Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed unveiled her new selections Tuesday afternoon for the Senate Judiciary Committee with a series of subtractions (Maryellen Goodwin, William Walaska) and additions of newly elected lawmakers (William Conley, Steve Archambault, Lou Raptakis, and Frank Lombardi). What all this means in the coming fight over same-sex marriage isn't entirely clear, although Senate leaders certainly possess the ability to kill the drive for what proponents call "marriage equality."
(PROVIDENCE, RI) Moderate Party founder Ken Block is leading a new effort to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Rhode Island. Critics say the so-called master lever makes it more difficult to challenge the ruling Democratic Party.
Block has created a Web site, masterlever.org, with an online petition calling for eliminating the master lever. He says straight-ticket voting has a distorting effect on politics in Rhode Island.
Peter J. Hurtgen, who led the FMCS from 2002 through 2004, says a subset of the eight parties in mediation could potentially reach some areas of agreement among themselves. But he says the complexity of the case makes it unusually fraught for mediation:
A New Year, a new General Assembly session, and the formal/informal start of the 2014 campaign season are upon us. Welcome to another edition of my Friday column. Thanks for reading, and feel free to send me your tips or thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (org). Here's the rundown:
(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare says the state can reduce gun-related violence by passing more stringent laws. Pare says most of the guns used for crime are illegally owned.
Pare says tougher penalties for illegal gun possession helped to dramatically reduce gun-related crime in New York City. He says more stringent punishments could help to have the same effect in Rhode Island.
(PROVIDENCE, RI) The state Senate approved a bill Thursday to allow additional time for a controversial merger of two state boards of education.
The bill will continue the existence until March 7 of separate state boards for K-through-12 and public higher education. It also pushes back until September the final structure for combining the two boards.