general assembly

State Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Bonus Q&A to talk about the way forward for Governor Gina Raimondo; the outlook on the state pension case and the PawSox; why he has such a large campaign war chest; and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Joseph Shekarchi (D-Warwick) joins Political Roundtable to discuss the arrest this week of State Representative Joseph Almeida (D-Providence); Shekarchi's ties to Governor Gina Raimondo and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello; the proliferation of tax-cut proposals at the General Assembly this year; and the outlook for a hike in the minimum wage.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Representative Joseph Almeida is maintaining his innocence after State Police charged him with unlawfully appropriating more than $1500. He’s accused of using more than $6000 in campaign contributions for his personal use. Meanwhile, watchdogs say there’s room for improvement when it comes to how the state polices the money collected by politicians.

State Representative Joseph Almeida put out a brief statement Wednesday in response to charges he illegally pocketed campaign funds for personal use.

The Providence democrat maintained his innocence, indicating he has no intention of stepping down from his house seat.

"As I move forward, my focus will be on representing the hard-working people of my district." Almeida said. "I respect the legal process and I maintain my innocence as this matter is adjudicated in court."

Rhode Island State Police on Tuesday arrested state Representative Joseph S. Almeida (D-Providence), the deputy majority whip in the House, alleging that he misappropriated $6,122 in campaign contributions for personal use.

In a statement, State Police said Almeida, 57, was charged with one count of unlawful appropriation over $1,500.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With 18 new members in the 113-seat General Assembly, On Politics is offering a periodic look at the latest additions to the House and Senate. We continue with state Representative Lauren Carson (D-Newport), who defeated three-term former Representative Peter Martin in the Democratic primary last September.

Age: 60

Occupation: Environmental policy analyst with Clean Water Action.

Party: Democrat

Twitter: @LaurenHCarson

The pit of winter has settled over Rhode Island, judging by the combination of snow and sub-freezing temperatures. The governor used the recent blizzard to remind us we're supposed to be hardy, so no mewling here. Instead, we offer thanks for your visit here, welcome your tips and thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (org), and invite you to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.


A new bill introduced at the general assembly could ban the use of plastic bags across the state.  It’s the latest attempt to ban plastic bags in the last several years.

The bill would gradually phase out the use of plastic bags over the course of two years at retail stores such as grocery, and convenience stores.  Over the past three years similar bills have some received public support, but failed in the General Assembly.  

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The legislative debate over whether Rhode Island needs stiffer penalties to deter protests on the highway began Wednesday night at the Statehouse. The discussion centered on whether new measures will promote public safety or whether they would mark an intensification of what opponents called an overly punitive criminal justice system.


Former Republican Gubernatorial candidate Ken Block is making a push for line-item veto power for the Governor. He’s launched a website to drive the issue.

On the new website you can send an email to Governor Raimondo, as well as legislative leaders, voicing your support for the issue.  Block wants the governor to have the power to veto single items from the state budget.  University of Rhode Island Political science professor and commentator Maureen Moakley said the issue is unlikely to gain traction with state lawmakers.

Rhode Island emerged mostly unscathed from the first major snowstorm of the year, although the roads and sidewalks are a different story, in some cases. Thanks for stopping by. As always, feel free to share a tip or your thoughts via idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian joins Political Roundtable to discuss how top elected officials responded to the Blizzard of 2015; development in Warwick; and the outlook for RI Republicans to win more elections.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

With 18 new members in the 113-seat General Assembly, On Politics is offering a periodic look at the latest additions to the House and Senate. We continue with Representative Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry), who, in his first run for public office, ousted former Representative Scott Guthrie (D-Coventry) last November.

Age: 35.

Occupation: Funeral home director in a fourth-generation family business, Nardolillo Funeral Home, established in 1906.

Party: Republican

Did anything happen this week not involving the New England Patriots and deflated footballs? Indeed. So read on, dear reader, and thanks for stopping by. As always feel free to share your tips/thoughts at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea joins Bonus Q+A to talk about whether mail ballots are too easily obtained, what steps should be taken to increase disclosure by lobbyists, how to better encourage voting participation, and more.