general assembly

In a scathing news release, Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas outlines a litany of grievances involving Rhode Island’s likely expansion of state-sponsored gambling and calls for a meeting with Governor Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox, and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed “to address this disgraceful situation.”

In a victory for the Rhode Island media, the state Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a defamation case filed by Providence restaurateur Robert I. “Bob” Burke against the Providence Journal, ProJo Statehouse chief Katherine Gregg, WPRO talk-show host Dan Yorke and Citadel Broadcasting, the former owner of WPRO.

State Senator Rhoda Perry,  a liberal stalwart from Providence, has decided against seeking re-election after more than two decades in the chamber.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, during a taping this morning of WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, said he plans to call a vote on same-sex marriage early in the next legislative session. While legislative elections this fall could change the composition of the House, Fox believes he has the votes to pass the measure (assuming he wins re-election).

Marriage Equality Rhode Island has released the following statement in response:

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was the headliner for a mid-day state GOP fundraiser at Hemenway’s Restaurant in Providence.

State GOP chairman Mark Zaccaria says proceeds — which were expected to hit a target of $5000 — will go to Republican legislative candidates. The event was closed to media.

Lawyer Max Wistow, a partner in the Providence firm of Wistow & Barylick, was hired by the state today to try to reduce the roughly $100 million liability faced by taxpayers due to the meltdown of 38 Studios.

After being introduced by Governor Chafee during a Statehouse news conference, Wistow said he couldn’t offer specifics on his approach since he’d just started on the job as a special counsel for the state Economic Development Corporation.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo has offered the following statement in response to lawsuits filed today challenging the state’s pension overhaul:

Although state treasurer Gina Raimondo has criticized payday loans as a “predatory product,” two of her political associates have links with a check-cashing business that has offered payday loans.

Longtime former Providence city councilor John Lombardi is set to make formal on Thursday his run for the House seat held by state Representative Michael Tarro (Libby Kimzey is also in the running):

Woonsocket City Council President John Ward invokes the example set by Providence in describing how the city might wipe out its deficit if negotiations with unions don’t get the job done.

  State Representative Robert Watson – the sometimes bombastic and always quotable East Greenwich Republican who served for years as the articulate voice of GOP opposition in the House — is leaving the General Assembly after more than two decades.

State Revenue Director Rosemary Booth Gallogly has strong words for state Representatives Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, Jon Brien, and Robert Phillips after they failed to back a supplemental tax for cash-strapped Woonsocket in last-minute negotiations in the waning hours of the legislative session:

Efforts to give voters the option of restoring oversight of the General Assembly by the state Ethics Commission are going nowhere fast in the close of the legislative session.

House Speaker Gordon Fox cut a comfortable figure on the rostrum last night as the chamber made its way through another mind-numbing 12-hour budget debate, adjourning shortly before 4 am with an $8.1 billion spending plan.

When Representative Daniel Gordon invoked Moses (“Let my people go!” Gordon said, in a protest of possible tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, Fox had a game response. “Should I touch this?” Fox said to rippling laughter from the reps. ”Because, Representative Gordon, if you truly can channel Moses and you can part those seas, we don’t even need the bridges!”

The House is set tomorrow evening to begin considering a $8.1 billion spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. Reporters will guess just how far the budget vote will extend into the wee hours Friday morning.