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.

Albert T. Klyberg, a prolific teacher, researcher, Rhode Island historian and for nearly three decades the executive director of the Rhode Island Historical Society, died last night in his sleep. He was 76.

Klyberg ran the society during a period of rapid expansion. Under his leadership, the society grew to include the Robinson Research Center, the Aldrich House on Providence’s East Side, and the Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The state Ethics Commission is moving ahead with an ethics complaint against Providence City Council President Luis Aponte.

The commission on Tuesday found probable cause for the complaint to go to an administrative trial. A settlement is also a possibility.

Welcome to my first TGIF column of 2017, and thanks for stopping by. 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 Nicholas Mattiello wants to get rid of the car tax. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says this is a good idea, if lawmakers can find the money to pay for it.

RI House of Representatives

Matt Jerzyk, a familiar presence at the Statehouse, started in a new role Wednesday as chief legal counsel for House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi, RIPR has learned.

Jerzyk came to Smith Hill as deputy legal counsel for Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in November 2014, with a salary of $99,072. He is also the part-time city solicitor for Central Falls.

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Aaron Read RIPR

Rhode Island Public Radio has inked a deal to acquire the radio station of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. The purchase will increase the potential audience for the only public radio station based in Rhode Island.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello doubled down Tuesday on his pledge to begin a phaseout in 2017 of the state's unpopular car tax. 

The New Year has begun, and that means it’s time for a new legislative session on Smith Hill. Lawmakers are expected to take up a range of issues, from car taxes to a budget deficit, and perhaps recreational marijuana. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down for a preview of the legislative session with our political analyst Scott MacKay.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017! Welcome to my last TGIF column of 2016, and thanks for following my reports throughout the year. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Matt Bucci, who has served as one of Governor Gina Raimondo's top aides since she took office in January 2015, is leaving for a private sector job at the end of January.

Bucci will be joining the Providence office of AECOM, a Los Angeles-based engineering, design, construction and management company. His work will be with the company's growth and strategy division, which will not include lobbying or government relations, said Raimondo's communications director, Mike Raia.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Peter Garino, the chief operating officer at the state Department of Transportation, is leaving state employment after less than two years with RIDOT.

Garino was hired as Peter Alviti's deputy in February 2015, one month after Governor Gina Raimondo took office.

Cranston businessman John Hazen White Jr. gave House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello almost twice the state's legal limit for campaign contributions for an individual in 2016.

White made contributions to Matttiello of $1,000 on December 5, and of $200 on January 18, according to the state Board of Elections web site. In addition, White said he personally paid about $750 for an ad endorsing Mattiello that ran in the Cranston Herald shortly before the November 8 election.

State law limits contributions by individuals to a particular candidate to $1,000 in a single calendar year.

RIPR FILE

Former Providence city archivist Paul Campbell, who was fired last year, has reached a settlement of his grievance against city government.

Campbell said he received a "modest’’ cash settlement that he would not disclose and an additional six months of pension time, bringing his total pension years with the city to about 15 years.

The city also acknowledged, through its lawyer, that Campbell "is a highly regarded individual in his field. He’s a historian and has done excellent service to the city of Providence in the city archives.’’

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and best wishes to all for the holidays. 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.

Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons License

Last week, a Democratic-fueled effort to get electoral college delegates to switch their votes failed to gain traction or block the election of Republican Donald Trump, who won a majority in the Electoral College but lost the popular vote.

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