general assembly

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Representative Dan Reilly, (R-Portsmouth) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss public corruption in wake of former speaker Gordon Fox, the proposed state budget as a member of the House Finance Committee, and the battle over firefighters’ overtime in cities and towns.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In a sharp defeat for fire unions, two bills that would strengthen their hand in dealing with cities and towns on overtime spending are dead in the current legislative session, lawmakers and a top fire union official say.

Legislative committee votes on the two high-profile firefighter overtime bills were canceled Thursday, and neither of the bills is expected to get a vote before lawmakers conclude the session.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who made a trip from the hardscrabble streets of Mount Hope to the pinnacle of political power in Rhode Island, was sentenced Thursday to serve three years in prison after being convicted of bribery, wire fraud and tax evasion.

A contrite Fox intermittently choked up while apologizing to his friends, family and the people of Rhode Island during a sentencing hearing conducted by US District Court Judge Mary Lisi.


  Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, in a decision released Tuesday afternoon, approved the proposed settlement of Rhode Island's pension conflict.

The judge's action clears the way for the General Assembly to approve the pension deal, the last step needed for the settlement to go into effect. Taft-Carter recently held a multi-day hearing during which some current employees and retirees urged her to reject the settlement.

But the judge ruled that the deal meets the necessary legal standard for it to go forward.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Monday made an urgent plea for lawmakers to reject a bill that would create a 42-hour workweek for firefighters, saying it would drive up overtime costs for cities and towns across Rhode Island. But the head of the city firefighters' union disputes the likely impact, and he blames Elorza for causing the standoff over the legislation.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekend column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me all week long on the twitters. Here we go.


Department of Children, Youth, and Families officials told a joint senate committee Wednesday they're making progress addressing 20 recommendations lawmakers issued in January.

Jamia McDonald was appointed to oversee those changes. Among a long list of initiatives underway at the child welfare agency, McDonald told committee members DCYF is working on improving the way new cases are handled and on moving more children out of group homes.

The temperature is rising, the General Assembly's budget vote is drawing closer, and a PawSox deal still hangs in the balance. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

In a bold move, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D-Providence) submitted legislation Thursday proposing tax stabilization standards for the 195 District in Providence.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Secular and religious factions are forming over proposed “right to die” legislation making its way through the Senate. A hearing on the proposed bill is slated for Thursday. The proposed legislation would allow terminally ill, mentally sound patients to end their lives with the help of a physician.

The Rhode Island Catholic Conference is a vocal critic of the legislation, saying it violates the sanctity of life.

Compromise Emerges On Minimum Wage Hike

May 27, 2015
Aaron Read / RIPR

Lawmakers in Rhode Island's House and Senate labor committees are considering a compromise this week that would increase the state's minimum wage.  But the proposed 60-cent wage hike is less than what some lawmakers had hoped to see. 

Currently, Rhode Island's minimum wage is $9 an hour. The original bill would have hiked the wage to $10.10 as of 2016.  The bill now calls for an increase to $9.60 per hour.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

As one of the most recognized figures in Major League Baseball, Larry Lucchino has enjoyed exhilarating peaks -- like the Boston Red Sox' remarkable post-season triumph in 2004.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Mea Culpa: Please see Number 1A (below). We're breaking from TGIF's usual format this week to look at key questions facing Rhode Island at the traditional start to summer. While the season of beaches and barbecues is generally a more relaxed time, a lot of significant outcomes hang in the balance. So thanks for stopping by. Feel free to share your thoughts and tips at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

House Deputy Whip Christopher Blazejewski (D-Providence) to discuss attempts to better police political spending in the post-Gordon Fox era, fallout from last year's leadership fight, and whether House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is more liberal than described by his critics.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Deputy Whip Christopher Blazejewski (D-Providence) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss mixed economic news coming out of Rhode Island's capital city; the next step for the PawSox after the death of Jim Skeffington; and the fairness hearing being held on the state pension settlement.