constitutional convention

Lawyer and former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss the state pension dispute, government reform, Providence finances, public education, and more.

For more Flanders, listen to his conversation with us on Political Roundtable.

Our panel of RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay, URI political science professor Maureen Moakley, politics/economics reporter Ted Nesi, and yours truly talk about the state's four down-ballot races and the back and forth over convening a constitutional convention.

Voters will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a Constitutional Convention, known as the ConCon. This is a delegation of elected representative who would recommend changes to the state’s constitution.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay gathered two men for a lively debate: Phil West, retired Executive Director of Common Cause of Rhode Island for the ConCon and Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island against it.


When Rhode Islanders head to polls next week, they will face an important issue that a recent poll shows most Rhode Islanders don’t either know about or understand. To shed some light on the issue, Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay takes a look at the Constitutional Convention.

Scott MacKay’s commentary can be heard every Monday morning at 6:35 and 8:35 on Morning Edition and again during All Things Considered. You can also follow him at the “On Politics” blog.

John Bender / RIPR

Former delegates to the 1986 Constitutional Convention are speaking out against the event Rhode Islanders will vote on November 4th. 

1986 was the last time the state held a Constitutional Convention.  The state can hold one once every ten years, pending voter approval.  Delegates are elected to the convention which creates legislation then voted on by the public; bypassing the general assembly.  Critics say the delegates can be easily swayed by special interest groups, because they are not seeking reelection.  Tom Izzo was a delegate in 1986.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

We're looking at the lieutenant governor's race as part of Rhody Votes '14.  Rhode Island Public Radio’s Scott MacKay sat down with Dan McKee to talk about health insurance, a Constitutional Convention, and whether the office should even exist. 

Listen to Scott MacKay's interview with the Republican running for lieutenant governor, Catherine Taylor, here.  For all of our election coverage visit the Rhody Votes section of our website here.


National anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist visits Rhode Island Thursday for an event supporting a Constitutional Convention.  Voters will decide in November whether the state should hold the convention.

It’s been 28 years since the last time Rhode Island held a Constitutional Convention. They are formed by a body of delegates that creates proposals then voted on by the public. Bypassing the General Assembly. 


A new group advocating for a Constitutional Convention holds its inaugural event Tuesday. They join a growing coalition supporting a convention, which voters must approve on November 4th.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rivals in the heated Republican primary for governor, Ken Block and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, hugged in front of the media Monday and vowed to work together to get a Republican in the governor’s office.

They attacked each other in debates and television ads, but at a press conference at the Statehouse Fung and Block hugged, saying they share a belief in reduced spending and more oversight of the General Assembly. Block said the two are now united going into the November election.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A new coalition known as Renew RI held a news conference near the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence Wednesday morning to assert that a constitutional convention is needed to overcome the General Assembly's unwillingness to pass needed government reforms.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of the ACLU, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss a new law instituting harsher sentences for gang-related crime; the 2014 session of the General Assembly; the US Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision; and why the ACLU opposes the convening of a constitutional convention.

John Bender

Dozens of people gathered in Providence Wednesday to protest a proposed constitutional convention in Rhode Island. The debate whether to hold this convention comes up every 10 years.

The constitutional convention gives Rhode Island voters an opportunity to change their state constitution.  Delegates outside the general assembly are chosen to represent districts across the state in a meeting to draft referenda that will appear at state-wide elections.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

John Marion, executive director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the new legislative session; the battle over extended unemployment benefits; and the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty.

Get ready for the first serious snow of the year, and a storm of a different sorts in Exeter. Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, 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.

Welcome back to my Friday column. Thanks for stopping by and, as always, 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.