A nine-point plan intended to reduce gun-related violence and reduce the threat of a school shooting in Rhode Island was unveiled by leading elected and public-safety officials at the Statehouse Tuesday afternoon. Legislative leaders repeatedly called the proposal a starting point for discussion, raising questions about what exactly will meet with General Assembly muster before the legislature ends it session in June.
A bill has been introduced in the Rhode Island House to form a Freshman Caucus. It’s sponsored by newly elected Representative John Lombardi of Providence.
He says 21 percent of the chamber is now made up of either first-time elected officials or those returning after a hiatus. The new, he says, can sometimes get lost in the not-so-new.
As proposed in the Lombardi bill, after the Freshman Caucus has served for two consecutive sessions it would be dissolved and a new Freshman Caucus would be formed from among the then newly-elected members.
With state officials due to release their proposal Tuesday for curbing gun violence, Republican House lawmakers are inviting gun makers to relocate to Rhode Island in response to changes in Connecticut and Maryland. A legislative news release says the changes render those two states as "hostile territory":
The leader of efforts to kill straight-ticket voting, Moderate Party founder Ken Block, says opponents of the master lever plan to raise their focus on winning support from House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed.
“It’s up to the speaker and the Senate president to bring those bills up for a vote in committee to get them to the floor, and now the public pressure begins to mount on both of those offices to do that," Block says. "We’ll be pushing on that very hard over the next month, month and a half.”
Welcome back to my weekly column. Spring is starting to pop, and there's never a shortage of news hereabouts, so let's get to it. As always, your thoughts and tips are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.
State Senator Stephen Archambault (D-Smithfield) joins us to talk about the outlook on same-sex marriage; the effectiveness of the General Assembly; whether the master lever should be abolished; and whether Ethics Commission oversight of lawmakers should be restored, among other issues.
Legislation that legalizes same-sex marriage in Rhode Island remains under consideration in the state Senate. Supporters want the General Assembly to approve same-sex marriage; opponents are backing a bill with broad exceptions that would make the issue subject to a statewide vote. Exactly when the Senate will vote on these bills remains unclear. Yet both sides are relying on grassroots campaigns to tip the outcome in their favor. These efforts could determine whether Rhode Island changes its status as the only New England state that has not yet legalized same-sex marriage.
State Senator Stephen Archambault (D-Smithfield) joins the Roundtable to discuss same-sex marriage, Governor Lincoln Chafee's blaming of the media for his low approval ratings; and continued woes for the RI GOP.
Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin issued a statement this morning, calling on the General Assembly to put the brakes on same-sex marriage legislation due to the US Supreme Court's consideration of related issues:
Add Senator Josh Miller (D-Cranston) to the list of potential candidates for lieutenant governor in 2014.
Miller says it's too early to consider him an LG candidate, but adds that there "might be a point before the end of the session that I'll start looking at it."
The Cranston Democrat and restaurateur says he's focused on legislative matters for now and wants to consider his potential effectiveness as lieutenant governor before making a decision. Miller says he can offer "a wide range of experience on a wide range of issues."