues. The organization has pursued that in part with a web site and by using a daily email bulletin to distribute news stories.

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