Former five-term state representative Peter Petrarca, whose ties to the auto body industry emerged as issue during his 2012 re-election campaign, has registered to lobby at the General Assembly this session for the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island.
Although Petrarca doesn't yet show up on the state's lobbyist registration system, the Secretary of State's office and Petrarca confirm he has registered to lobby for ABARI through his firm, Orion Consulting.
Phil Marcelo, part of the Providence Journal's three-person Statehouse bureau, plans to leave the newspaper after seven years to take a reporting job with the Boston office of The Associated Press, Marcelo tells me. His start date is March 31.
In part, the change reflects how the AP has emerged as a stable source of reporting jobs amid continued uncertainty in the newspaper industry. Marcelo's Statehouse predecessor, Steve Peoples, who left the ProJo for a job with Roll Call in 2010, has fared well since joining the AP.
Police departments from across Rhode Island are reporting on the impact of the state’s relatively new Good Samaritan Law. The law shields from prosecution anyone seeking medical assistance for someone who’s experiencing a drug overdose, with exceptions for crimes involving manufacturing and distributing drugs.
The Good Samaritan law – also known as Good Sam - took effect in June 2012. And the idea was to encourage more people to call 911 for a friend who’s overdosing. Before the law, the caller could be arrested on drug possession or other charges.
A hearing is slated for today in the general assembly on a bill that would require families using food stamps to show photo identification. The bill has generated critics who say it’s unfair and unnecessary.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Patricia Morgan of West Warwick says the bill would fight fraud within the program. Scamming the system happens when someone uses the benefits to buy products not covered by the program, such as cigarettes and alcohol, or when someone exchanges their benefits in return for cash.
The New England Area Conference of the NAACP, comprising chapters in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, is supporting legislation to legalize marijuana here and regulate it like alcohol.
In their first comment since a proposed pension settlement was unveiled Friday afternoon, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed steer clear of either endorsing or opposing the deal.
Here's a joint statement from the two legislative leaders:
What a week in Rhode Island politics. Welcome back to my weekly column, and thanks for stopping by. 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 snapping.
Environmental agency directors and city managers focused on the urgent need to invest in wastewater infrastructure, stormwater management, and flood prevention at a meeting last night.
The nonprofit Save The Bay hosted its annual legislative briefing. Executive director Jonathan Stone said many groups are working together to ensure the general assembly approves Gov. Lincoln Chafee's 75-million-dollar clean water bond.
Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Deborah Gist emphasized the positive in her annual State of Education speech last night at the General Assembly. She said Rhode Island students are improving on national testing, and she said 73 percent of this year’s senior class has now scored high enough on the state standardized test to earn a diploma, after thousands of students had to re-take the test in October.