The 2014 political year kicks off in earnest with the start of a new legislative session Tuesday (and the lingering shadow of the unresolved closed-door pension mediation). Thanks for stopping by for my (slightly delinquent, slightly abbreviated) weekly column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Let's get to it.
House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R-Smithfield) joins Bonus Q+A to discuss the upcoming General Assembly session and a variety of other issues, including economic development, the master lever, 38 Studios, the race for governor and more.
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 Republican leader in the Rhode Island House of Representatives is urging lawmakers to reject calls to pay back bonds for failed video game company 38 Studios. Other state officials say a failure to pay back the bonds will hurt the state.
House Minority Leader Brian Newberry says the 6 Republicans in the House will unanimously oppose any effort to repay the 38 Studios bonds. He said legislative Democrats are rushing to judgment on the issue without having done their homework.
The Republican leader in the Rhode Island House says he plans to vote against the state budget next week since it includes money to pay back 38 Studios’ bonds.
GOP leader Brian Newberry was one of two reps abstaining Tuesday when the House Finance Committee approved an 8-point-two billion dollar budget. The spending plan is for the fiscal year starting July first.
Rhode Island and the rest of New England have become foreign territory for Republicans. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why.
Just about every state in New England, and especially Rhode Island, could benefit from robust two-party political competition. Our state’s General Assembly has 113 members. Only 11 caucus with Republicans.