A legislative task force created in the last General Assembly session to examine the intersection of gun violence and mental health issues has yet to meet. The panel is unlikely to meet a January deadline for reporting its findings.
The head of the state Republican Party is blaming legislative Democrats for failing to improve Rhode Island’s economy. The state’s unemployment rate climbed by a tenth of percent in July, to 8.9 percent.
State GOP chairman Mark Smiley said the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders are wrong to brag about their efforts when the unemployment rate is going in the wrong direction.
On a 40-25 vote, the Rhode Island House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impose a 10-cent toll on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. The move comes after the House last week delayed plans for tolls on the bridge.
Lawmakers said they reversed course because a federal requirement bans the addition of new tolls once a bridge is substantially complete. One opponent of tolls, Tiverton Representative John Edwards, said he hopes the Sakonnet toll might still be eliminated in the future.
In a development unheard of in recent history, the Rhode Island House of Representations ended a 10-hour budget session Wednesday without approving a spending plan. The budget remains 13 million dollars out of balance due to a rare defeat for House leaders.
The debate over how to respond to gun-related violence is heating up at the Statehouse. A lobbyist for the National Rifle Association is slated to brief state reps Wednesday.
NRA lobbyist Darin Goens will offer a briefing at the request of Woonsocket Representative Lisa Baldelli Hunt. The discussion comes as the Assembly is expected to consider a series of gun-related bills later this session.
Students from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design planned to do something different for Valentine’s Day. In an effort to ensure marriage equality in Rhode Island, students planned a rally on College Hill before a march to the Statehouse, where Representative Frank Ferri was scheduled to speak publicly.
Protest organizer Michelle Bailhe says many groups come together in support of marriage equality.
Since World War II, thousands of dogs have served the USA, though their contributions often go unnoticed. Yesterday, the Rhode Island House Veterans’ Affairs Committee considered a bill to set March 13th as a state-wide holiday, “K-9 Veterans’ Day.”
Ron Aiello, President of the United States War Dogs Association, says in the past 10 years, there have been approximately 600 to 700 dog teams in the Middle East at any one time.
House Speaker Gordon Fox is stepping down from the rostrum and taking on another role this weekend- Motown music historian. The house leader has a deep love for the R&B and soul music that came out of the Motor City back in the 1960’s.
When Gordon Fox was a kid, his home was filled with the sounds of Motown. He listened to his sister’s records by the Supremes and Temptations. And every Saturday his mom would dance to Motown while cleaning the house. Fox says as a bi-racial kid growing up, the blend of pop and soul spoke to him.
The House Republican leader is renewing an effort requiring state lawmakers to pay for one-fifth of the cost of their state-provided health insurance. Brian Newberry calls the issue a matter of fairness.