general assembly

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House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and a string of state representatives on Tuesday excoriated a front page Providence Sunday Journal editorial about community service grants that was published last weekend, saying it misrepresented the legislative process and was based on false assumptions.

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday found probable cause that Don Lally violated the revolving door provisions of the code of ethics when he accepted a state job less than four months after resigning as a state representative in March 2015.

Commission spokesman Jason Gramitt called the finding a preliminary step, since Lally -- barring a settlement -- will face a hearing with the Ethics Commission.

Local historian Patrick Conley is defending using an envisioned new state lottery game to help develop a Rhode Island history center in Bristol, although a former state official calls the funding approach misguided and fiscally irresponsible.

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.

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A Providence lawmaker has withdrawn a bill that would have provided explicit protections for transgender people to use public bathrooms. State Representative Edith Ajello said the state’s current law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity provides enough protection for transgender people. 

Ajello said she came to the conclusion after speaking with local LGBT advocates, and seeing the letter from the Obama Administration directing schools to allow students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Rhode Island lawmakers have a little more cash to work with as they consider revisions to the almost $9 billion state budget unveiled by Governor Gina Raimondo in February.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The House Finance Committee on Tuesday began four days of hearings on the more than $11 million in community service grants being distributed by the state this year.

Mid-May and the political kettle keeps bubbling. So 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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

One week after the resignation of a key lawmaker, House and Senate leaders on Tuesday put their combined support behind a proposal to strengthen the state Ethics Commission and its oversight of the legislature.

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Governor Gina Raimondo said the General Assembly's process for providing almost $14 million in grants needs to be changed to increase transparency and accountability.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A proposal by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to strengthen the state Ethics Commission is due to be introduced Tuesday.

An enhanced ethics oversight has not always been a priority for Mattiello. The speaker’s office declined to provide details about Mattiello’s ethics proposal prior to its introduction. But Mattiello’s interest in the issue has heartened some longtime government watchdogs.

Just another quiet week in Rhode Island, right? 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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Congressman David Cicilline joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the fall of House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison; the level of accountability for community service grants; and what could be the looming November showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

More than 150 civic, business and political leaders gathered in the majestic grand banking hall of the vacant Superman Building Thursday to endorse the use of an as-yet-unspecified public subsidy to revitalize the iconic structure in downtown Providence.

Boosters said remaking the Jazz Age-era building with a mix of uses emphasizing residential would create more than 1,000 jobs, help fill the demand for more downtown housing, and offer other economic benefits.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello expressed sharp frustration about the circumstances that led House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison to resign Tuesday, while voicing confidence in the House of Representatives and the chamber's ability to revise the state budget without delay.

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