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.

Full archives of this blog can be found here.

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On Politics
12:05 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

De Ramel gets Patrick Kennedy endorsement for RI secy. of state

Rhode Island’s  Democratic secretary of state primary between Newport investor Guillaume De Ramel and Nellie Gorbea is shaping up as one of the state’s most interesting down ballot elections in  this 2014 campaign cycle.

De Ramel will announce this afternoon that he has secured the endorsement of  former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, who represented the state’s First District from his first election in 1994 until he decided against running for reelection in 2010.

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On Politics
1:02 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

R.I. inequality: Get past the cliches and seek solutions

With all the attention given by R.I. media to economic inequality, one wonders why serious discussion of   solutions has gone AWOL.

Just about everybody agrees that inequality has grown for the past three decades. With Rhode Island’s anemic recovery from the Great Recession, the problem is deeper in our small corner of southeastern New England.

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On Politics
3:01 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Guest TGIF: Five Things to Know About the Open Meetings Act

Your humble correspondent took a few days off before the Memorial Day weekend. So we're diverting from our usual TGIF this week, turning the space over for a guest column by John Marion, executive director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, on the highly relevant theme of government transparency and open meetings. Take it away, John ....

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On Politics
1:18 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Scharfenberg, Former Providence Phoenix News Editor, Headed to the Boston Globe

Kudos and congrats to former Providence Phoenix news editor David Scharfenberg, who is set to join the Boston Globe's Statehouse reporting team.

Scharfenberg left the Phoenix last year to cover politics for WBUR, the Boston public radio station. He begins at the Globe June 9, as one of two new hires at the daily.

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On Politics
3:42 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

The inconvenient master lever truth

Here is the voting data:

Providence is Rhode Island’s most diverse municipality. The capital city is home to just about every segment of  Rhode Island’s rich ethnic, racial and socio-economic  mix.

Thus Providence is a reliable prism through which to view the never-ending debate over the master lever. What the data show is that the some of the proponents of abolishing it have, as  Ricky Riccardo used to say to Lucy on the old Lucille Balll Show, ``some 'splanin to do.’’

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On Politics
1:01 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Mattiello, DeSimone Set for NYC Meetings with Moody's & S&P

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Majority Leader John DeSimone plan to meet with representatives of two leading credit-rating agencies in New York City Wednesday to gather information about the possible consequences of not paying back bondholders in the failed video game company 38 Studios.

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On Politics
5:01 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

TGIF: 12 Things to Know About Rhode Island Politics & Media

Thanks for stopping by for my Friday column. You can follow me through the week on the twitters and your thoughts and feedback are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's head in.

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On Politics
4:42 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Where is the R.I. Minimum Wage debate?

While economists and media outlets from Providence to Seattle engage in hand-wringing over inequality, Rhode Island’s political leaders seem to have no solutions at all. Smith Hill is bogged down in ridiculous debates over the master lever and the never-ending tsunami that is 38 Studios. Yet, we don’t hear much of anything about raising the state’s minimum wage from the current $8 an hour rate.

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On Politics
9:00 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Fiscal Advisers Say More Info Need to Decide 38 Studios' Repayment Question

URI's Leonard Lardaro speaks to House Oversight.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Outside fiscal advisers told the House Oversight Committee Thursday that lawmakers need more information to decide the merits of paying debt related to the failed video game company 38 Studios.

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Scott MacKay Commentary
3:40 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Scott MacKay Commentary: RI Master Lever Myths

State lawmakers have been fighting over the master lever for years, but how much does it really matter?
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Eliminating the master lever in Rhode Island elections is picking up steam in the General Assembly. RIPR political analyst  Scott MacKay says getting rid of straight party voting may be much ado about not much.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to end the so-called master lever, a relic of the state’s urban political machine past. A conga line of statewide elected politicians, from Gov. Lincoln Chafee down to Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, support this change.

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