general assembly

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The parent company of Twin River proposed Tuesday, in essence, to relocate Newport Grand's video lottery terminals to a new location in Tiverton, close to the border with Fall River, Massachusetts, while adding 30 to 40 table games at the new site.

After two snow-packed months, the apparent settling of the pension conflict, and Lincoln Chafee's surprising emergence as a possible presidential hopeful, Rhode Island confronts a sharp debate involving baseball, public dollars, and the future of the state. No pressure, right? Thanks, as always, for stopping by for my weekly column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

John Bender / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo marked her 100th day in office Thursday. Raimondo is taking part in several events to mark the occasion.


Along with two other appearances, Governor Raimondo is celebrating the 100th anniversary of two northern Rhode Island businesses, Yacht Club Soda and Navigant Credit Union.

Raimondo won election in November as the state’s first female governor. Since taking office, she’s dealt with severe winter weather and touted her proposed budget as a way to revitalize Rhode Island’s economy.

RI Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor joins Bonus Q&A this week to discuss the PawSox' pitch for a Providence stadium, efforts to boost economic development in Rhode Island, and much more.

The debate over the Pawtucket Red Sox and a public subsidy to help keep the team in Rhode Island began in earnest Wednesday as PawSox ownership unveiled their much-anticipated plan for a $70 million ballpark next to the Providence River. According to the proposal, a 30-year lease/sublease agreement would have a net cost to the state of about $2 million a year.

PawSox ownership said its proposal does not include issuing any bonds or public debt, and that the team will pay for the full cost of the design and construction of its envisioned 10,000 seat ballpark.

Expect the unexpected in Rhode Island politics, right? Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and thoughts are always welcome (idonnis at ripr dot org), and feel free to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State Police are raising concerns about the state’s medical marijuana program. At issue is the role of caregivers, who are licensed by the state to grow a small number of plants for medical marijuana patients.

Rhode Island State Police spokesman Major Kevin O’Brien says last year police searched the homes of 21 caregivers. More than three-quarters of them were growing more marijuana than the law allows.


Two bills meant to discourage the misuse of campaign accounts have cleared an initial hurdle at the General Assembly.  Efforts to restore the state Ethics Commission’s oversight of the legislature continue to languish.

Legislative committees have passed a bill requiring candidates to have a separate bank account for their campaign money. Another bill would make public officeholders file an annual bank statement to back up the information in their campaign spending reports.

Aaron Read / RIPR

A bill that would enable terminally ill patients to manage their own deaths with medication prescribed by a doctor is slated for a House Health, Education and Welfare Committee hearing Wednesday.

Companion House and Senate versions of the so-called "Death with Dignity" bill are named for former Senate minority leader Llia Sapinsley, who died at 92 last December.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column, recapping another eventful week in Rhode Island. As always, your tips and feedback is welcome, and you can follow me on the twitters. Best wishes to my readers for Easter and Passover. Here we go.

Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, joins Bonus Q+A to talk about efforts to cut healthcare spending, whether nonprofit healthcare CEOs are paid too much, and other topics.

John Bender / RIPR

The State Supreme Court has disbarred former house Speaker Gordon Fox. Fox recently pleaded guilty to several counts of public corruption.

Fox acknowledged that he would lose his license to practice law when he accepted a plea deal for the corruption charges.  In March he pleaded guilty to charges of misspent campaign funds, and accepting a bribe for 52-thousand dollars.

In addition to losing his license and house seat, state education officials rescinded his honorary degree from his Alma Mater Rhode Island College.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A good government group is supporting a bill that would bring more transparency to the process of selecting magistrates. Magistrates perform many of the same functions of judges, but they’re selected behind closed doors.


Legislative finance committees are set to start holding hearings Tuesday on details of Governor Gina Raimondo’s first budget. The governor’s spending plan has attracted both praise and criticism.

The House and Senate finance committees stage weeks of hearings to review different aspects of the annual budget. Supporters and opponents of different programs turn out to testify, in an attempt to sway lawmakers.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Another hectic Friday, so we'll keep the preliminaries short while continuing to welcome your attention on the twitters. Here we go.